April 3, 2017

New York, New York, It’s a Heck of a Town

By Paul Bieber

Right now I am on the 53rd floor of a hotel, overlooking Central Park, the New York skyline and more glass buildings than anyone can imagine. How did I get here? Here is the story.

This started on Thursday at Glass Expo Northeast™ on Long Island. The busiest glass event on the East Coast this year. Great exhibitors, excellent speakers (yes, I was one of the speakers!), many vendors and, most importantly, glass industry professionals who came to learn through hands-on demonstrations and asking questions of the numerous vendors.

The most common topic: how to hire good workers. There is definitely a shortage of good workers. The word “good” is the key. There are people who want to work, but don’t have any experience; there are people who have experience, but some how have worked for ten companies in the last 15 years. 

I am betting that just about every one of my readers has the same problem. What to do? Reach out to the technical high schools and community colleges. Hire promising students upon graduation. Go to the job fairs these institutions set up. Be clear on the job description so possible employees know what is expected. Give good training. Don’t expect a rookie to be proficient for a couple of months. Make sure each employee has a mentor, even if it is you. Give solid feedback to the new employee, using teaching moments to improve the new hire and your company. Listen to the questions that are asked and give answers that fit the situation.

Retain your new and current employees. Here is how: create and maintain an environment where your employees want to stay with you and your company.  The most important point, share your company’s goals and plans for the next month, the next year and the next three years; give excellent benefits and a fair wage for the times we are in. This will save you the most money, even though it sounds like it will cost you more. A new employee costs you money. Build a blend of experienced hands and the occasional new hire to balance your work force.

So after the glass expo, my wife, Elaine and I came into New York City; our daughter and her husband life here, and it was Elaine’s birthday. We have had a wonderful weekend, and that is how I am now 53 stories in the air. Wow!