Transmission from the Top: Ready, Set, Hire!

By Ben Keck, Regional Manager

As some of you may have heard, CNUC has recently experienced a substantial amount of growth. We began 2019 with approximately 200 employees and within a few months’ time have grown to just under 300 employees. Statistics aren’t my strong suit, but I think that’s about 50% employee growth just within the last few months – and 2019 has only just begun. This much growth is great for our company, but also has its fair share of challenges and heartaches.

A few of our new contracts need at least 35 to 40 employees in order to keep up with the current workload. Those who have worked in this industry long enough know that finding that many people in such a short amount of time can be challenging. Or let me rephrase that, finding that many dependable and quality candidates in such a short amount of time can be challenging. During the last few months, our management and human resources teams have prescreened hundreds of candidates and have held countless phone and face-to-face interviews in order to fill our staffing needs on our new contracts.

If finding and hiring dependable and quality candidates is the first challenge, procuring the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), small tools and vehicles that our employees need to effectively perform their jobs is the second challenge. We do not normally keep a lot of extra equipment, vehicles or PPE on hand and try to wait until after a contract has been signed before we purchase those items in order to ensure we do not purchase more than we need. Once a contract is officially signed, our management team and fleet department begin the process of ordering and procuring the necessary vehicles and equipment for the contract.

Lastly, organizing and implementing a mass employee orientation and onboarding with new hires can be a huge challenge for multiple reasons. Most of the offices CNUC shares with utilities don’t have the space to accommodate a large number of employees for a one- or two-day orientation and onboarding, so the next best option is to find a hotel conference center that has adequate space and parking. We have a standard onboarding agenda and training item checklist for new hires, however it can be difficult to facilitate learning with a large number of people. Everyone works and learns at their own pace, so helping everyone complete each training item or task and finish at the same time can be difficult. Personally, I have to read or listen to something at least three times before it takes hold in my brain. So, if you’re like me, then you will have to read this article at least two more times (and for that, I apologize).

I could go on about the challenges of hiring, obtaining equipment and onboarding, but instead I’d like to give you two tips on how to get through these challenges: Firstly, surround yourself with people that challenge you to be a better person and push for continual improvement. And second, don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. I used to be the type of person that tried to do everything on my own and would often become overwhelmed, but now I’m learning that in order to be successful I can’t be afraid to ask for help. Through all of this recent growth within CNUC, I’ve been lucky enough to have an amazing team of people that continually inspire me to improve and are always willing to help. I would not be successful without them.