Synergy hosted a People Forum on May 22-24th at The Drake Oak Brook Hotel in Oak Brook, IL for 25 members. The two-day session focused on how to recruit top talent, ways to build a great onboarding process, and the role that company culture and employee development programs play in fighting the great resignation.

Guest speaker Wyetta Ford (HR Coach Online) kicked off the meeting with her workshop on how to review, reignite, and reinvent the recruiting process. “The problem is not limited to the HVAC industry,” said Ford. “It is generally a tough job market so we have to adjust and pivot.”

Ford explained that there are no magic websites where hundreds of qualified candidates will find you, but instead we have to rethink our employee value proposition and figure out our employer branding. “You have to be clear about what your employee value proposition is,” said Ford. “Think about the benefits they can expect from working here and create a consistent message that uses visual story telling.”

“Wyetta was awesome and I thought her presentation brought great conversations to our small table discussion,” said Alexandra Medeiros (Cox Engineering).

After the workshop, attendees talked in small groups about their short term recruiting challenges including the positions they need to fill immediately, resources they’re using to find them, and how they’re attracting people to their organizations.

To close out the morning Storer Services, Cox Engineering, and MSD shared a recruiting video that they had put together to attract talent in their local market.

“The videos gave me some great ideas for ways our company can market ourselves to candidates,” said Justin Trowbridge (Pacific Rim Mechanical).

In the afternoon, attendees worked in small groups to come up with interview questions for a technician and a dispatcher that focused on culture and learning about who the candidate is and not their skill level. Some of the questions the group came up with were ‘Talk about a time you helped someone else learn something’, ‘Talk about a time you didn’t have an answer for a customer’, and ‘Tell me about someone who is better than you in an area that matters to you.’
The first day ended with Atomatic and Storer Services sharing what they do during the first 30 days of their onboarding process.
“We need to improve our onboarding process,” said David Brown (Hardy).  “There were some great ideas shared to give us a better starting point.”

Tuesday started with MSD, Atomatic, and Prairie Mechanical sharing what they do to onboard beyond the first 30 days which included an interview at 60 days, a 90 day review, and a list of questions that help HR understand how the employee is feeling in their new role.

Jim Bartolotta (Synergy managing partner) shared some stats on why employees stay, which included the following:

  • They feel valued – When an employee does not feel valued at work, 76% look for another job
  • You invest in helping them learn – A workplace survey report found that 94% of surveyed employees responded that if a company invested in helping them learn, they would stay longer
  • They like their boss – Employees who rate their supervisor’s performance poorly are 4x as likely to be job hunting. 75% of employees who voluntarily leave jobs quit their bosses, not their jobs.
  • They were properly onboarded – A great onboarding experience can lock down 69% of employees for at least three years

Bartolotta also shared a list of why Millennials stay:

  • Work-life balance – 83% of millennials consider work-life balance to be the most important factor in evaluating a potential job
  • Mental health – 36% of millennials feel their job has a negative impact on their health
  • Flexible options – 62% of millennials are willing to quit their job in the next two years to work in the gig economy
  • Diversity – 69% of millennials whose leaders or senior management teams are diverse feel their workplaces are both more stimulating and motivating. 47% of millennials prioritize diversity when considering organizations as a future employer

Members then met in their roundtables to talk about why people stay at their own organizations and what leaving behavior they’ve noticed before someone left.

“Enlightening discussion around generational challenges and what motivates millennials,” said Mike Houghton (Dowling Corporation).

The last topic of the session was benefits, rewards, and recognition. Each table shared the unique benefits they are offering to employees, what they see new candidates looking for,  and how they’re promoting their benefits.  As a large group attendees shared the creative things they’re doing to recognize employees like Vital Mechanical Service who has a Golden Pickle Award for employees who go above and beyond.

The session ended with each attendee writing down their action plan of what they want to implement and goals they will accomplish when they return home.

“All good stuff in each session, said Stephanie MacKendree (Brooks Building Solutions). “The best part was getting new ideas and connecting with people who I can reach out to for help and ideas.”