Everyday we have the great opportunity of working with a variety of companies to help them find top technical talent for their organizations. This is a huge responsibility. The war for top talent is a challenging one and should be managed on multiple fronts.
We know firsthand. You see, Disher faced this issue ourselves a few years back. What we did then, and still do today, is take a holistic approach to building a multi-level team. We began by coining the plan “the Disher circle of life.” The circle requires an investment at various levels of talent that pays off continually and over a sustained period of time.
When coming out of the 2008/2009 recession finding top talent was easy: there were some great people with several years of experience and spectacular education available and hungry for a new job. These individuals were put into some tough spots as they lost their once secure job due to the crazy automotive and banking crisis. In 2010 and 2011 we couldn’t do anything wrong in the talent attraction group. We were able to bring in the top people easily.
Then in 2012 we started to see that the tables were turning as most every company was starting to gain momentum again. We saw the competition for the really good talent was on the rise. The high-end experienced people were not so easy to get, nor were they as affordable. It made us really take a look at our internal talent strategy and how we could rely even more heavily on our culture. (I’ll save culture for another day).
We had to start looking forward with a real plan for how we would continue to grow and have a pipeline of people on the bench ready to go for our customer’s needs. This was not an easy task as it required us to look beyond this month, or even next year, and look forward 2-5 years. This is when we developed the Disher “farm club.”
The “farm club” was established by continuing to bring on co-ops and interns and new grads every semester. We had always been good about bringing on co-ops from one particular school as a way to give back to the engineering community. We realized this needed to be even more robust and productive though.
Today we are still very committed to bringing on experienced talent but now bringing on newer less experience talent is also equally as important. Every year we hire co-ops, new grads, and seasoned engineers and over a four year period, each engineer becomes that much more valuable and the talent pool grows exponentially. In five years you have a team of engineers that are incredibly sharp and technically adaptable. If we keep feeding this we get what we have today, a highly competent multi-level team of experienced engineers.
Please understand, the commitment necessary to bring in new grads and co-ops required a lot more structure on our part. You can’t just plunk them down willy nilly and hope they are successful. Developing a “farm club” required a new onboarding/training program that kept our entry level engineers and intern/co-ops engaged and continually learning. It was important that we paired them with our seasoned engineers. Our onboarding process is a full year long program of continual checks and balances and working very hard to get engineers into their technical “sweet spot.”
Our hope when we started this was to have co-ops that could become some of our entry level engineers immediately upon graduation. We hired entry level engineers to become seasoned engineers. And the seasoned engineers to become highly competent technical experts who have varied and diverse work experience. All of them who most importantly continually live the Disher mission of “Making a Positive Difference” as they reach a “sweet spot” in their career.
Written By: Keri McCarthy – Business Lead, Talent Attraction | Keri is an expert in staffing management. She has over 18 years of experience in talent branding, talent selection, process implementation, talent related problem solving, and reorganizing business units. Keri has worked in a variety of industries to assist companies in acquiring top talent as well as develop a solid infrastructure. She is also the instigator of many office nerf wars!