Boating Industry

November 2016

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Page 21 of 51 22 | Boating Industry | November 2016 ANY ORGANIZATION WORTH ITS SALT will tell you its greatest asset is its people. As such, the hiring and retaining on quality employees should be a business's No. 1 concern. The boating industry isn't unaware of the need to hire quality employees – if anything, the in- dustry is hyper aware. But what is the secret to fi nding the right people, and making sure they stay? It's not an easy task, and in many cases it isn't cheap; it takes a signifi cant investment of time and money. But if you want your business to survive, you need to invest in your people. A new approach to hiring practices When it comes to hiring, employers need to look beyond the skillset of the candidate and start looking for human qualities fi rst. Will these employees fi t into the culture of your business? Will they work hard and believe in the mission of the company? Will they be an enjoyable co-worker? While there are obviously several advantages to hiring based on experience – a smaller learning curve, less training required – having an employee with a good attitude, good personality and who is a seamless fi t into the existing team carries a lot of weight when it comes to fi nding long-term hires. "We really start more with the actual person as a person, then as an employee with the experi- ence or skills set they bring to the table. We're big believers that if you have good people, you'll be successful and they'll be able to learn any sort of skills or knowledge that are required. Sometimes we hire people … that don't necessarily have a lot of experience specifi cally in the fi eld, position or role that we hired them for," said Jamie Dewar, general manager of Legend Boats. At Legends Boats, employees undergo a multi-step screening and interview process, which doesn't cover the skills and experience necessary for the job until the very end. Once the employee is hired, the company conducts a full orientation for the new person on the fi rst day, as well as How to fi nd (and keep) good employees months of training and mentoring. Another option for employers is hold- ing "casting calls" to show job seekers what the business is about, what job opportuni- ties exist within the company and conduct some hands-on training. Legend Boats did this after hearing about it during a Sam Dantzler-led session at the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, and 70 possible ap- plicants attended. The company is always looking for employees, even when posi- tions aren't currently available, so that there is an existing pool of options when an op- portunity arises. One recent hire at Legend Boats, a parts manager, was interviewed a year prior, when a role wasn't available. He was a good cultural fi t so the dealership called when the position opened. "If someone did leave where we open up a new position or we're expanding, we don't wait until that point to try and hire and then rush into it," said Dewar. "You don't want to necessarily be in a position where you need to hire someone because you're in a diffi cult, time-sensitive position. You want to have the fl exibility to fi nd the perfect person [and not] settle." For marine businesses that would rather hire skilled labor from the fi rst, cultivating relationships with local educational insti- tutions is paramount. According to CEO Terry McNew, MasterCraft builds relation- ships with local universities, which allows the company to identify future graduates who would fi t in the company's open posi- tions in engineering and more. Dealerships and marinas should be cultivating relation- ships with local high schools, trade schools – particularly marine trade schools – and universities to help fi nd employees and keep a career in boating top of mind with educa- tional institutions. How to make them stay "At the end of the day, the thing we repeat here often to our entire team is that you spend more time with the people that you work with than your own family, if you ig- nore sleep time, so you want to be around people that you like being around. You want to have fun, you want to enjoy what you do," said Dewar. BY BRIANNA LIESTMAN

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