The Insider Article – My kind of people
LHA JULY AUG 2019 | THE INSIDER | ASHLEY THACKER
Astute recruitment and staff retention are key to thriving in a niche marketplace.
I have a lot of conversations with fellow business owners and managers here in Sydney and wider Australia. It’s fascinating to compare notes with peers who are experiencing the same challenges and notable that similar issues impact us all. Near the top of the list, especially for those of us in a niche sector, like lifting, is recruitment, which can become difficult and troublesome if it isn’t navigated correctly.
As I’ve written before, a business is nothing and nowhere without its people; we’re honest enough to acknowledge that at Ranger. So we’ve had to become good at finding, retaining, motivating, and training staff. Circumstances dictate that we have to be as efficient in those departments as we are at working with lifting and rigging gear. And I know other business leaders feel the same; we’re all industry professionals first, but investors in people a close second.
It’s opportune therefore to talk about the challenges we’ve experienced that might serve as lessons for others. First, it’s important to accept realities. Australia is an interesting geography because the population is gathered around a handful of cities and much of the landmass in inhabitable. Further, if a business is not based in close proximity to any of the country’s major equipment manufacturers, access to training can be scarce. It’s also true that there is a shortage of people with relevant skills and many from the younger generation gravitate towards the technological rather than industrial or engineering space.
A golden rule that has served us well is to show a bias towards attitude over qualifications. That doesn’t mean we send someone equipped only with enthusiasm and passion into a situation where they don’t also have the skills, but the person with the more impressive resume might turn out to be the worst candidate for a particular job or company. It’s true that attitude, work ethic, drive and loyalty—fundamental assets for anyone who reports for duty at many companies—are the hardest to find.
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