Plant expansions are exciting times. It typically means that the company is healthy, profitable and that there is a rising demand for the company’s products and services. Growth in the company also means a tremendous amount of stress-free moments. Employees seamlessly step into new roles and responsibilities. There is an abundance of open communication and agreement about expectations and vision. If there was a complaint, it would be that there is just way too much time to get the tiny bit of work done … you’re right, I haven’t experienced that either! No plant expansion is without its share of growing pains, but when it comes to hiring the right people there are ways to minimize stress and increase the likelihood of success.
Here are three strategies that companies use to hire the right people for plant expansions:
1.) Develop a detailed selection process strategy. Understanding the job(s) and finding the right assessments and hiring solutions is just the beginning. It’s important to understand and to be able to show the time-to-hire, volume limitations and responsible parties at every stage, and how the tracking system helps generate results from stage to stage. Creating this standardized process helps department leads understand what is being measured at each stage and the level of support they will need to provide. It also helps bridge the gap between process capabilities and the hiring needs; while creating an explicit standard to ensure hiring consistency throughout all departments.
2.) Develop a communication strategy. Once the selection process has been laid out in detail, sharing an appropriate level of the process to each group of stakeholders is important. Sharing what is being measured and how it will translate to a better workforce to the executive and management-level stakeholders will help gain their support and will create an environment for constructive feedback and process improvement.
It’s also important to provide an appropriate level of information to the employment service agencies, community colleges, and other agencies that will assist in the hiring process to be able to field candidate questions. Typically, plant expansions create a great deal of new job excitement to the community and although every potential candidate expects to be hired, the truth is that there are a limited number of jobs. There is no doubt that there will be a great number of disappointed candidates, but keeping the community appropriately informed will help minimize negative perceptions and keep in-process candidates engaged.
3.) Develop a reporting strategy. Once the lines of communication have been established, develop a standardized and objective means of reporting results. Accurately tracking the volume of candidates that are being processed and being able to show how it impacts current and future hiring goals is critical. What’s also critical is receiving objective and constructive feedback from department managers regarding new hires. This doesn’t mean that the process will be tweaked for every stated concern, but it will help find patterns that could lead to process improvements.
As stated before, plant expansions are not without their growing pains, but we’ve seen companies reduce the level of pains by establishing these strategies.