The “WBM Way” – Fresh Approaches to the Challenges of Staffing by Byron Klassen
Groom From Within + Growth From Within = Success!
I was recently asked about a new hire on our Services Team, and my response highlighted a few ways which we are approaching things like HR in our Service Department a little differently here at WBM… or, really, doing things the “WBM way”. Let me explain:
In the past we would hire for a specific need anytime a position would arise. This is simply what most organizations do. If we needed a field technician, we would post for that specific position and hire the most qualified individual to fill that role. This is obviously the most logical and time-tested way of finding talent. Some of our most accomplished team members came to us through this process. People like Jason Weston, our Deployment Team Manager, came to us in this exact manner.
However, one of the drawbacks that we found more recently is that people were coming to us with more “baggage”. Re-training these new hires to do things the “WBM way” was becoming increasingly difficult, and our employee turnover rate was rising. Essentially, people were coming to us with their pre-programmed ways of doing things, and it was increasingly more difficult to unwind these sometimes bad habits.
What we did to combat this culture clash, and under the leadership of Jason Weston, was to begin looking more from within by training and promoting our Deployment Technicians and Warehouse staff to Field Technicians. This meant that we needed to spend more time investing and training our so-called “junior” staff, but the results proved to be phenomenal. In fact, the results have become so successful that we’ve now systemized it into our hiring methodology.
We now actively look for and recruit “junior” IT people or staff to work in our Deployment Team or Warehouse areas, and promote them after they have spent some time at the job and absorbed our culture. As this staff expresses interest to move to more senior field technical roles in the organization, we train them and promote them internally.
It requires more investment in training, systems, and quite frankly, more money (and budget) in the short term, but the long term results seem to be paying back in spades.
A brief example of this is Rob Hamelin, now a Field Technician, out of our Vancouver offices. Rob was recently promoted to Field Technician from his role as Warehouse Assistant and Deployment Specialist. He now maintains one of the highest approval ratings of all our Field Technicians across the entire organization based on survey results received from our customers. And this isn’t unique to Rob. All of our ‘hires from within’ routinely out-perform the field in our survey results.
Why is this? We believe it is because they understand the culture first. After this fundamental understanding is absorbed and ‘wired’ into their being, the technical aspects are trained in second. And that really is the “WBM way” – invest in people, think outside the box, build great solutions (and people!).
Yes, that definitely sounds like the “WBM way” to me.