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Published on June 25th, 2015 | by AberdeenMagazine

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Recruitment, Retention and Growth

Five hiring practices of Aberdeen’s top employers

For any organization, hiring the right people is crucial, but for Aberdeen businesses, finding the right person for a key professional position often presents its own unique set of challenges. We asked human resource and management professionals from 3M, Avera St. Luke’s, Sanford Aberdeen, Midstates Printing and Kessler’s to share some of the expertise and hiring practices that have helped them become both some of the largest employers and the best places to work in Aberdeen.

Getting started: Know what you’re looking for.

Successful employers stress the importance of finding employees who share your company’s values. Having the right skills for a job doesn’t mean they are the right fit for your organization.

At Midstates Printing, for instance, founding owner Roger Feickert believes in doing whatever is necessary to help their clients. According to HR Director Amy Jones, their company culture requires a lot of thinking outside the box. When hiring, she looks for people who are flexible, like to learn, and are adaptable to change.

Recruitment: Be creative.

Newspaper ads, classifieds, and online job postings are often effective when recruiting new hires, but for certain types of positions, finding local talent can be a challenge. That’s why Avera St. Luke’s looks for a suitable candidate among their current staff.

According to Tracy Olson, Human Resources Officer at Avera St. Luke’s, their organization has a strong employee development program designed to groom the next generation of leaders from within, as well as an aggressive internship program to fill entry-level positions.

Another effective strategy is asking your employees to recommend someone. “Employee referrals are probably the best tools for recruiting” says Kelly Comstock, Director of Team Development at Kessler’s.

Social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook are also effective recruiting tools. “More and more individuals are going to social media outlets to find jobs and learn about careers,” says Jennifer Black, Human Resource Manager at 3M.

Sometimes you just need to experiment and find out what works for your business. “You really can’t be afraid to go outside of normal hiring processes and try new creative strategies,” says Katie Palmer at Sanford Medical Center.

Hiring: Take time to ensure a good fit.

Hiring someone quickly based on an immediate need or a great first impression can be a recipe for disaster. Successful companies have a thorough process they follow to ensure a candidate is a good fit for the position and the organization.

Midstates Printing and Avera St. Luke’s both stressed the importance of asking candidates behavioral questions during the interview, such as how someone would respond to a given situation, or how they have dealt with situations in the past. Midstates Printing has found pre-hire personality assessments such as Caliper to be very helpful as well. These assessments use personality analysis to help determine whether someone will be a good fit for a position with your organization.

Retention: Help your employees connect and grow.

One key to retaining your best people is to help employees connect with the company’s vision and culture. Avera St. Luke’s is an example of a company whose president continually incorporates its faith-based mission into how he leads the organization. “People feel they are a part of something bigger than themselves.” says Tracy Olson.

It’s also critical that your employees have everything they need to be successful. At Midstates, the recruiter does regular check-ins with new employees to make sure they have adequate tools, support and training.

“Training is something we’ve invested a lot of time and resources in the last few years,” says HR Director Amy Jones. “Making sure employees have the proper training to do their job is critical for success.”

Growth: Invest in the community.

These Aberdeen employers all share the belief that their success is tied directly to the success of the community as a whole. They take pride in providing great jobs and bringing new families to Aberdeen. They donate to community organizations, and encourage their employees to get involved as well.

Amy Jones at Midstates Printing, sums it up well. “Having happy employees and a good strong healthy company benefits the community. By supporting strong, happy families, it enables us to give back to the community.”


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  • Issue: May/June 2015

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