Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Bring 'Em On and Keep 'Em On

Thinking of committing corporate piracy?

(from the December Editor's Note of AsphaltPro Magazine)

Or grabbing up an employee from a neighboring company? The company doesn't necessarily have to be a competitor. Let's say the lure of doing your own mix design testing instead of incurring that expense on every project has finally gotten the best of you. The local lab design group isn't your competitor, but they've got this A+ mix design tech that you want on your team. When he's on the phone telling you what you need to get the PG70-28 to work with the size aggregate your supplier wants to sell you and you subtly suggest he could make $5 grand more per year working in your lab, well, that's not exactly playing fair with his boss, now is it? It's not in keeping with the holiday season.

Let's say you manage the local quarry and you want to hire a crusher operator. Whatever your need, finding quality help isn't always easy. You might not have a high salary budgeted into the plan to draw the kind of talent your competitors have. That could work in your favor when it comes to bidding projects because your overhead isn't as high, but you want workers who produce a quality project for you and bring you in under bid and on spec.

Good workers are out there, and not just because a nearby professional didn't have the benefits package or high-dollar salary structure in place to retain them. Short of sneaking over to a night project and asking the paver operator if he'd rather work at your company, consider lurking at one of the many training venues where smart, career-oriented workers are hanging out. Staff at the Tennessee Department of Transportation's Division of Materials and Tests finished conducting asphalt roadway certification courses in Chattanooga Dec. 18 through 20 in Knoxville. The course cost the attendee $180 and certified him for five years. Now, while most folks attend such things already employed, career-minded workers will attend to get educated for a future job. I know a fellow right now who's taking $3,000 worth of courses in Florida to become a truck operator. Think of how qualified and safe this driver is going to be when he's done. A company would be nuts not to grab up someone willing to invest in himself, and thus his future employer, like that.

Tennessee and Florida aren't the only states offering such opportunities. It happens everywhere. The Mississippi Asphalt Pavement Association (MAPA) is offering a course Jan. 7 through 11 for mix design technicians. The Texas Asphalt Pavement Association (TxAPA) has a Level 1A course this January for $1,000 that trains and certifies a person in plant production. Visit www.txhotmix.org to get information about it or their courses for an HMA roadway specialist or mix design specialist.

Now, if you find someone who took a course in preparation for a job in HMA production or laydown, you can bet they'll expect a higher salary than will the fellows you get at the day labor stop. They're going to be well-versed in your business, and you won't have to explain (in another language) what the "pinching the joint" is when you bring one of them out to the site. Is it a fair trade? Of course it is. You get what you pay for, especially in employees. And once you've paid for him, you want to keep him.

Consider that an employee who took a course or two prior to coming to work for you is probably interested in remaining "in the know" as new technology comes into the picture. When an equipment manufacturer comes in to demonstrate a new product, this employee is going to be interested. Don't block him out. Remember that on-the-job training is a chance not just to advance an employee into more advantageous roles within your company; it's a chance to show your appreciation for the job he's doing. As utilitarian as this is going to sound, it's also your chance to get more production out of him. Employers in any industry would do well to factor such perks into a new employee's benefits package. And hang on tight.

This is a pretty hot topic for managers and owners, and it's a good one to share ideas about. You can write your thoughts to me at sandy at theasphaltpro dot com, and I'd be happy to pass those ideas along to other readers, or you can speak directly in a forum environment right here.

Stay safe and have a Merry Christmas,
Sandy Lender, Editor of AsphaltPro Magazine

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Rules of Posting on The Asphalt Forum

The only rules the sponsors of The Asphalt Forum wish to impose are those that will make this forum a friendly and welcoming place to visit to share information with one another. Any posted comments that include rude or inappropriate comments will be deleted. Any posted comments that include blatant advertisements will also be deleted.

1. Be kind and courteous in your language and sharing of information.
2. Be aware of the promotional language you might be using in your commentary so that it doesn't get deleted.

Folks wishing to advertise have two opportunities to do so with the template that this site offers, and can contact Sally Shoemaker, the advertising representative for AsphaltPro magazine (quickly) to discuss those and their potentially rotating nature. (Sally's e-mail is sally at theasphaltpro dot com.) Otherwise, this site is a great place to meet and share ideas for improving your business, safety, production, environmental practices, permitting efforts, etc.

Welcome to The Asphalt Forum!
I look forward to cyber-chatting with all of you,
Sandy Lender

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How to Post Comments on The Asphalt Forum

To post comments on The Asphalt Forum you will need to have a Blogger account/identification. To get Blogger identification, you need an e-mail address through either Yahoo or Google mail. These are both free services.

Once you set up your free e-mail account and Blogger ID, posting a comment on this blog will be as simple as reading the post you're interested in and clicking on the "comments" link beneath it. Just make sure you hit the word "comments" directly beneath the article/post you're interested in or you'll end up commenting on something completely different.

Keep in mind that any comment you post will be public record and "findable" by search engines. If you wish to post with your real name, which the publishers of AsphaltPro Magazine encourage, just remember to keep your comments professional and courteous at all times so you've nothing to regret in the future.

Welcome to The Asphalt Forum,
Sandy Lender

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