Hire Local or Not?

The Department of Economic Development reports the State of Florida at a 4.7% unemployment rateThanks to the leadership in Tallahassee and the rest of the state for keeping businesses operational during the pandemic. Positions in construction management are not only available for those already here, but opening doors for others to come here with worthwhile employment. 

Companies are also expanding into Florida due to the economic opportunities and ability to attract workforce to the area.   This month, we are republishing an article written in 2018 addressing the pros and cons of hiring someone that is new to the area. When it was written, only one-fourth of our placements were transplants. We have now seen that number double and qualifications of those coming to the state is impressive. Not to mention the six degrees of separation, most of them have to the local marketplace despite not physically living and working here. What are your thoughts?  We hope you will comment.

April 26, 2018

The majority of candidates we have matched with companies for employment over the years are individuals who were already working in construction in Florida.  A fourth of the people we place are those relocating to Florida.  If they have already worked here in the past, it may or may not be relevant as the construction industry is ever changing and many of their connections will not be the same.

More often then not I hear from our clients they do not want to hire someone moving to the area as they have to train someone who is not local. The technical side of someone coming from a small town, stick and brick building world to a larger company building with concrete I would totally agree.  They would most likely not be a match for hire regardless.  The irony is not wanting to train someone that has the technical side just because they have not worked the marketplace should be subjective to the individual and their overall ability to build relationships along with buildings.

Even new hire locals need to have some form of onboarding (aka training) to be successful with their new employer.  Not only to ramp them up successfully but also to ensure they are acclimating with your existing team and dedicated to their new employer.

Recently I had a client who hired in a local employee, not through us, that had been with their previous employer for many years. The new employee was field based and others bonded with him quickly, both new and long-term field employees at his new job.  His onboarding and communication with the main office were limited, and the relationships he formed were on what I refer to as the island, project-based. He decided to go back to his former employer and took another new hire he just met with him along with almost succeeding in taking a second, long-term employee who was on the same project.

Think back to your childhood and when you were in a new school.  Your experience was shaped based on who gave you direction, who befriended you and your perception of whether it was a place you wanted to be or not.  The same holds true when starting a new job.

No matter who you hire, at what level, office or site based here are a few suggestions on how to build a solid foundation for their tenure with your company.

It starts with the interview.

Make sure during the interview process they meet anyone that will have authority over them or they will work side by side during their initial tenure.  This will eliminate false expectations and gain buy-in from all part of this new employee’s success.  Why do you think there is meet your teacher day at most school?

Day one assign them a company mentor.  This ideally is a person working in close proximity to the new employee and must be someone who models and promotes your company culture. This person should talk to the new hire daily the first week or two, then weekly through the person’s first three months of employment.  Hopefully, they continue to speak with each other and be there for one another after the 90 days, as typically a natural relationship is formed.

The questions he or she should be asking are simply.  How are you?  How is everything going?  They should listen for tone, hesitation and anytime this can be face to face watch for body language. The idea is not for the mentor to involve whomever at the company needed to address any issues the new hire may have.  It could be more reporting than used to, commute, a unique co-worker, etc.. they just need time and a listening ear to adjust to the nuances. This is the person that they go to for any question or concern. The person that sometimes just listens and gets them to the right person to address their problem or concern.

Does the new employee have a company directory?

Below the download checklist for new hire includes a sample directory format for new hires showing who the primary contact is for each department and the back-ups. If you have this and they are informed they are the primary contact for all new hires for accounting, field technical, etc.; then they know when the new hire calls their job is to help them or help them get to the person that can help them.  This will serve as a backup to the mentor and on-going after the 90 -day initial onboarding.

Does the new hire know what he or she will be reviewed on?

What makes them successful in 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, first year?  This could be the position, project related or both. An example might be in 30 days know the plans and finish the schedule, 60 days job bought out, 90 days -x amount of work in place and at one- year TCO including all reporting done on a timely basis.

Has the new employee been trained on all software, systems, and processes they will be working with?

Each company is different in how they do daily reports, weekly reports, two-week look ahead, etc..  Your way is the right way for your company, but rest assured if they are not trained on your way they will be turning in the way they do know.  That doesn’t make the report wrong or the person unqualified for the job.  It makes how you want to receive that report wrong which often leads to disgruntlement.

I have many companies that are requesting candidates from out of the area such as California or New York.  They have worked under similar conditions to South Florida and often bring superior credentials coming from financially strong and competitive markets.  They are often coming here to improve life quality for their families and yes, believe it or not, shorten their commutes.

To hire local or not local is your choice.  It should be pertinent to what position, the individual themselves and their attitude, aptitude, and credentials they bring to the table.  Once that is a match their achievement at your company depends on how they acclimate to their new school.  Are you a leader in your class?

Simple Onboarding Checklist & Company Directory





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