This week Ponca Works was talking to several employees whose job satisfaction was less than ideal. They like their jobs for the most part, they like their employers, but they were lacking in motivation in areas specific to their personality. We are all different, that's no shock to hear, especially to anyone who has tried to work as a team or in a marriage! That means that we are motivated differently, work differently, and accomplish tasks differently. If we don't feel like our employers (or supervisors) care about our feelings then job satisfaction will drop and the turnover rates will rise at those companies.
While doing our job the task is the main goal, whether it's ordering the supplies, making the product, fulfilling the order, developing the technology or refining the product, the atmosphere is just as important. There are obviously things that cannot be changed about a work environment, sometimes the temperature needs to be cold or it's a sterile environment and standards need to be kept up, or possibly shifts get longer as rise in demand grows. The thing we can change is knowing our employees and what motivates that person specifically. All people work for a paycheck, but what else besides money is motivating to them. Is it feeling cared for as an individual? Is it the ability to leave for a family emergency without guilt?
There are many tools to help you understand how your employees are wired. One great tool that I've seen successful many times over in developing a strong and motivated team is the "Now, Discover your Strengths" by Donald O. Clifton and Sally Byrne Woodbridge test and book. It allows for a leader to read about importance of motivation of that individual and understand the incentives that will mean the most to them. There are even hiring strategies on how to make a strong team of different types of people. Some of our local Ponca City industries have begun using this strategy and seeing huge drops in their turnover, because of people liking their team and feeling satisfaction in their jobs because of it.
If you're feeling like this is an area your company could grow in, please contact me by calling (580)765-7070 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an appointment.
This week Ponca Works was at a location that was the scene of engagement, lively conversations, and good food! Where was that, you ask? You'd have never guessed with those descriptors that this was the scene of the Ponca City High School! High schoolers, in general, are not known for their ease of conversation with adults or for their excitement in a school environment. That is why this lunch was so exciting! Twelve companies were represented to speak with three different groups of high school seniors in timed sessions. This is part of Ponca Work’s Careers and Cookies program that meets with these seniors once per month for the duration of the school year to introduce them to the job market in Ponca City.
Mr. Bayha, Internship Coordinator at Ponca City High School, pictured above is grinning because this has been his dream. In his life before education he was a supervisor at the Huffy factory in town. Transitioning from manufacturing to education has been rewarding but a different mindset. The way of getting into a profession is completely skewed as compared to 50 years ago, where many times you did what your dad did. He noticed this as he was Vice Principle and was able to transfer to his passion this year which is Internship Coordinator. Now Bayha feels that he is equipped to help make the transition from education to the working world better for the students that need the support, and who need the encouragement of a caring adult to help them navigate the working world.
The students that are focused on this exercise are the seniors that aren't certain what next year holds. The employers stayed after their lunch with the students to mingle with the counselors and teachers. The state of our education and industry alignment is going to change through casual conversations like this and Ponca Works is excited to be the catalyst for these moments!
The Hiring Our Heroes event went smashingly! As you can see Ponca City was highlighted in the video made by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Brian Byrnes, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the OKC Thunder, said when he walked in and saw the Ponca City table, he told his staff to highlight Ponca as it shows our statewide partnerships! We were happy to bring home a stack of great resumes to disseminate to our local industry and hopefully make some great hires. It all comes from a state wide team mentality. We are proud to put Oklahoma after our comma!
The one thing I kept hearing over and over again from the tables surrounding us was that "WE WILL TRAIN YOU!" Employers are looking for the skills that are not as apparent on a resume; Showing up on time every day, being able to communicate well, motivation to do a good job. This is what is hard to teach, but the skills needed to be a machinist, or to do aviation production, or construction, these skills are taught as long as the employee is trainable. Train-ability is key in the workforce!
The next time you are interviewing candidates for your positions, keep this in mind. Use new questions and scenarios in your interviews to find out more about their less obvious, but possibly more important, skill sets. Your next golden hire may be inside a package you wouldn't have necessarily thought was skilled enough. Experience may not be what you're needing, you probably just need that GREAT someone that is open to YOUR training!
Ponca Works is hosting a table at the “Hiring Our Heroes” job fair in Oklahoma City next week. Recruiting for our current wealth producing industries is an aspect of the Ponca Works program that offers immediate results and therefore makes for happy statistics (unlike the future workforce that takes years to see the results of our efforts!) There are many job fairs that we attend through out the year, but the veteran events are our favorite for many reasons. One of them being that the connections that are made between Ponca City industry and these valuable members of the workforce are generally lasting and productive.
Veterans have many valueable qualities that make them desirable team members. When your company has a clear vision, the job has a defined outline and expectations and the organization as a whole operates cohesively, that is the ideal place for these candidates. Beyond the specialized skills that an individual can gain from time in the service, veterans share other qualities that we will define here for you:
Since 2008, when our skilled jobs increased in number over the amount of skilled workers that we have to fill them, employers have had to get creative about their workforce needs. The manufacturing industry, especially, has been hit by this issue that is lovingly called the 'Skills Gap.'
Leading corporations from around the country have started apprenticeship programs to train up our next generation of skilled workers. Yamaha just announced their plans to invest heavily in their Marine University, which they will amp up their hands on training programs for technicians (http://bit.ly/2D6ZkW7.) The Governor of Rhode Island, Gina Raimond, shared some of her agenda items from the last 2 years to get Rhode Island out of their slump on Freakonomics Podcast this week (http://bit.ly/2AQFDeX.) She spoke about their workforce development efforts which include free community college, and alignment between high schools and industry. Because of these state wide efforts more then 10 new industries have moved into the state.
These are just a few of the national stories that I've heard this week on the skills gap. It's a real issue that is effecting us, even here in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Our local efforts shouldn't be minimized. MJ&H fabrications owner, Gary Harvey, spends time each week at our local technology center watching and quizzing the welding students. He started a program that we hope to see grow in 2018, called Weld to Work, that will give full time jobs to the top 3 competitors. The Ponca City High School has begun an internship program this year where 25 of our local seniors are working for local industry 2 hours per school day this trimester. Ponca Work's program, Careers and Cookies, put 75 high school students in touch with local employers last year for interview training and job shadowing. The program is on track to grow this year as well!
For all the good we are doing, we are also aware that there is still more to do. Apprenticeships are in low volume in our area, and our state for that matter! Let's work together to find solutions to our workforce needs.
The new year always brings thoughts of change, lists of things we need to improve on, checking off what we did last year only to realize we didn't even meet half of our goals. While talking to a good friend this week they told me their strategy is incremental change over the larger emphasis on big changes now. That's a good thought, what if we all just picked away at our needed improvements, and gradually over time created change that would last? Would it change our behavior in a longer lasting way?
While I haven't completely given up on resolutions, and the momentum that the new year brings, I have changed my thought process in the scale of my resolutions. To keep me on top of them and tracking I've started using a few new sites/apps that I want to share!
The first is Trello, a to-do list tracker on steroids! Being able to keep up with multiple projects in the same application keeps me on task with it all. There are to do lists with the ability to chop away at the little things that make the big headline come to fruition. I'm loving it so far, the web browser version and the app make it easy to track from anywhere. My advice is to take your time with setting up your lists!
The next one is a new application for posting and tracking job applicants, it's called Jazz HR. The technology posts on free job boards all over the internet with the option for paid ads, as well as allowing me to have a current and easy application on my own website! I can set up users that allow my clients to see their own job posting and those that have applied. It's a great tracking tool to see who we have hired and it helps with the interview and on-boarding process as well!
If you're an employer in the Ponca City area, contact me about listing your jobs for you. Ponca Works wants to help you find the best employees the area has to offer. These tools are going to keep us growing here, to help you to continue to grow as well. Cheers to 2018!
Recruiting employees, good employees, to work for you is one of the main topics when speaking with employers. Marketing is in my background, and this week as my focus has been on resume sifting, I've drawn some parallels between the two.
In marketing, creating a brand people can recognize, respect, and crave is the ultimate goal. As a recruiting tool, making your work environment your brand will draw people to you. Being the employer people want to work for goes beyond the pay package and benefits, although those do help! It comes down to the environment your company creates, the feeling that you care about your employees for more than just what they can do for you. It's about the intangibles of creating a family type of atmosphere, making good teams of people that work well together, keeping positive motivation pulsing through your organization. Create meaning in your organization, a deeper meaning of why it is you all do what you do, or if that's not possible, then create a way to give back through the company. Show these things as you create you brand, write press releases about what your company does for its community, post pictures on your social media of the fun your employees have together, and most of all make it memorable for your current employees so that the word of mouth spreads. You'll be a desirable employer in no time. For more tips and tricks call me at Ponca Works!
Why: The story I have heard over, and over again from employers is about the younger generation of workforce they are working with. How hard it is to get them off their phones. How hard it is to motivate them. How much the work ethic has changed with the generational differences. The stories are extensive and disturbing. The data is also disturbing as a skills gap plagues America and companies struggle to find the workforce they need to produce their products here.
What: The Ponca Works Ambassador program would take your young promising employee, maybe the one you see a lot of yourself in when you were young, and teach them to tell your story. The story of your company, the story of how you got started, the story of how you’ve lasted, the story of what you make and why you work so hard to do it. Then we will take these young, engaging and prepared story tellers and allow them to tell your narrative to local students. These students will be able to see themselves in the young employees, they will be able to imagine working for you, they will understand what you look for and why they need to think about their future now. It will help them to prepare to be a committed part of the workforce that is before them. It will help to inspire them to work towards the skills that will increase your business.
When: The beginning of 2018 Ponca Works will be hosting a lunch for you (the CEO, president, owner, loudest voice) with your little counterpart. We will explain this program more in depth, lead you through some exercises to help you begin to craft your story together, and then we will continue to work with your ambassador with the guidelines you’ve created together!
Call Ponca Works if you’d like to be involved with this program!
During the month of October, as we celebrate all that manufacturing brings to our community, we are highlighting some of the great people who do the manufacturing work. These are our Ponca City’s Faces of Manufacturing. From the owners/CEOs who sweat blood and stay up nights to think about workforce and product lines, to the supervisors who develop their team to be as efficient as possible, to the line worker who gains pride in the product that they create with their hands and skills. To quote Rikki Cole from MJ&H, “Without welding we won’t have much.” If you look around you right now, the chair you’re sitting in, the computer you’re reading this on, the building you’re in, the heat and air system keeping you comfortable – without manufacturing we would live in a drastically different world. This is the message that Manufacturing Day was created to communicate to our young generations. Giving skin to the manufacturing world paints a picture that people understand. Please follow Ponca Works on Facebook, like and share these posts that celebrate our local people. Give them props for making our world go round!
Our beloved governor has tasked us, all of Oklahoma, with increasing education level attainments within our workforce. This would mean raising our post-secondary education levels to 70% of the working population by 2025. We are currently at just a little over 40%. This is a large task. This is an even larger task when you consider that education is being defunded in our state. How do we fill these gaps in education to get the skilled workforce that we need? One answer Ponca Works has been hashing out with others in the state is how to make apprenticeships easier, more available and motivate people to participate in them. Do any of your companies offer apprenticeship programs? How has it worked for you? Are any of you willing to try? Call Ponca Works at 765-7070 to participate in this discussion.
Ponca Works director Liz Leaming shares her musings on the state of workforce in Ponca City, Oklahoma.