Knowing When and How to Hire Additional Staff: A Q&A With BSCAI Past President Paul Greenland
Contributed by BSCAI
Whether your company is looking to grow, take on or complete larger projects, or is considering adding bench depth, knowing when to hire additional staff and how to go about hiring said staff is a key part to a successful and smooth-running business. Unfortunately, many building services contractors (BSCs) don’t realize additional staff is needed until it is too late.
To better understand when and how to hire additional staff, Building Services Contractors Association International (BSCAI) spoke with Paul Greenland, current vice president of sales and marketing at Brilliant General Maintenance (BGM) and current U.S. Board Representative with the World Federation of Building Service Contractors (WFBSC). Prior to his role at BGM, Greenland was the vice president of sales and marketing for GMI Integrated Facility Services and before this, owned and operated Aetna Integrated Services, a BSC headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, that was acquired by ATALIAN Global Services in 2017. He is also a past president of BSCAI, having served in 2015.
Throughout each step of his career journey, Greenland has done his fair share of assessing his company’s workforce and hiring staff accordingly. What follows is a Q&A in which he shares his thoughts on knowing when the right time to hire additional staff is, how to hire the best talent, what he looks for in new hires and more.
BSCAI: What factors come into play that compel you to hire additional staff?
Paul Greenland: When there are things that are not getting done that need to get done, or there are long-term projects that need to be accomplished, that’s when to hire. You must determine if there are the resources to pay for the additional staff and how long you are willing to pay for the position before it is needed. I will hire ahead of a needed position. Everyone needs time to learn about the company, our industry and, most importantly, our customers.
BSCAI: Do you think it is important to get ahead of business growth and hire in advance or is it better to add staff on an as-needed basis?
Greenland: I am a big fan of top grading. Top grading is when you over hire for a new position or if you are replacing someone. This allows the new employee to excel at the existing job while learning about future opportunities at the company. If we want to grow as a company, we have to have bench strength!
BSCAI: How do you go about hiring the best talent? What do you look for? What are some red flags?
Greenland: I am always looking for talent. That sometimes means that I may watch a competitor or someone in a similar role that I want to fill over a long period of time. This allows me a “free,” long-term interview. I really appreciate referrals from existing customers as well.
I will take a great attitude over experience. I can teach someone to sell, market or clean a toilet, but having the right attitude will make the new hire more successful and have a quicker learning curve.
BSCAI: Could you describe your onboarding process? Is there anything BGM does differently from the competition?
Greenland: You only get one chance to make a first impression. You must plan the onboarding experience for all new staff. To really understand your organization, new hires must be exposed to all parts of the company, including administration. Even if they have been in the industry, they don’t know your company’s culture or people. Additionally, they may have come with some bad habits.
The onboarding process at BGM can take up to 90 days depending on what the new hire needs to learn. I have weekly progress meetings with my new hires to make sure they are getting everything that we put in the onboarding document. I also ask a new manager or salesperson to take notes of things that they see as “good” and “bad” and report back to me on opportunities.
BSCAI: Was there any advice given to you earlier in your career with regards to hiring that has really stuck with you?
Greenland: At my first job in the industry, I was told that everyone who runs or owns a business needs someone to talk to about the business. Someone who can be a neutral third party and can help you process issues and grow your business. I’ve been fortunate in my career to have had a wonderful peer group that I was able to use in this capacity as well as have a business coach.