10 HR Tips for the Marine Industry
How great is it to go into a business and see a familiar, friendly face? Happy, loyal employees create happy, loyal customers. It has been proven time and again that CSI is created by ESI (employee satisfaction index). This generates more profits and fewer problems. So what are some of the best practices used in the marine industry to find, hire, and retain quality people?
1. The No.1 method of effectively recruiting staff in the marine industry is word of mouth amongst your employees. Communicate with your employees and let them know what you are looking for, what qualifications are needed and how the new staff member will fit in the organization. If you don't tell them yourself, they will likely catch wind of it and think you are looking to replace them.
2. When advertising an open position, be sure to give specific response call to action candidates (example: "Call between 2-4p.m." or " Come in and fill out an application in person."). If they cannot follow simple instructions surrounding the interview process, you may not want to hire them.
3. Detailed job descriptions should be written for all positions. This can be a daunting task but there are simple ways to approach it. Ask your employees to write down everything they are responsible for in their current positions. Their responses are often real eye-openers. This simple task can help create a more accurate description of each role within your organization.
4. Ask the same prepared interview questions ( based on the job description) of each applicant and take notes on the responses. This will give you a clear, apples-to-apples comparison and will help you choose the best applicant. Take your time with the interview. You may be working with this person for years- spend a few minutes really getting to know him or her.
5. Have an understanding of the answers you would like to hear before you begin the interview. Some people don't interview well but are excellent workers and others are smooth-talking slackers. If you know the answers you seek, you can better assess if the response had "meat on the bone" or was an eloquent display of fluff.
6. Don't talk too much or lead the conversation. you should be speaking less than 30 percent of the interview. Address their questions about the job before or after your prepared questions. Be sure to ask open-ended questions that determine how they think of behave in a situation (example: "What would you say to an upset customer who has not had his last three phone calls returned?"). These responses have no perfect "correct" answer but they give you an indication as to how the candidate thinks and reacts in certain situations.
7. Require more than the basics of the job description from both your new hires and existing employees. Lay out your mission and future goals for the organization and let your employees and candidates know how they play a critical part in achieving those goals. Example: "Your job as boat washer may seem straightforward but you are one of our most important marketing assets - your ability to smile and greet customers on the lot does more to bring us sales than full-color print ads. Are you comfortable looking customers in the eye, smiling, and asking if they need help?" If you don't expect the most from your employees, you won't likely get it.
8. Hiring employees away from other industries is okay IF you are willing to take the time UPFRONT, BEFORE you put them in the position, to train and "marinize" them. People from the motorsports, RV, insurance, automotive, and many other industries, have crossed over and become very successful and valuable within the marine industry. But nothing is worse than just throwing new employees into a job asking them to figure it out on their own.
9. New hire orientations, mentor programs, performance reviews and exit interviews are a great investment of your time. Having up-to-date employee files creates a healthy work environment, as both good and bad work is being noticed and acknowledged. Stores who do not do these things usually lose the best people first.
10. Consistency in your HR practices is of the utmost importance. Playing favorites, ignoring unacceptable work, micromanaging some and never speaking to others, are all ways of upsetting your employees and by doing so, decreasing profitability. Have solid HR practices in place and make sure to run them by your legal counsel. Documenting everything may help you retain smiling, customer-focused employee who are happy to be working toward your dealership goals.