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OAK BROOK, Ill. — Synergy Solution Group hosted a People Forum on May 22-24th at The Drake Oak Brook Hotel in Oak Brook, Illinois for 25 members. The two-day session focused on how to recruit top talent, ways to build a great onboarding process, and the role that company culture and employee development programs play in fighting the great resignation.

Guest speaker Wyetta Ford.

TOUGH MARKET: Online HR Coach and Guest Speaker Wyetta Ford said the problem of recruitment isn’t just limited to the HVAC industry — it’s a tough market for everyone. (Courtesy of Synergy Solution Group)

Guest speaker Wyetta Ford, an online HR coach, kicked off the meeting with her workshop on how to review, reignite, and reinvent the recruiting process.

“The problem is not limited to the HVAC industry," said Ford. "It is generally a tough job market so we have to adjust and pivot."

Ford explained that there are no magic websites where hundreds of qualified candidates will find you, but instead we have to rethink our employee value proposition and figure out our employer branding.

"You have to be clear about what your employee value proposition is," said Ford. "Think about the benefits they can expect from working here and create a consistent message that uses visual story telling."

"Wyetta was awesome and I thought her presentation brought great conversations to our small table discussion," said Alexandra Medeiros of Cox Engineering.

After the workshop, attendees talked in small groups about their short term recruiting challenges, including the positions they need to fill immediately, resources they're using to find them, and how they're attracting people to their organizations.

To close out the morning Storer Services, Cox Engineering, and MSD shared a recruiting video that they had put together to attract talent in their local market.

"The videos gave me some great ideas for ways our company can market ourselves to candidates," said Justin Trowbridge of Pacific Rim Mechanical.

In the afternoon, attendees worked in small groups to come up with interview questions for a technician and a dispatcher that focused on culture and learning about who the candidate is and not their skill level. Some of the questions the group came up with were: “Talk about a time you helped someone else learn something,” “Talk about a time you didn't have an answer for a customer,” and “Tell me about someone who is better than you in an area that matters to you.”

The first day ended with Atomatic and Storer Services sharing what they do during the first 30 days of their onboarding process.

"We need to improve our onboarding process," said Hardy’s David Brown.  "There were some great ideas shared to give us a better starting point."

Tuesday started with MSD, Atomatic, and Prairie Mechanical sharing what they do to onboard beyond the first 30 days which included an interview at 60 days, a 90 day review, and a list of questions that help HR understand how the employee is feeling in their new role.

The last topic of the session was benefits, rewards, and recognition. Each table shared the unique benefits they are offering to employees, what they see new candidates looking for, and how they're promoting their benefits.  As a large group, attendees shared the creative things they're doing to recognize employees, such as Vital Mechanical Service, who has a Golden Pickle Award for employees who go above and beyond.

The session ended with each attendee writing down their action plan of what they want to implement and goals they will accomplish when they return home.

“All good stuff in each session,” said Stephanie MacKendree of Brooks Building Solutions. “The best part was getting new ideas and connecting with people who I can reach out to for help and ideas.”