Employee Referral Programs, Promoting Within, Retraining
Ask your top employees to recommend people for the open
positions in your company and pay them $500 for a successful hire, Starling suggested. “Who are the employees doing
a great job? Who are always your go-to people?” she said.
“Those are your A players, and those types of people hang
with other A players. They’re out in the field together all the
time, and your people know who the good employees are.
They can say, ‘Hey, you should come work for our company.’”
In the last few years, Evertek (Everly, Iowa) has asked
its staff to conduct employee searches. After 90 days of a
new hire, the employee and new employee each get $250,
Winebarger recommended using social media to spread
the word about upcoming job fairs. Coordinate ahead of
time with the university to advertise your company and
openings in the catalog for the job fair too, she suggested.
“Students will see those and plan around that,” she said.
Job fair attendees will see more than openings at the
telco; they’ll also see a big colorful banner that it had commissioned to promote the area’s natural beauty. The co-op
includes a paragraph about the area’s rural assets when it
posts a job opening online. “We highlight the fact that we
have four distinct seasons, and mention the hiking and
biking opportunities and New River,” Winebarger said.
Sometimes the most effective means of recruitment is
old-fashioned word-of-mouth, which Roy Sheneman, general
human resource manager for Valley Telephone Cooperative,
Inc. (Raymondville, Texas), said is still highly effective.
“When you’re a sponsor at the local cook-off, baking contest or festival, work with your marketing department to
use that time to advertise your job openings,” he said.
It’s not uncommon for companies to get fixated on a specific
skillset and believe they must immediately bring in some-
one from outside the company to fill a particular position,
Starling said. Instead, they should consider training one of
their existing employees for that role. “Look for the employee
who is detail oriented and likes to learn,” she said. “That
person can be trained.”
Ask the employee to share in some of the training cost,
Starling suggested. If training takes a year and costs $5,000,
tell the employee that $1,000 of that will be taken out of the
paycheck over a certain time frame, she said. Employees
who pay for a portion of their training will value it and be
more motivated to stay with the company.
White noted that people in the
construction field are often good candidates to train for technician jobs
because they already have some
expertise with wiring and are comfortable going into people’s homes for
repairs. “We train them in-house on
the fiber, wireless and IP part of it,” she
said, explaining that it’s normally a
one- to two-month training process.
Typically, former construction
workers are able to start going out on
installation and service calls within 45 to 60 days of being
hired. “The learning curve is fast because younger guys are
already familiar with iPads, Roku and Netflix connections,”
White said. “They come up to speed very quickly and have
a good retention rate”.
Perhaps the benefit that is most appreciated is the free
telecommunications services, White said. “Because we get
a bill every month, this lets our marketing folks see what
the promotions are and what the pric-
ing is,” she said. “They like this perk,
but it helps us as well.”
However, money, benefits and pen-
sion plans are not the top concerns
among millennials. “Flexibility is key to
them,” Miller said. “How much time can
I get off to do the things I want to do
and still work? If they can telework and
work in their pajamas, they love this.”
Schools and Internships
Most small telcos already have firm
relationships with their local schools because they provide
their services, but some are taking those relationships to
the next level to prepare the next generation of workers.
Valley Telephone sponsored six high school teachers
from local districts. “They came in during the summer and
spent three weeks with us,” Sheneman
explained. “They interviewed every
department and got to see our
equipment, our processes and our
From this experience, they devel-
oped a series of lesson plans to take
back to their schools and give presen-
tations about the company to stu-
dents and other teachers.
For those who are heading off to
higher education, it pays to have a
hand in their training and curriculum,
Sheneman said. “We have half a dozen
RECRUITING AND RETAINING
a colorful banner
to showcase the
Jacob O’Rourke, an
Endeavor Communications employee,
participates at a