There is so much competition in the workforce right now, and while it is easy to throw out a signing bonus as your differentiator, there are other ways you can stand out. Let’s take a look:
1. Move quickly—response, interviews, offers
No one likes to wait in limbo at any phase of the hiring process. Act quickly before they lose interest or move on to the next opportunity. There are plenty out there.
2. Use the modes of communication they prefer
There is no faster way to get a voicemail than to make an unannounced phone call. And the blue-collar worker is not sitting at a desktop waiting for your email all day. Shoot them a text and start engaging quickly in a way they want to communicate.
3. Listen to what is important to them
They will tell you what they want and need to make a change. They will articulate what is important to them and why they are leaving their current employer. Listen. You can likely solve these challenges for them.
4. Value their experience
Skilled labor is hard work and takes dedication. Value the efforts they have put into their craft—just like you would someone’s time and effort to complete their college education.
5. Treat them as the expert they are
With all due respect, you may have hired a lot of machinists but you are not an expert machinist. Treat them as the expert they are.
6. Compliment them on experience and skills
When someone is great at their job, compliment them. When you are interviewing them and they tell you about their latest win or greatest challenge, acknowledge the effort and expertise they displayed.
7. Let them review benefits (medical and otherwise) in advance
Job changes are more than wages, drive time, and company culture. Let them see their benefit packages in advance so they can take that into account.
8. Discuss how you see them enhancing the team
No one wants to feel like a number. Talk to them about how you see them fitting in with the group and how they can elevate the department or influence a process.
9. Offer to have them come in and shadow so they can meet everyone
Maybe everything looks great on paper, but nothing paints as clear of a picture than letting someone see what they are about to jump into. An hour or so in the department, out on the floor, alongside potential peers can help them see themselves at your organization—or realize this is not a fit. Saving you time and training later.
10. Send them the thank you letter/email for coming in
Many folks get hung up on receiving a thank you message from the candidate. How about flipping the script and sending them a thank you? They took time out of their day, likely time off their current job, to come and spend time to get to know you and your company. If it works out or not, they deserve appreciation.
11. Have the offer extended by their direct manager, not by HR
Take the offer to the next level by having the hiring manager, their direct leader, extend the offer. It adds a personal touch to the process and adds a subtle hint that they are special.
12. Show appreciation, not pressure
Appreciate that they are giving thought to joining your time. Do not pressure them to make a decision ASAP. Job changes are a big step for the individual and their family. Give them some time and space, they will appreciate that.
13. Share a growth plan and career opportunities in the organization
Most people are driven to advance and achieve. Outline some potential opportunities or ways you see the candidate’s career progression within the company. Bonus points if you can tie milestones to pay increases and really get them on a motivated pathway to success.
14. Provide a detailed explanation of what comes next between now and their first day
Is there anything worse than accepting a job and then not knowing what is next? Provide an outline or, even better, stay in touch with the candidate with updates until their hire date. Let them know what to expect on the first day, ways to prepare, and what the first week will look like.
15. Send them a welcome gift/gift card
I once received a gift card for a restaurant so I could celebrate my new opportunity. It was paired with a card signed by the team I was joining. I felt so welcome and appreciated before I even stepped foot in the door. New jobs are worth celebrating, make sure they do!
16. Share a list of things they will need to start
What does the employee need to succeed? Should they come with their own tools? Steel-toe shoes? A hard hat? Can they wear their favorite sports tee, or do they need to follow a specific dress code? Outline it all and share it in advance. This includes any documentation they will need for paperwork on day 1.
17. Give them a stipend for things they need
Need tools, shoes, or anything listed in 16? Why not reimburse them for some of those on-the-job basics?
18. Give them money to go toward development/courses in the next year
Providing a little incentive for skills development is a great way to show your employees that you are invested in them and their success. Create and support a culture of learning, it will pay off.
19. Let them decide on their shift, provide swing shift or start time flexibility
Everyone is seeking more flexibility in their schedules these days. And while most blue-collar jobs can’t work from home, do what you can to work with their schedule.
20. Make their first day special
Being the new kid on the first day of school is awkward. We do not grow out of that feeling simply because we grew up. Greet them in the morning, introduce them to others, give them some logo gear (shirt, hat, coffee mug), and set them up with a buddy and a lunch for the day. They will start to feel right at home in no time.
What ways have you been impressed by a company during the interview and onboarding process?
Think about some easy or low-cost ways you can help make the process more comfortable, get to know your candidates, and make them feel a part of the team. The best way to do that is to think about what you would want to experience—then start making it happen.