Inspiring Hiring

Baltimore’s EMR offers tips for training and staffing

We all know one of the most pressing issues facing service companies is that of staffing. Who to hire? Where to find skilled workers? How to attract, have a discourse with, and understand Millennials? As companies across the U.S. grapple with these questions, Electrical Apparatus is constantly looking for answers that can assist in the ongoing pursuit of reliable employees that can translate to reliable service. While we have our own helpful advice—always available in the pages of a monthly EA issue—we also find sources of information often come from the industry itself, such as this release from EMR, an industry pillar for almost a century.

“There was a time when the household appliances most people now take for granted — toasters, irons and the like — were repaired, not replaced,” EMR, which began in 1927, says. Jaime Adams, the company’s director of human resources, offers useful tips on what she looks for when hiring technicians, in a recent post on the company’s website.

“TIP 1: Meet with managers as often as possible. Weekly I check in to see if they’re looking for people — most of our needs are for technicians. The hardest thing is finding people who are qualified. Out of 200 resumes, four might be worth exploring. People apply with either no experience or experience in something totally unrelated. Every employee goes through a training program here, but we’re not able to just train people who are completely green.

TIP 2: Don’t discount millennials. In my generation, we were always taught “education, education, education”, and trade was not important. People didn’t really want to get their hands dirty … but they don’t realize there’s great money in trades! You learn a trade, and you work your way up. It’s a solid career choice. We’ve looked into working with local trade schools to catch techs who have an interest in our industry. The challenge we have with our job openings is managers want someone who can go right in the truck and start running calls, whereas recent graduates still require training once hired

That being said, we do invest in the younger generation – mechanical aptitude training, cultivating customer service and communication skills, etc. It takes about two years to hone a young technician, molding them into the employee we need. We’re all about investing in our people so they can be their best person at work and outside of work.

TIP 3: Word of mouth is a powerful tool. One very successful way we recruit is by good, old-fashioned word of mouth. We have a referral bonus program and encourage existing staff to bring in the best in the industry.

TIP 4: Personality is equally as critical as technical savviness. When you’re reading resumes you see people’s qualifications, but you can’t get a feel for their personality. At EMR, we place a ton of value on our culture. We have a family-oriented culture. A drive for zero-negativity. We believe culture is intentional and one will exist if you like it or not. Developing a positive one is the key to our success. We go over our code of conduct and our service pledge when a new hire joins our team. There are times when we find the strongest technician, with the greatest potential, but you soon realize they’re not going to be the best at customer service or communication. We want our technicians to not only perform the highest quality repairs on equipment but also work well with people and contribute to our culture.

TIP 5: Tap into all resources. Career Builder and Indeed have proven to be reliable outlets for recruitment. Social media may be the next greatest tool. Always be open to new avenues for finding the right people.”

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