DALLAS — I’ve got good news for you: Our economy is thriving. GDP is growing. Unemployment is low. What could be better?

The bad news? The success of the economy has meant that hiring has become a major problem for drycleaning owners.

In surveys of business owners, finding good employees ranks as the number one challenge to growth. This is particularly true in the drycleaning industry.

Gone are the days when someone could simply post a “Now Hiring” sign in the window and find good candidates.

Fortunately, there’s a way to navigate this challenging environment, but it requires a change of mindset.

Traditionally, we think of hiring as a passive process: put up a “Now Hiring” sign or talk to your employees; interview some candidates; hire.

While this may have worked in the past, the modern world and hot economy require a new perspective. In this new world view, we have to think of hiring not as a passive HR process, but, in a way, as an active hiring campaign.

CAMPAIGNING

A great campaign, similar to a marketing strategy you might use to reach customers, requires owners to engage in four key steps. These need to be taken if we, as owners, are going to search out and attract employees.

Step 3 — Define the best channels to reach those customers (referrals, websites, direct sales)

Now that you know your target customer and are confident that you have a great product to sell them, you need to figure out what the best channels are to reach them. This can vary widely by the job position.

It’s unlikely that you will reach the person pressing pants through the same channel as the person working the front counter. They have different profiles and skill sets.

Again, I find it helpful here to talk with your current, high-quality employees about “how they found us and what they did before they came to work with us.”

For example, a lot of people who have been successful at my own front counter have worked in retail in the past and found us on LinkedIn and Indeed. As a result, we market our job positions to retail professionals on LinkedIn and Indeed.

Most of our cleaning staff have come through referrals, so we have referral bonuses for our plant staff and encourage them to get the word out. I also encourage my hiring managers to carry business cards with them so that if they meet someone, they can actively recruit them.

Step 4 — Create attractive campaign materials

A great product, marketed to the right customer through the right marketing channel, still won’t mean anything if it’s not wrapped in a nice package. As they say, “You don’t sell the steak, you sell the sizzle.”

So, too, in hiring. I can’t tell you how many bland job descriptions I’ve read that would make me prefer to not work at all rather than to work at the given company. If you want people to buy your product, you have to sell it!

It’s absolutely critical that whatever channel you choose to campaign for your job, you make the presentation sexy. Whether it’s selling directly to candidates, posting online, or through in-store collateral, devote the same energy to your hiring style that you would on a marketing piece to customers.

Two different opening sentences for the same job description highlight my point:

• “We are looking for a presser at our drycleaning plant.”

• “Embark on a new career in the fast-paced, exciting world of garment care.”

Which job would you be more interested in? Obviously, the second.

That’s what thinking about hiring as a campaign does for you and your company. It turns a passive job search into an exciting new opportunity for future employees. Now go out there and sell that product!

To read Part 1, go HERE.