No matter how many years of experience you have under your belt as a human resources professional, hiring 100+ employees in a short time period is daunting. For many of us this means maintaining our normal workload while hiring and on-boarding potentially hundreds of new employees. All the other work piles up on our desks or gets pushed to the back burners, unless you work for a huge corporation that has it’s very own “new operations” team. Many retail, production and agricultural businesses do this annually or even more frequently. Whether you’re preparing for the holiday rush, the high season for ripe fruits, opening a new location or all of the above – hopefully I can help give you a few new perspectives.
Lets take a look at a few helpful tools to get the daunting task done as painless as possible. Remember you have to be open to changing your processes slightly. You may need to decide what is important to remain apart of the process and where to cut corners in order to get the job done efficiently.
Get the word out so people know what your company is about, especially if you are opening a new store in a different region. Start early by talking about the new location and upcoming hiring needs on your companies social media sites and careers pages. There are plenty of no/low-cost ways to publicize your company and the upcoming hiring needs. Get people interested and talking about the new kid coming to town!
Once the word is out, start getting in contact with local agencies that can connect you with potential applicants. Contact the Employment Development offices in your area. They often will offer interview space, advertising, and many other helpful resources for free. Find out if there are colleges or universities that have programs specializing in the skills you are hiring people for. If you are hiring for cooks, look for culinary programs. Talk to professors and the school career centers. Find out about the local chambers of commerce that can help your organization get situated smoothly into a new community.
Hold your own job fairs or attend a local event. Whether its just to meet some people who may work well or to interview folks who have already applied.
Screen candidates applications as they come through the system. Flag potentials you think may be interesting. I personally feel it works better to have a whole lot of short in-person interviews over a week or two, versus holding a “cattle call”. You will find yourself weeding through a lot of candidates in-person, which tends to be a little more awkward and waste more peoples time. Schedule interviews back to back in short increments, get your managers involved, this eliminates the need of having to have a long drawn out process of calling people again and again. Come up with some tempting incentives for your current employees to relocate. If you are hoping to continue your company culture to new locations, existing employees who transfer from another location are the best way to help you achieve that goal. They know the processes and policies, and can help establish this at the new location. They will also know what “normal” is and can help the newbies understand that the craziness that happens with a new location does die down eventually.
Continue with your hiring process as you think it’s most appropriate for your organization. Like I said before, it may make sense to cut some corners. Maybe you get in touch with two references instead of three. Get the offers out, get your offers accepted and start dates confirmed.
On-boarding and Training
Again, be open to thinking outside of the box here. You may have to forgo your regular on-boarding process and have all new hires complete their new hire packet during a new hire orientation instead of through your employee portal. Cram a larger than normal group into your orientations, think efficiencies and not necessarily perfection. Get as much information into your new hires heads in a short amount of time. And then, your job is done and hopefully you get to hand them off to the hiring managers!
Because you have a large amount of newbies on-board at the same time, don’t forget to revisit some of the training in a month or two after they have been hired. If you training all your managers on the performance review process but they won’t actually have to do one for 90 days, go back after 70 days or so and discuss the process for performance reviews again. They will appreciate it!
Lastly, don’t forget to have some fun with it! It’s easy to get overwhelmed and fee burdened by the daunting task. Once the mass hiring is over with, you will feel an amazing sense of achievement and ownership.