The propane industry’s aging workforce remained an issue of concern among propane retailers during the NPGA Southeastern Convention & International Propane Expo in Nashville, Tennessee.
To help address these concerns, three members of the National Propane Gas Association’s (NPGA) workforce development task force hosted an educational session titled “Recruitment Development: Attracting New Employees to the Propane Industry” at the show. The task force members shared their insights on hiring trends and best practices in front of dozens of retailers at the show.
Alex Gresham, director of human development at Blossman Gas and a member of the task force, focused on best practices when integrating new hires to a company today. Whether an operation is looking to hire a baby boomer, a Gen Xer or a millennial, Gresham says to consider the following four steps to have success in integrating a new hire to the team:
–Orientation plan: Perform an internal review of your orientation plan before integrating a new hire. The orientation needs to make sense for new hires from any generation. If the setup of the orientation seems out of date or too confusing, that will be apparent to the new hire on day one. In addition, companies need to make sure equipment to be used by the new hires is in good condition before they arrive, Gresham adds.
–Initial training weeks: Plan to provide new hires with training the first one to four weeks on the job, Gresham says. He recommends companies provide training on the company’s history, the propane industry in general and safety training. This time period could also include sending new hires to CETP training courses.
–Mentorship: Provide new hires with a mentor to help guide them in their new position. Gresham recommends selecting this person before the new hire joins the team and make sure the mentor engages with the new hire on day one, if not before then. “Whether you’re a single-location marketer or a multi-location marketer, there are folks at your company who could probably serve as a mentor,” he adds. “Find people who are patient and communicate well to serve as mentors, and ask them to engage with the new hire on day one to pass along knowledge to the new hire.”
–Offer performance feedback: After a new hire’s first 60 to 120 days of work, share feedback on his performance. Gresham advises performing reviews annually, as well, to help the employee to grow. “We do annual reviews at Blossman Gas,” he says. “Sometimes if you don’t plan for these reviews, you might get busy and neglect to do them. But these help to let the employee know how they are progressing.” In addition, Gresham recommends companies offer employees ongoing development resources, such as the Propane Education & Research Council’s blended learning courses.
“Make sure they have continued development,” he adds. “If that person is working and feels like they’ve got nothing more to learn, the job could start to feel stale for them.”