This is article three in a 5-part series on HR trends and industry insights. Each article will focus on key areas affecting HR professionals and senior executives. What follows is a series of articles highlighting key industry data which will hopefully allow readers to benchmark their own company and be in position for success.
College hires and their impact on the industries we serve seem to be rather minimal, which can present a serious problem as your workforce ages. How can we, as an industry, get this generation excited about the opportunities within our distribution or manufacturing industries?
Data from a 2018 GRN employer survey with actual employers within the industry pinpoints some of the reasons that companies haven’t made a bigger commitment to bring on entry level hires. In addition, our 2019 survey of candidates also shows what recent college grads find most important when they are looking for employment. Our data shows that most companies have little to no formal recruitment process to attract top new talent right out of school. Although some attend college fairs and interview on campus, those companies are in the minority. Even those that make this effort make very few college hires, and retention then becomes a concern. Unlike their national competitors, many independent distributors do not have formal efforts in place to attract, recruit and retain college talent. All three of these phases are different and deserve mentioning as critical to success.
The 2019 survey also noted that new college grads are very focused on starting salary and company culture.
So, what are companies doing to attract new talent right out of college?
Successful models that we see have a college hire champion within the company and a formal rotational program for sales and/or branch management development. The distributors that take it seriously reap the benefits of building their bench strength and developing their future leaders.
GRN survey data depicts the current status of the industry. Almost 60% of all surveyed distributors do not recruit on campus. When they do recruit on campus, a wide cross-sectional group participates. But almost 80% of respondents had no formal training program for these new hires once they stepped into the role. Some key statistics from our survey:
- 47% have some type of an internship program
- 57% of programs were managed by management or “in-the-field” by a staff level employee located at a branch in which the new hire was placed
- Only 43% of respondents recruit on campus. The company is represented by HR, young employees or branch managers.
- Many go for community / university relations, visibility and to “collect resumes.”
- Only 23% have formal college training programs
This data supports a growing industry issue. If companies are not serious about bringing new grads into their organizations, they will have no bench strength trained “their way” by “their methods.” New talent will come into their organizations from other companies, and those people may have to undo what they learned elsewhere and must relearn new systems, the company culture and their customers. This will slow the employee’s learning curve and the revenue-generating ability. These facts point to the need to advance formal training and recruitment for college grads to help spark the next generation of industry leadership.
In Part 4 of this series, we will discuss how to become the workplace of choice.
About the author: John Salvadore is the founder and Managing partner of GRN Coastal. GRN Coastal is a full-service recruitment company. You can reach John at Jsalvadore@grncoastal.com