November 1, 2017 | by Steve Lawrence

Recruiting, Training and Retaining:

Stop thinking your business is not sexy.

It is not just millenials who want clarity of purpose and important work when they choose a career and stick with it. Your senior staff and workforce of all ages are far more likely to invest themselves in your business when they know they are embracing a career that is valuable to society and personally fulfilling. Oh yes, and competitive pay is a plus as well.

“Let go of the idea of being in an unsexy industry,” says David DeLong, president of Smart Workforce Strategies and a keynote speaker at the MSCI Tubular Product Division Conference, Jan. 9–10 in Scottsdale, Ariz. DeLong is responding to a commonly heard complaint from metals supply chain executives who say that many recruits are under the impression that service center jobs are dirty, boring and offer little room for advancement.

“Remember that you are building America’s infrastructure, touching people lives every day in important ways,” DeLong says. “You’ve got to impress on those recruits and on the people already working for you that they are doing something important, making a difference in the world. They need to be reminded all the time that they are connected to a larger purpose.”

This is just one important theme that DeLong will talk about in January, but he will cover a great deal more than that.

“I want to talk to them about recruiting and retaining high performing people,” DeLong said in a pre-conference interview. “It’s not just about an aging workforce and millennials. It’s also about mid-career people and those just starting out. It’s about building a high-quality workforce, about helping business leaders think about the changing workforce in new, creative ways. It’s about understanding your own workplace, realistically assessing personnel risks and setting realistic priorities for getting and developing and retaining the best and letting go of the rest.

“I will also be talking about how to create a culture that retains talent and how to evaluate and maximize the talent you already have,” DeLong said. “So many executives forget they have older workers with valuable skills and knowledge, for instance, that they could retain, perhaps not even full time but for a few years longer, and create a program that allows them to pass on their best practices and knowledge.

“You need to be planning backwards, as I put it, defining what you are committed to doing as a business over the next two to five years,” he said. “What will your business look like, and how are you making sure you are hiring and training appropriately? You’ve got to be continually reassessing the capabilities you need and are going to need.”

Finally DeLong’s most significant takeaway: “Stop complaining and work on it. Figure it out. If you don’t you won’t have a business.”

Learn more about the invaluable presentations being offered at MSCI’s Tubular Products Division Conference.