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The Welsh Wire: Talent Attraction and Retention Tips

Talent attraction and retention remains a major challenge for businesses large and small. Here are tips and advice from recent guests on The Welsh Wire podcast.
When Webb Chemical Service Corporation, a full-service chemical distributor with locations in Muskegon Heights, Michigan and Fort Wayne, Indiana, began facing the challenges of rapid growth and a changing culture, they called in the expertise of business consulting company DISHER in Zeeland, Michigan.

DISHER worked closely with Webb’s leaders to develop a culture vision that all their employees can buy into. “Every employee meeting, every departmental meeting, every picnic, every Christmas party, we bring up some piece of it, we talk about it,” says Brad Hilleary, owner/CEO of Webb.

Culture is a crucial part of talent attraction, Hilleary says. “Millennials, if you ask them, or allow them to ask a question in the interview, they will say, what’s your culture? It’s very, very, very important to them. And so we do culture on purpose now and we talk about it and we invite others to add it. Our culture is ever evolving because we want the creativity and the new ideas from the new folks to be part of the core of who we are.”

Most businesses in Michigan offer some level of  health insurance coverage if they want to recruit and retain quality employees. But few go so far as Schupan & Sons in Kalamazoo, which provides its workers with an onsite health center.

“Retention plays a lot into this. You know  there’s no one silver bullet to retain an employee. People want to go to a place that they actually enjoy going to work. We’ve really worked hard over the years to have a fun environment,” according to John Barry, president of Schupan Aluminum & Plastic Sales, a division of Schupan & Sons. “The goal really was to have happier employees, have better access to care. The disease prevention portion of it was really was really big for us, just because we knew that with the length of the [healthcare] appointments and all the different things that they’d be able to talk about, hopefully you can catch something that maybe it wouldn’t have before.”

Miniature Custom Manufacturing of Vicksburg has grown from a single employee in 2007 to over 75 employees today. The plastic injection molding firm specializes in automotive, food packaging and medical, and was recently recognized as a member of the 2019 Michigan 50 Companies to Watch.

“People say sales are the lifeblood of an organization,” says Kevin Murphy, president and co-owner.  “I agree with that. But right behind it is your culture, because without a strong culture, you’re going to turn people over.”

In these tight labor markets, turnover can be deadly to business success. So, Murphy puts his people first. “We manage our business on three things: people first, quality second, production third. I believe in the golden rule. You do unto others what you want others to do to you. I never asked someone to do something that I wouldn’t do myself.”

Get great ideas on business success every week when Sheri Welsh talks with west Michigan’s best business leaders on The Welsh Wire podcast.

Listen to The Welsh Wire’s Talent Retention and Attraction Tips.

Subscribe to The Welsh Wire podcast on iTunes for additional informative, entertaining interviews with west Michigan business leaders.