03 Jun Establishing a New Corporate Identity
I have been recruiting in the civil engineering profession for over 22 years. Over the course of those two decades, as you can imagine, I have worked with a number of really. bad. clients.
I can deal with chasing down invoices, chasing down feedback, and procedural frustrations when it comes to the recruiting process.
But working with clients who have piss poor reputations, well, that can be a gut-wrenching waste of time.
“Good ol’ boy network”
“More interested in getting work out then getting it right.”
“They staff up, then staff down”
These are some of the typical “word on the street” type reputations that prevent companies from hiring the cream of the crop candidates.
As a consultant, I feel it is my obligation to inform my clients of any of these types of reputational obstacles that are limiting my ability to successfully recruit desirable candidates. Every so often a client will acknowledge their scarred reputation, and will talk to me about the plan they have in place to address those concerns and how they are evolving.
I have one such client right now that is a complete 180 of who they were 5-10 years ago. A decade ago I had tried to do some recruiting for them, but I was met with heavy resistance day-in-and-day-out from the local engineering candidate pool. They were known as a sweat shop. They were known as a great place for young engineers to train and sharpen their saw early in their careers, but beyond that there was no opportunity.
The reputation of the company was trickling from the top down, and they knew it.
It was time for change.
Five years ago they hired a new CEO from out of the state, and from an industry that was separate, but parallel to the civil engineering profession.
It took a few years for this executive to begin seeing the fruits of his labor. With a new vision and new leadership there was some natural attrition, and those who bought into the new company vision rose to the top.
The company diversified.
Attitudes changed. For the better.
The culture was greatly improved.
No more good ‘ol boy opportunities for advancement.
Opportunities for advancement rewarded rather to those who were dedicated an successful, without discrimination or favoritism.
The “churn-and-burn” mentality was replaced with continuous training and opportunities for advancement.
Slowly but surely, the local engineering community caught on. Rather than having access to only low-hanging fruit and second and third tier candidates, they began to successfully recruit AND retain “A” players.
This process took a good 3 years before it finally began to gain some traction.
The rubber has officially hit the road, and the firms whose ankles they were once biting, are now left in their wake.
I love success stories like this.
The market spoke.
The employee shareholders spoke.
Drastic action was taken.
Patience held firm.
Fruits of labor currently being enjoyed.
Food for thought.
Thanks for reading.