Recruiting and on-boarding Technical Personnel
The business had seen a significant increase in manufacturing orders and required more staff to full fill. However, it was located in an expensive location with a tight labour market.
Steven assessed the actual work required and rather than hire very expensive personnel which would typically cost significantly higher salaries than the price point could absorb, Steven approached the problem differently. By breaking down the manufacturing and workflow processes into cells which had different skills level requirements, the business could recruit to meet the competence required to meet certain stages of production such as chemical mixing, wiring, assembly, test and so on. Therefore, the business did not need very expensive superstars who could complete the entire process.
In addition, the manufacturing documentation was re-packed into flip-card format, emphasising images rather than text and each new recruit went through “basic training” of electrical theory, soldering, bonding etc.
In one case, the company could not develop or purchase machinery that could deliver the dexterity of a particular gluing operation. Steven hired a seamstress who had just arrived in the UK and she was trained her to carry out a very repetitive but critical operation. The human skills of dexterity, concentration, accuracy and coping with repetition paid dividends. Of course, quality stage checking was implemented as part of the workflow.
The business succeeded in meeting the requirements and continued to receive re-peat orders. The workforce became a very strong team and where possible, were trained to carry out ever more complex tasks increasing their own skill levels, personal satisfaction and providing the business with more flexibility.
The business remained profitable where the only other reasonable option would be to move production to a lower cost location.
In some cases, matching transferable skills sets with very complex, High risk tasks can work, if sufficient training, support and documentation is provided.
In addition to testing knowledge, consider testing raw skills in novel ways. In the case above, Steven asked all new starts to build a model aircraft during the interview. It was very, very clear which potential recruits may not have faired well if employed – even the clever ones.
Even though salaries were lower with less experienced staff, it was still very important to calculate the cost of training, new documentation etc., so that the profitability of the product stream could still be maintained.