Are you relying on expensive external sources to give your business leads for workers? What if you didn’t have to pay them tens of thousands of dollars to find the workforce that your business needs?
You may have what you need in your business already. Even if you don’t, it shouldn’t be hard for you to develop them. And you can leverage these things in a new and fresh way that benefits your company in incredible ways.
In part two of our workforce series on the Contractor’s Daughter podcast, you’ll learn about what you should reconsider or develop within your business to attract better leads for hire. I’ll teach you about a few areas you can leverage to create an internal solution to your workforce problem.
3:34 – How effective are external sources at bringing workforce leads into your business?
8:30 – Looking at brand strategy, marketing, and HR as ways to get better employees
13:36 – How partnerships and training employees can help with the workforce development side of your business
17:33 – The benefit of having an optimized solution built into your business
19:39 – A challenge to help you discover the keys to owning your workforce solution
Mentioned In Areas of Your Business You Can Leverage to Support Better Leads for Hire
Fix This Next by Michael Michalowicz
Quotes From The Episode
“Too many companies let their brand strategy be dictated by circumstances instead of actually designing and intentionally deploying that brand themselves.” – Jeani Ringkob
“When you think about connecting people to us as a great career opportunity, a lot of it is in the storytelling and messaging.” – Jeani Ringkob
“You can have a steady pipeline of quality-fit candidates coming into your business. And you can track that just like you would a marketing or sales funnel.” – Jeani Ringkob\
More Episodes of The Contractor’s Daughter Podcast You’ll Find Helpful
Welcome to The Contractor's Daughter, your go-to podcast for eliminating random acts of strategy and marketing in your highway construction business. Hello, friends. I'm your host, Jeani Ringkob. I'm a third-generation asphalt contractor and an absolute brand strategy and marketing geek.
Welcome to The Contractor's Daughter. I'm your host, Jeani Ringkob. I am diving into part two of a three-part series about none other than workforce development. It is on everybody's minds these days. In the previous episode, if you haven't heard it, if you're not subscribed, be sure you're subscribed, but you can always go back and it really is helpful to maybe listen to that episode first because it's helping you rethink and reframe the problem of workforce.
When I am out speaking on this topic, when I'm having a conversation with a current client and a prospect, or anybody where I'm sitting here talking about workforce, I feel like 9 times out of 10, the first thing we have to do is reframe it. If you are not willing to say that this could be not just a challenge in my business, but actually a strategic competitive advantage for me if I tackle this in the right way and I find the solution and bring that solution into my company as an asset, then you're really on the losing side of this.
That is a mindset that I like to see in all of my best partners, the people that I admire the most in this industry, the people that I think are making the biggest changes, and the people that are positioning their businesses to be long-term successful factors in this industry, real leaders that are going to be around for the long haul, and the ones that are going to be able to take advantage of all the opportunities and demand in the infrastructure world right now as we see it and moving forward.
We really rethought that. We talked about why it is so critical and how we can actually shift that mindset and actually gave an example about a presentation that I had that really brought it home recently at the Women in Construction Conference.
Let's dive into what I promised. I think a lot of people are excited about this because as I'm having these conversations, a lot of the time, what we're discovering is you probably already have a lot of the resources that you need and that you can leverage to build the solution into your business already.
If you don't, there are things that you can easily outsource, borrow, or start developing in your business that are probably going to help you not just with this problem, but really be relevant to other areas of your business and level up your business in other ways as well. I love when we can build a solution, find a strategy, or an objective for a client that solves more than one problem.
We always have to start with the most essential problem or bottleneck that we're leveraging into an opportunity. But if we can build that and design it so it does multiple things for us, I think that's a great way to always stay on the edge, to be ahead of the competition, and to keep building strategic advantage after strategic advantage, so why not do it?
The solution that we've created that we're talking about in this series definitely uses those types of processes and that mindset to get you where you need to be. What if you didn't have to pay tens of thousands of dollars for outside leads to the workforce that your business needs?
Honestly, as I'm watching these budgets increase and I'm talking to people constantly and they're tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars for some companies depending on the size of that company, we’re seeing the steady increase and really people branching out into using more external paid resources to build the funnel into their business at the leads that they're looking for.
But what we're also seeing is most of those external sources that we're paying a significant amount to year after year also really doesn't tip the needle because they're not bringing us the quality best-fit candidates. They don't understand our industry, that is not the target pipeline that they already have access to, and they don't tend to really solve the problem.
When we really break it down and I get into not just that initial hiring cost, but the cost of actual turnover, the cost of morale, decreased productivity, doing training and testing over and over again, all of those kinds of things, it's really exponential, and when you think about it, you're paying for it over and over again if we don't get higher quality, better-fit canvas up front.
Really, the expense that we're talking about is really high. It's really incredible, and it's all external. This investment that we're making over and over again is just filling a need and it’s kind of filling a hole in the boat, we're just constantly shoveling out the water instead of fixing the hole, plugging the hole, and then getting the water out. We want to shift how we're looking at that.
I've referenced in the last episode a model created by Mike Michalowicz’s The Business Hierarchy of Needs. I want to mention it here because it gives you a great visual aid. If you go to my website and you watch some of the videos that we're going to have about this conversation, you'll have a visual aid, we’ll actually map out that business hierarchy of needs, what that looks like.
If you think about Maslow's hierarchy of needs, it's the same thing but Michalowicz developed it for businesses, and at that lowest level is sales. Sometimes we don't think about this workforce challenge as a sales issue, but it absolutely is a sales issue because we don't have the workforce, you don't even have the equipment.
If you sell something to somebody but you have no means to actually execute on that, that's a problem. That means you're not going to get paid and a sale isn't complete until it goes full circle. You get to sell, you deliver, and then you get paid for that. That is a complete sale and that's the oxygen. That's the lowest level of the business hierarchy of needs that our businesses need.
Not having workforce, delayed work, having to go back and say, “We can't complete work,” having to turn down opportunities that our business needs in order to continue to grow, we have plenty of other things in the world right now that are increasing in cost that we have less control over.
This is an area where maybe we've traditionally felt like we didn't have a lot of control but I actually believe we can have a tremendous amount of control over. We need to tackle this. It is essential and for a lot of us, it's one of the very first things we need to be tackling in our businesses.
What if you didn't need to rely on those expensive, external sources to filter poor quality leads that [you need to] pain for over and over again, multiple times, sometimes multiple times even in a season.
Here are some of the things that you probably need to leverage that you may have access to inside of your business. Some of these are going to be things that you're already doing in your business, you already have departments, resources, or people working on these things in your business. Some of them are going to be things that maybe you outsource to somebody but you could also include them in an add-on like this strategy for what they're currently doing or pivot it more in this direction.
Some of them might be things that you haven't taken on yet, but you're thinking that you need to take on your business. Do you already have that HR department or is it integrated more with your admin or are you outsourcing that but you're thinking of bringing that internally into your business?
All of those are things that maybe will be reconsidered as you go through this process. But they are things that commonly, most of the businesses that I talked to are doing many of these things already or have easy access to bring these things into their business.
Let's talk about a few of these things. First off, brand strategy. I think I mentioned this a lot but people don't realize that it's one of the early things that we need to control in our business is how we're perceived by our competition, our customers, our partners, and how we're perceived helps them quickly make a decision about what category we fit into if we're useful to them, if we're a desirable partner, if we're a desirable solution provider, if we are a desirable employer.
Brand strategy is actually really, really important, and too many companies let their brand strategy be dictated by circumstances instead of actually designing and intentionally deploying that brand themselves. This is something that if you're not already doing inside of your business, you should be doing and it's part of actually developing the solution into your business.
Another area of your business is marketing. This has lots of subcategories that are directly relevant to the solution that we're finding that people can build into their business to really use to attract workforce. In your marketing, it could be using all or a portion of your social strategy to put yourself out there, really convey that brand strategy, talk about your culture.
Sometimes people don't even know that the jobs are there once they start following. Are you talking about that? Are you communicating that? Messaging is a big part of your marketing that needs to be established really early on, and it's the filter that everything needs to go through. What are your products? What are the problems that you've solved? How do you solve them? All of those things are controlled by a message and they help people, they tell people a story so that they can quickly understand what we need them to understand.
When you think about connecting people to us as a great career opportunity, a lot of it is in the storytelling and the messaging. That all follows and falls under the umbrella of your marketing.
Video is a great asset that falls under this umbrella too. Content, if you think about not just the content you're putting out, but what is your content strategy, a lot of us deal with seasonality so that content may change as we're leading up and we know what's coming in front of us.
Is it this season where we see more drop-offs? Is this season we want to be really pushing for referrals? Is it a season we want people to get excited about starting the season backup of this? What is that we want to be conveying? Are we sitting down and developing a strategy? We're intentional about the content that we're putting out there.
Also something that's highly overlooked is internal communication. Once again, this is directly linked to your messaging. You want to have a messaging framework in place, and that's the filter that everything goes through. It's really important for internal communication.
I know some of the larger companies that I talked to, I have a lot of really great contacts inside of their HR departments and I love to hear what they're doing, what they're seeing. They have huge budgets for measuring metrics, experimenting, and tracking stuff, and a lot of their HR departments are directly linked with an internal communications department.
Part of that internal communications department is actually working on the messaging to build referral programs, to partner with marketing about how to talk about the workforce that they need, gathering information from your current workforce, especially the ones that are thriving and doing well, the ones that you want to replicate and you want to have more of, understanding that and integrating that into your communications, your messaging, and your marketing.
All of that can fall underneath in marketing umbrellas for your business, and many of us have that anyway. Even if we are in a situation where we're selling to government agencies, a lot of us know that our sales teams need marketing to support their efforts, whether it's helping them communicate clearly when people are making a selection about project and solutions for their assets, all of those kinds of things, but what types of collateral, what types of presentations, all of that messaging should be supported and developed to help support your sales team and that comes from marketing. Marketing can be a great asset when it comes to your workforce solution.
Another one is obviously HR. HR needs to be deeply integrated into this process, working with marketing, understanding that brand strategy, collecting information on a regular basis for current and best employees about what their perception is, what they're looking for, how they found this, what would make them refer, do they understand the words it takes to refer, do they understand your referral program, all of those kinds of things really can be activities that fall under HR.
Then we also have a few more, there are several more but we're only going to talk about a few more today, partnerships. This can be managed by either marketing, maybe managers, or a lot of the times, it falls under HR. There are great strategic partnerships that you can find locally in your regions that can be great pipeline fillers for your program.
But those people want you to have a brand strategy. They want you to have marketing and messaging that you can clearly communicate before they want to start filtering people into your industry and to your actual place of work.
But I mentioned last time and I mentioned at the beginning of this episode, I just presented at Women in Construction, which is the parent organization of that conference is CIEF (Construction Industry Education Foundation) and they're one example of an association doing incredible work on the lower levels, high school, trade schools, really trying to capture some of those younger generations, educate them on the construction industry, build pathways into that construction industry, and actually even pair and partner local vendors and construction industry businesses with those pipelines and with those education sources.
That is an incredible partnership. That's just one example. There are actually tons of examples and I know a lot of businesses where we've actually developed and created the strategy, the messaging to go, approach, and build partnerships directly with local institutions that have great resources that have people that are best-fit candidates that just need to understand the industry, the career paths, the opportunities, and get that exposure, so that they actually start believing that this is a path they can take, they know what the next steps are, and they get familiar with your brand. Partnerships are a real integral part.
These are some of the things, training is also another area that if you have this in your business or you outsource it in your business can be really relevant. Also, you may look at developing training that houses under your HR department.
One of the reasons I think about this is when we think about our onboarding process. Onboarding can be integrated with your referral process because we know that there are certain times during the journey of an onboarding employee that we need to bolster them.
We need to make sure that they are confident about how to integrate into our team, how to really get up to productivity quickly, they get satisfaction out of those things too, then in turn, they also will participate better in referral programs which are one of the least expensive and best-fit opportunities to bring a pipeline into our business.
These are some of the things that you probably already have going on in your business or you have the resources that you can quickly integrate into your business and they would probably be providing you value on multiple levels.
That was brand strategy, your marketing which houses so many of the resources, you'll need social, video, content strategy, messaging, internal communication, communication to partners, all of those things, and they would be highly leveraged with the HR department which really may be owning this asset in your business and be that key pivot point that's managing everything else, measuring the metrics, always improving the systems, collecting information from current employees to really advise and inform the rest of the strategy on an ongoing basis.
You may have a lot of these things already in your business. You can just leverage them in a new and fresh way and leverage them in a different direction that gets another really incredible benefit for your company.
I recommend that you let all of these assets increase their ROI by building the solution to your business. You have or you need these assets in your business anyway, but they can really get an even better ROI and leverage everything you're doing in your business by creating this asset where you control this and it's an internal operation within your business.
You control your brand. You control your strategy, your messaging, your partnerships. You control how you can improve your referral programs, how your HR is managing this whole thing, how you onboard people, how you create loyalty inside of your company. You can control all of this.
With a lot of the marketing pieces, the partnerships, the referral programs that you can build in, you can have a steady pipeline of quality-fit candidates coming into your business and you can track that just like you would a marketing or a sales funnel.
You can actually see that. You can see what things are increasing it. Where do you get the best candidates? Which ones turnover more? Which ones turnover less? All of that stuff can be tracked so you can have an optimized solution built into your business.
If you don't have these assets in your business today, you can still own the solution. None of these assets are hard to borrow. Many companies in our industry use outside contractors or consultants to actually bring these things into their business until they're ready, or to help them build these assets into their business.
We actually build entire workforce programs into people's businesses, help their teams build the processes and assistance so that after six to nine months, they actually own that asset themselves. We can help them fill the gaps of anything that they're missing in their business so they actually can own it in their own company and then they can continue to operate it themselves. You can always find those outside pieces yourself to do that.
That was a quick overview of the main things that you need to be looking at inside of your company. Are you thinking about brand strategy? Are you having a session for you and the top executives, the key players in your team have decided what is the brand strategy? Where are we going? Who are we? How are we positioned in the marketplace? What are our objectives moving forward? Are we trying to be a Ford or are we trying to be a Ferrari? All of those are questions that get answered when you develop a brand strategy and they very much influence the kind of workforce that you're going to be able to attract.
Also, your marketing, your HR, and your partnerships, all super key things you already have. Discover the keys to owning your own workforce solution. This is what I challenge you to do. Look at the current assets in your business. Think about where you might have some gaps.
If you need more clarity on this, we've actually created a workforce playbook quiz. This helps you go through by answering very key, very targeted questions. In about five to seven minutes, you're going to get an idea, basically the health of your current workforce scenario.
It's also going to, based on those questions, based on the feedback you provide, give you some of those next steps to start getting you going. This conversation right here should have also helped you identify “What assets do I currently have that I can probably leverage and maybe I'm underleveraging to help me solve this problem inside of my own business?”
Make sure that you go take the quiz. It's going to help you think through this process. It's going to help you really narrow in on where you need to start, how much you can get out of a process like this, and building the solution into your own business. Then it's also going to give you some clarity on what are those few next steps that I need to take.
You can take that quiz at storybuilt.marketing/workforce. Go take that quiz. Get those insights into your current situation, but not just that, where do you go next? How do you start down this path? I'm going to help you next week in the third part of this series, we're actually going to take a look back at a model that we've already talked about, the Strategic Growth Wheel, and we're going to look at how can that be a simple guideline or a 123 process to break this down and make it really simple for you to implement and start building a solution into your business.
Now is the perfect time to really take this on and say, “I'm not going to have this problem next spring and next summer when opportunities are knocking on the door. I don't want to be delayed on projects. I don't have to be because I haven't taken action to solve this problem.”
Make sure you take that assessment now. Set aside some time to think about these things and to start implementing and building the solution into your business. Next week, we're actually going to be talking about how to use that three-step wheel to start doing that and actually break it down into those three steps for you.
Make sure you're subscribed so you don't miss that and make sure you go take the quiz so you have a little bit more clarity before we reach that part. That's at storybuilt.marketing/workforce.
Thank you so much for joining us for this episode of The Contractor's Daughter. If you liked what you heard, be sure to subscribe and review. But most of all, share this with all of your friends, partners, and customers in the highway construction business. Thank you for building the infrastructure that we all rely on.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.