Experience is no indicator of character, teamwork or productivity - or loyalty for that matter. Experience also doesn't address one's willingness to learn new things, to adapt and to lend a hand to help others when they need it. A great resume is no indicator of safety consciousness.
In fact, here's the order you should be considering your candidates in if you want to ensure that they are more likely to choose to be safe on the job:
- Character first.
- Experience second.
- Schooling, third and last.
Character = Engagement
You don't see engaged workers without character. Engaged workers are conscious of their surroundings and are conscientious about the contribution they make and take pride in the work they do.
3-Part Plan To Hire Better Safety Performers:
1 Pull your Help-Wanted ads off the market. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it's not. It's strategic.Your ad is attracting people who were not bothering to seek employment with you prior to any openings you might be advertising. They responded only because you posted an ad. In a tight labor market, you can afford to be picky about who you hire so look to the list of people who applied to you BEFORE you advertised the job. They are the real self-starters. Once you sift through the old applications, if nothing of quality comes up (character - not experience), then reconsider posting the ad, but in a different way (outlined in next step).
2 Hire for time-limited projects. Most unemployed job-seekers are happy to participate in full-paying short-term projects to keep their skills sharp and you don't have to worry about keeping a dud down the road. In addition, most young workers are looking for a culture-fit more than a job. This way, you get the chance to test-drive the employee and they get the chance to test-drive you. If it doesn't work out, you're not stuck with each other. If you find a good one, make them a serious offer. Consider this a training-camp try-out. You may want to keep some, move others and some simply won't work out and you will not renew their term-employment.
3 Put metrics on the short-term position. Ensure that there is a benchmark to start and goals/targets that must be met. Advertise that they are term-positions with a possibility of extending the term at the end of the contract. Give people an opportunity to show their character, their diligence and their aptitude. People have the tendency to put their best effort forward when they are competing for a job - especially when they know they are being judged. People are normally competitive and compete for the job - while at the same time, setting a precedent for their performance - a standard to which they will be measured in future.
Some will rise to the occasion. Some won't bother. Some will shine. Some will fail. Some will stay. Some will leave. Those that stay will do so because they want to. Those that leave will do so with more work experience.
Look For Character
This strategy sets you up to choose the best candidate based on character, aptitude, courtesy, diligence, safety and teamwork - all of the things you want in a really good, loyal employee who won't jump ship the moment something better comes along. This strategy also levels the playing field for young workers without a lot of experience - people you may keep for a long time.
You can't tell anything about character and values from a resume or an interview. You learn about your employees while they are working on the job. You are looking for a long-term fit instead of a short-term hire. People of character take pride in their work. People with pride are not careless. That means they are less likely to be involved in a workplace incident. If you want to hire a better safety performer, look for character. Character is leadership.
I talk a lot about personal leadership and accountability in safety in my safety speaking presentations. If you'd like to explore how that message could be integrated in your workplace, feel free to call or email. Let's talk. Meanwhile, if you're considering hiring an outside resource for your next safety meeting, download the e-book below.