The Human Resources department in a job shop can often be overlooked. However, with all of the changes that 2020 has brought, it’s become more important than ever to handle employee changes smoothly and understand what employees are thinking about their jobs. If you want to keep your employees, get great new employees, and improve your shop, you need a strong Human Resources department. A strong Human Resources department can survey employees, start a referral program, and streamline the hiring process to make your shop stronger and more efficient.

Survey Employees

If you’re looking to improve your shop, but you’re not sure where to start, it’s helpful to get honest feedback from your employees. One of the best ways to find out how your employees really feel about your shop is anonymous surveys. There are many companies that can do them for you, or you can set one up yourself online. Whichever way you set it up, make sure that there’s no way to trace answers back to a particular employee. That’s one reason to do it online instead of getting handwritten answers. One example of keeping it anonymous is if there are not many welders in your shop, don’t ask survey-takers to identify their departments. If employees feel the surveys are truly anonymous, they’ll be more likely to answer honestly, which will give you more accurate results.

You may already have questions that you want to ask. However, if you’re unsure or if you want to add a few more questions to your survey, there are a few that are often helpful to ask. One reason that people leave a shop is because they want to grow. So, in your survey, ask employees if they’ve been offered additional responsibility as they wanted, or if they’ve grown in the ways that are important to them. You may also want to ask if their role in the company meets their expectations. Whether this is their first role with you or if they’ve been promoted, it’s helpful to know if the work and responsibilities they have now match up with what they expected either when they took on that role, or if there were discussions to add more responsibilities as they came up.

Get Internal Feedback

Human Resources

It’s also helpful to find out how your employees view your shop. Do they enjoy coming to work most days? Do they feel like the shop looks out for them? Generally, do most employees get along with each other? Essentially, you want to make sure that your employees are happy working in your shop.

It can also be helpful to ask your employees for suggestions to improve your shop. You may want to add a question about this to your anonymous survey, or you may prefer to have employees put their names on their suggestions so they can get credit for them. However, you get these suggestions, make sure you take them seriously and try to implement them. Give feedback about how you’re working on implementing suggestions, or about why you aren’t able to do them right now. If employees give suggestions and never hear anything again, that can be worse than not asking in the first place.

Start a Referral Program

Getting good employees can be hard. If your shop already has great employees and you want more like them, it may be a good idea to set up a referral program. People tend to have friends that are similar to them, so friends of good employees tend to be good employees as well.

If you do set up a referral program, consider how much money you’re likely to save in advertising the position. You can use the savings as a cash bonus to the person doing the referring. If that doesn’t work for your shop, you can offer other options. Before giving the bonus, it’s helpful to make sure the new employee works out. Programs typically wait to pay out until the new employee has worked a certain number of hours, days, or weeks. Determine what that will be before you begin the program and remember to stick to it.

Another thing to consider with a referral program is that word of mouth can often work better than job postings. It’s almost always cheaper than putting up many job postings. It will typically give you more candidates like your current employees. This might also mean they have just as much industry experience. And the candidates already have an idea of what it’s like to work in your shop because they’ve heard about it from a friend, which means they can also be easier to onboard if you choose to hire them.

Streamline the Hiring Process

Some shops already have an efficient hiring process. They can tell quickly which people they want to hire, and the candidates have an easy time getting through the hiring process. Other shops and their Human Resources departments haven’t gotten to this point yet. Streamlining a hiring process makes less work for employers and potential employees. One example of streamlining the hiring process is cutting down the number of interviews. When possible, schedule one interview and either have all of your shop’s decision-makers at the interview or schedule a few, shorter interviews back to back. If the candidate only comes to your shop once or twice, that makes it easier for your shop to keep working without distractions, and it helps the candidate by having to travel less.

It can also be helpful to have candidates fill out online forms. Instead of having them fill out paper applications in your shop or take various tests on site. It saves you time and makes it more convenient for your candidate. However, with online tests, there is a risk of them getting outside help, so your shop will need to balance the pros and cons. Of course, there are some tests that can only be done in person. It may be possible to have the test set up more quickly or more easily for multiple candidates within the same day.

With everything that has happened in 2020, Human Resources departments have become more important in a lot of shops. Whether your shop is trying to hang on to current employees, hire more employees, or both, the Human Resources department may need a little help to become more efficient and effective. Above are some great starting points, but the people in your shop may have more ideas as well. Find out what works for your shop and make it happen. A strong Human Resources department makes your shop stronger and better able to handle whatever the future may bring.

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