Changing Hiring Tactics to Move Toward a Knowledge-Based Economy

In Construction Executive magazine, Patrick Smith, Deltek’s Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Communications, discusses hiring tactics for a growing knowledge-based economy.

Read the full article online or below.

Changing Hiring Tactics to Move Toward a Knowledge-Based Economy

By Patrick Smith

In today’s world, more information is created every day, new information dwarfs older information, competition comes from anywhere around the globe and employees’ expertise is more important than a company’s physical assets.

What separates the best companies from the rest of the pack is how they create, store and leverage their employees’ knowledge. But before that can happen, construction firms must determine how to find the right high-end talent that will set the organization apart from the competition, how to motive employees and how to use the talent effectively down the line.

Leveraging Unconventional Means to Find New Talent
More tools and techniques to find skilled workers exist now than ever before, mainly due to the Internet and the rise of social technologies. Gone are the days of relying on word of mouth or newspaper advertising to find candidates. Leveraging the Internet, especially professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, can help target people with the right backgrounds and casually reach out to them to gauge interest. LinkedIn is cost effective and has capabilities built for recruiters. Specialized online job sites, such as Construction Connection and C Search Inc., are worth pursuing as well, though some sites can be more expensive depending on the level of service required.

Another interesting place to find talent that is gaining traction is Facebook. Creative individuals use Facebook to find jobs and companies can use it to find talent. Many people showcase their current and past employment either by listing it in their profiles or liking company pages associated with past employers. Smart human resources executives can use this type of information to strategically place ads that only pop up for people with the right profile—even targeting employees of a specific company. According to a recent Nielsen report, social ads have 55 percent higher recall than non-social ads, so they may have a bigger impact.

Prioritizing Retention Efforts
Hiring the right talent is only one part of the equation. Companies must be committed to properly on-boarding employees to give them information about what to do in the near term (filling out paperwork, selecting health care plans, etc.) and to paint a clear picture of how they will grow in the long term.

A key part of on-boarding is maximizing the first day on the job, which usually involves an orientation. This day should be people-oriented and not just administrative. Demonstrate how each employee helps meet corporate objectives, talk about various available career paths, and highlight success stories of how people have grown and advanced inside the organization. This allows employees to be educated and motivated from the beginning and excited about embarking on a new career.

As employees become integrated into the organization, keep the communication flowing about performance and career growth, even if a new position or promotion is years away. The more invested employees are in their own success, the more it will benefit the organization as a whole down the line.

A common rallying cry and mission also can drive employee behavior. The best companies communicate how each employee fits into their overall mission.

Managing Knowledge
No machine or computer can replicate employee expertise—especially for firms that do a lot of engineering and design work. The trick is to make sure this knowledge is not just used in the course of work with customers, but also is stored and leveraged by the rest of the organization.

Technologies exist today—such as full knowledge management systems, social collaboration engines and CRM systems—that excel at collecting and communicating critical information among employees that can be used to increase company performance.

Architecture, engineering and construction firms respond to RFPs on a daily basis. Many companies spend a lot of time determining who should be on the job by chasing down the résumés of potential project team members. If résumés aren’t easily storable and searchable, it’s tough to identify the best resources that should be included on a proposal. Having up-to-date résumés in a central, searchable repository allows RFP responses to be thorough and on time.

Talent differentials among companies are more acute than ever, and people—not equipment or machines or natural resources—will be the scarce resources of tomorrow. Hiring the right knowledge worker and leveraging that person in the most optimal way can set a company apart.

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About Jon Bornstein

Jon Bornstein manages Deltek's marketing in the A&E industry across North America. His job is to ensure that firms understand the many ways they can drive business value using Deltek purpose-built solutions.
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