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I'm in the same boat as everyone else where to look for employees for our custom cabinet shop both frame and commercial. I'm asking where is your most success in new hires, we have only had one walk-in in 3 years a temp from local high school which were able to put to work. Any success with woodweb, local newspaper, craigslist, high school, ??? We need both experienced and entry level. Thanks for any suggestions.
High school for beginners, stealing from other shops for experienced. Also tell your hardware and hardwood reps you are looking. Never placed an ad.
Rich,I have talked to my reps and of course everyone is asking them for the same. Could i go after another shops employees, only if the employees came to me first. Thanks Scott
Go to your local fire department and check there. Most of the time they work 24 hrs and are off 48 hrs. These are usually good men that are dependable and would love to pick up some extra money. Back in the boom era I had 3 working for me.
When it comes to other shops employees, look at why they would leave and how they will treat their exit from that shop,,
other wise you are just "Next"
We have had good luck with craigslist. We have many friends of friends anf family's working here.
Find someone who can work with their hands, can measure and has a good attitude.
Its not easy.
I agree with Bill about hiring inexperienced people rather than veterans.
Most woodworking shops are dysfunctional as business entities. They may have some profitable years but this is usually owing to a boom in the economy rather than intrinsic efficiencies within the organization. With rare exception a veteran who comes from those entities does not necessarily bring a package of skill sets you want to emulate.
You never know with an experienced worker what bad habits you need to un-train. Even if you could ascertain what needs to be unlearned you have no idea whether you can actually make this happen.
With an inexperienced person you only need to figure out what you have to get into their head. The project now moves to what is the best way to get this information into their head.
In a mature industry all opportunities for innovation lie under a rock. By definition these are hard-to-harvest opportunities else someone before us would already have noticed them and brought them into the market place. All of our opportunities will be found in a weak spot.
The two biggest weak spots in the woodworking industry are training and choreography. If training depends on who is doing the training (and what day they are doing it) the outcome will be similarly random. If there is no system for certification then the interpretation will be random. We leave a lot of money on the floor when we are knee deep in random.
The more science you add to training the quicker people will acquire mastery.
We recently brought a young man into our shop and made him adept at door building. He helped build doors a few times in a bucket brigade setting. He moved from station to station each time and got familiar with each process. On his first solo day we gave him three doors to build from scratch. He had to take lumber off the wall, S4S it, cope, stick and glue the doors. Somebody else cut out the MDF inset panel but he took care of the profiling himself.
He was given a list of processes and instructed to build one door start to finish. The three doors were identical sizes but we specifically did not want him batching anything. Each door was a stand alone event. We probably could have saved a little time by doing all three at once but our goal was not to build the doors but rather to build the door-builder.
By building these doors one at a time by the end of his first solo day he'd been up to bat three times. This is much more profound training doors once times 3.
As each door was clamped up he had to bring it to someone for inspection. With this approach he became his own manager. Nobody else had to remember to keep an eye on him. Supervision was now his responsibility.
The next phase in his training will be to time the various processes. He needs to be able to predict how long it will take him to get lumber ready to machine, how long the actual machining takes (cope-stick-profile panels) and how much time glue up and clamping take. By timing these events he can start competing with himself. They always tell you how much faster they are getting at each phase because now they are curious. This teaches them that minutes matter.
After they have the quality parts down they still have to maintain the supervision protocol. When they are bringing a perfect completed door to their mentor every 15 minutes they can stop on the supervisory step and can be certified as competent.
This method for training is directly out of Taichi Ohno's memoirs. According to him you can master just about any process in three days if you use small batch training. We have done this many times with much success.
The bucket brigade process is a real eye opener. We don't do it all the time because we typically just build the doors we need as we need them. What the bucket brigade will do is give you insight into how to streamline the processes relative to each other. Sometimes this is simply a proximity issue. Sometimes it's a methods issue. The important thing is that bucket brigades help you to standardize processes so that you can get more predictable results.
More predictable results make the new worker feel better about their day and their new career. (How often do you get that sentiment out of a veteran?)