Ailene Grego
President & CEO
SouthEast LINK
Atlanta, Georgia

Meredith Reuben
EBP Supply Solutions,
A Division of Imperial Dade
Milford, Connecticut

Nick Spallone
Tahoe Supply Company
Las Vegas, Nevada

Staffing/recruiting has been a challenge in jan/san for years, but it's become even more difficult in the last 12 months. What are some of the successes you're seeing when it comes to recruiting and retaining strong sales staff?

Spallone: We have an amazing base of long-term employees that know I will do anything for them. They are an extension of my family and I treat them that way. Strong communication and always looking at things from our employee's perspective has made Tahoe Supply a company with minimal turnover. When we do have turnover, it is almost always a mutual decision that is expected.

We also have a recruitment mentality with all employees from drivers to sales. When employees are selling the company to others, it reinforces the positives and helps address any concerns.

Reuben: In terms of operational staff, we have one person solely devoted to recruitment for our three branches. In conjunction with the leadership at Imperial Dade headquarters, we have reviewed our wages and benefits to make sure that they are competitive in the market.

Grego: During the pandemic, those salespeople who were heavily weighted in restaurant businesses could not easily pivot to other markets at such a volatile time. We picked up a couple of people who were let go during that time. Great salespeople, just a product of their circumstances, but they now understand the importance of portfolio diversity.

Companies are now offering signing bonuses and elevated salaries to attract talent, however, there is no guarantee they won't leave for an even better opportunity. Thoughts are circulating about delayed bonuses paid after hitting certain milestones to try to keep them from leaving for a few extra dollars. But the most important thing is to maintain your company culture and treat everyone with respect. Understand their needs/wants and mentor them to grow and achieve their maximum potential. Don't forget to praise people for their contribution to your company's successes.

How can distributors make jan/san more appealing to new workers?

Grego: It depends on your mission/vision. Most people are looking for a company where they can make an impact on the world. For example, our company is known for our strong commitment to sustainability. People are now much more aware of the impact we have on our environment and it's exciting to know you can change people's perspective and help them create safe, healthy environments for people to live and work, while creating little-to-no impact on our people, pets and planet.

Reuben: Jan/san can really be positioned as having a higher purpose at this unique point in the history of our industry. We can instruct, train and provide products to ensure a safe environment for workers. Not everyone cleans and disinfects properly, and our staff is singularly equipped to help companies raise their levels of health and wellness for their workers. Studies have shown that people want to work for companies that have a higher purpose rather than just the profit motive.

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