Employee Recruitment Problem Grows
Jun 1, 1998 12:00 PM
Finding and retaining employees for tank wash facilities grow more difficult as the unemployment rate continues to fall, said Ralph Nappi of Tank Wash Management Group at the National Tank Truck Carriers (NTTC) cleaning seminar April 6-7 in Nashville, Tennessee.
"Employment in the cleaning industry over the years has always been a problem," he said. "Working on the floor has never been a very desirable job. Now, the labor market has been depleted."
Computer jobs with more pleasant workplaces have lured many people who could obtain the required training. Even when applicants can be found and hired, stringent training must be provided before they can be put on the wash rack floor. Medical examinations in coordination with respirator use can also eliminate prospective employees, he said.
"When you hire someone, you still have to watch that person because of possible litigation tactics such as false charges of discrimination because of age, race, or sex," he said. "And most importantly, these are the people dealing with your customers, the most important thing you have."
He recommended that members of the NTTC Tank Cleaning Council group seek remedies. "If anyone can come up with a solution, it's you," he said. "We have to look at the tight labor market as a very crucial problem. It's not getting better. It's even getting worse as the unemployment rate drops and fewer people apply for jobs."
He suggested that employers contact civic and religious organizations for a list of prospective employees. "That seems to be a good source," he said. "I hired my whole container group after I got their names from a civic organization. They turned out to be some of the finest workers I've ever had."
Companies that specialize in employee recruitment can be a resource, he added.
Willem Barends, president of CargoTank USA Inc, said that hiring workers in the Netherlands also is difficult. A six-month training program is required after someone is hired. Although the $50,000 annual salary paid in the Netherlands is higher than for an employee in the United States doing similar work, he pointed out that Netherlands taxes and other expenses are greater. "They may end up with less net," he said.
Barends emphasized the importance of an employee's ability to interact positively with customers.
John Conley, NTTC vice-president, said employee rewards for injury-free days and equipment preservation may prove effective for retention. Incentives include monetary bonuses and public recognition. Company executives interacting with employees in the field can enhance their desire to stay on the job, because the interaction demonstrates the company's interest in the employee, he said.
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