Get creative to recruit and train ‘internal customers’

Posted on Aug 31, 2016 :: Editor’s Insights
Margaret LeBrun
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Never mind the calendar, the “real” start to the new year is in the fall. Students head back to school, invitations to business events pop up and of course, the Pack is back.

At Bassett Mechanical, the fiscal year starts Oct. 1. As the company concludes its 80th year in business, it plans to start with a fresh motto for 2017: The Year of the Customer.

It may sound obvious for the Kaukauna-based company whose tagline for years has been, “We Answer to You.” Not to CEO Kim Bassett.

“We need to do more of what we’re doing and do it even better,” Bassett says in this month’s cover story by Nikki Kallio. It’s a competitive world out there, she says, and finding ways to do more business with current customers is one of the best ways to continue growing.

Another way is by treating your associates, or employees, as “internal customers,” making sure they have all the tools, training and rewards that motivate them to do their best, she adds.

“You have an internal customer and an external customer and both are just as important. You need to take care of both.”

As with many companies in this economic upswing, hiring the right people has become a challenge for Bassett. To that end, the company is launching its own internal training program for key positions that require technical skills. It’s a three-year curriculum to train current or new associates in the ammonia and refrigeration aspects of the company — critical components for a business that specializes in the manufacturing of industrial refrigeration units, HVAC and ventilation systems.

Attracting and retaining talent is also on the mind of Bill Bohn, executive chairman of Associated Financial Group, this month’s Face Time subject. As a member of the New North Board of Directors, he’s been working with other regional leaders to highlight the positive attributes of working in Northeast Wisconsin and to find new ways to appeal to recent graduates.

“When I talk to young professional groups, I tell them to keep a broad perspective, to consider the cost of living and quality of life we have here — that’s where Northeast Wisconsin shines,” Bohn says.

An innovative approach to recruiting talent is inbound marketing — creative content, delivered in creative ways, that draws people to you. In “Priming the pipeline,” page 33, hiring managers talk about how they’ve created content that vividly shows prospective job candidates what makes their companies great places to work. Some have had luck attracting talent with videos.

Weidert Group, an early adopter of inbound marketing principles, is publishing guidelines for inbound recruiting. “It’s a 24/7/365 relationship you build with candidates,” says Weidert Group President Greg Linnemanstons.

Developing talent is part of the attract-and-retain continuum. To help fill a need for science, technology, engineering and math teachers, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has paved the way for professionals with experience in STEM careers to obtain teaching licenses in an 18-month curriculum. The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and the two-year UW campuses in the region are already finding success. Turn to page 36 for more.

Even the NBA needs training programs. This month, we should find out whether Oshkosh, Sheboygan or Racine is the winner of the bid to host the Milwaukee Bucks D-League franchise. Check out our story on page 12 to see how each might score.

Entrepreneurs, too, need training. In Northeast Wisconsin, a lot of people with great business ideas find challenges seeing them to financial fruition.

This is where Launch Wisconsin comes in. Insight is a media sponsor of the Oct. 12 event at Lambeau Field Atrium, and if it’s anything like it was last year, it’s an event you won’t want to miss. Check out “Let’s get it started in here” on page 40 and mark it down on your calendar.

I hope to see you there!

Margaret LeBrun

About Margaret LeBrun

Co-Publisher, Executive Editor View all posts by Margaret LeBrun →