Enough is Enough Maintenance and Reliability Hiring Managers!
by Joel Crawford, Vice President, Performance Consulting Associates (PCA)
Enough is Enough Maintenance and Reliability Hiring Managers! We know in the ideal world of finding your next maintenance team hire, you want the candidate to show job stability, and that you will not consider applicants that are “job hoppers”. Let’s jump back into the reality of the current state of the Maintenance and Reliability candidate pool.
First of all, maintenance has historically and consistently been looked at as a cost center for plants. When there is a reduction in force, the maintenance departments org structure and headcount is first to be looked at. This can happen to a job seeker not once in a career, but unfortunately maybe several times, pending the industry they have worked in.
The next real world fact that you are overlooking and forgetting is that these candidates are very passionate about what they do. They are the “firefighters” that keep assets running, they are the outside the box thinkers on understanding why equipment is failing, they not only understand the financial impact of equipment uptime, but also know the true value of asset availability. If they are not allowed to help push reliability thought leadership into the plant, and in many cases see constant roadblocks from the organization not investing in asset management “best practices”, they will seek opportunities that allow them to help build and sustain better maintenance practices. It is not that they are hesitant to work in a reliability “startup” culture, where it is still mostly reactive driven work, but the support and desire to want to drive towards proactive maintenance needs to be present.
“Old Guard” hiring managers are having a hard time understanding and also connecting with the current generational workforce changes. Many talented technicians, engineers, and managers are not looked at with the same standards as they should be, because their managers don’t understand the current needs and desires of the incoming workforce. If training curriculums, career development programs, and certification opportunities are not offered, they will find an organization that is investing back into their employees. It is consistently ranked as a “top benefit” for job seekers, and lacking these offerings simply will hurt corporation’s employee retention goals.
Maintenance and Reliability Leaders, before you start efforts on filling your next opening, take the time out and understand all the dynamics in today’s workforce on why good people leave jobs. There are plenty of opportunities for Maintenance and Reliability talent. Stop using the low unemployment rate and lack of available talent as an excuse on why your jobs are not getting filled, as in many cases if you want to understand why positions are open for so long and retention rates are historically low, then a look in the mirror might be the needed first step towards turning things around.