Bench Building

Recently, an industry survey was conducted to look at current staffing and recruiting practices in leading organizations. It was sent to mid-large organizations across all industries.

Some of the key findings include that 95% of companies are operating without a dedicated sourcing function. This means that they are hoping that tried and true ways of locating new employees are all that are needed to staff and recruit for the present and for the future.

Lately, a lot has been discussed in the electrical industry about bench-building. Simply, it is the process of staffing a company now while looking towards the future. Many forward-thinking companies already have different plans in place. Much as we don’t like it, it is a fact that employees don’t stay at their jobs forever. Our grandfathers stayed at their companies for decades until retirement. Not anymore. It has been estimated that today’s skilled workers remain on average at a company for up to five years. With these statistics, companies nowadays need to look at different ways of both retaining current employees while utilizing different methods of attracting new ones.

For existing employees, some useful and effective methods that companies today are using to train for future roles are: mentoring programs, management training, soft-skills training, (e.g., interpersonal or communication skills) and true succession-planning programs. Unfortunately, not every company has the luxury of putting these types of plans in place due to time, effort, logistics and cost.

While we all want to believe that our employees will never leave, they do. For this reason, it is critical that companies should always be interviewing and sourcing new people. This is true for the distributor, manufacturer, rep or contractor. No segment of the industry is immune. This is done many ways; from networking within the industry, job ads, company’s website career section, professional staffing companies, to waiting for the right person to come through the door!

For successful bench-building, we need to be aware of the new tools available to attract new people to our companies and even our industry-both locally and out-of state. Only 21% of companies are using the web to their advantage for targeting new employees. Social websites like Facebook and MySpace have memberships in the millions; and many of them return daily to those sites. Companies should be using the internet to their advantage. The web isn’t going away. Next month, a discussion on assessments for prospective (and existing) employees.

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