COVID-19 (coronavirus) Update. Stay informed with the latest information.

Can’t Find the Ideal Employee? Read Below!

alt text

Can’t Find the Ideal Employee? Read Below!
Creative Ways to Find New Employees

What do they call it when you keep doing things the same way over and over again but expect different results? Comically, the word “insanity” comes to mind. Professionally, the words “ineffective and costly” are more accurate. Overall, businesses have been using the same hiring techniques for years. And they worked – until recently. Today there’s no mistaking the fact that the hiring times are a changin’ and workforce recruiters need to adapt.

alt text

What does that mean? It means that just placing want ads in front of job seekers will no longer deliver the desired result. It’s now about knowing the competition, understanding the targeted audience and setting an organization apart in creative ways. Today’s thriving businesses already realize that people, not structure and process, are the key to ongoing success. There should be no greater priority for business success than attracting the right people to the team. Why? Because…..

“You don’t build a business – you build people – and then the people build the business.” - Zig Ziglar

While we all like the comfort of “tried and true,” current struggles force us to move out of our comfort zones and rethink what is possible. Today’s labor force shortage is such a struggle. Fortunately, some businesses are already responding to the tightened labor market in creative ways.  A few of the innovative ideas we’re seeing nationally include:

Skilled Through Alternative Routes Hiring

Some companies are re-evaluating their narrow educational and degree-based hiring requirements and considering skill-based or customized training-based staffing approaches. By doing so they expand the available talent pool, creating a more equitable opportunity spectrum and encouraging team members to grow with the company through long-term upward mobility. This previously invisible and capable workforce, now Skilled Through Alternative Routes (STARs), can be a valuable resource for many businesses. In fact, STARs made up approximately 70 million workers in the U.S. economy as of 2021.

“In Your Face” Advertising and Outreach

The potential for adding creativity in recruitment campaigns is boundless. Top companies are already using non-traditional recruiting media and methods as a means to stand out. Not only are the campaigns technologically driven through YouTube, podcasts, MeetUps, websites and/or Twitter, but traditional media has come back as a way of being non-traditional. For example, with a bonus-energized Recruitment Referral Business Card program, an existing employee can offer someone who is familiar, and might be a good co-worker, a referral card. If the referral recipient is hired, the employee later receives a financial bonus. Other creative examples include employee mini-commercials broadcast at theaters or old-fashioned billboards at busy intersections. 

Second Chances

Smart CEOs are expanding their talent pool by hiring employees with nonviolent criminal records. As an example, Chase Bank recently reported that 10% of their hires had a criminal record. A study supported by the Society for Human Resources Management revealed that employers and the American public are open to hiring people with criminal histories:

  • 78% are comfortable shopping where customer service employees have a nonviolent
    criminal record.
  • 76% are comfortable doing business with a company that offers second chance employment.
  • 74% are comfortable being employed where some coworkers have nonviolent criminal records.

These examples represent just a few ways companies are responding to labor market conditions nationally. But there are similar examples in our own community. Take time to read the stories that follow to learn how some local businesses employ passion and creativity to recruit and build their teams.

Second Chance Careers at Midtown Laundry

While the concept of second-chance hiring has recently become a national movement, Mykal Tairu, owner of Midtown Laundry in Holly Hill, is a pioneer in this area. As a proud, socially responsible entrepreneur, Tairu provides quality residential and commercial laundry services with the help of formerly incarcerated individuals and others from underserved communities, offering dignity AND a livable wage.

alt text

Tairu earned his bachelor’s degree in religion from Bethune-Cookman University and his master’s degree in religion from Yale University. He began his career as a community organizer driven to bring about systemic change for individuals with a criminal history. He knew that gainful employment was key to reducing the chance of recidivism and that business community buy-in was necessary. He led several Ban the Box campaigns – a reference to the box that a job applicant must check if ever convicted of a felony. Tairu recognized the first impression stigma created by this requirement and advocated that employers and local government officials delay the “box question” until after a face-to-face interview. By doing so first impressions would exclude the stigma and potential prejudice stemming from a criminal history.  

Dissatisfied with the sluggish adoption of “ban the box” and in the likeness of a true leader, Tairu founded Midtown Laundry. The business is his personal response to the fight against employment discrimination, actively hiring and training convicted felons.

“Midtown Laundry was founded out of a desire to change our community by providing jobs that would help individuals realize God is best in every area of their lives,” said Tairu. “I was frustrated asking people to hire people that I care about. So I decided do it myself, which led me to becoming a business owner. We provide pickup and delivery laundry services to commercial and residential customers. We believe that providing job opportunities and professional services promotes social entrepreneurship and stimulates our local economy.”

Midtown Laundry serves as an example of passion-driven leadership. Tairu has been quite pleased with his hires. He has complete trust in them and appreciates the fact that they value the “second chance” that working for Midtown Laundry affords them.

By the way, in 2015 the City of Daytona Beach adopted a memorandum approving the Ban the Box Management Policy and Procedure. The policy precludes an applicant from disclosing information regarding criminal convictions until the city expresses a desire to hire the individual. This policy does not apply to positions within the police and fire departments, confidential positions, and positions requiring mandated screening.

For more information about Midtown Laundry, visit

“Welcome” And “Thank You”: Messages Backed By Reward

Volusia County’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division is an essential-services division that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The career is more of a passion than a job and requires extraordinary commitment. When vacancies began to increase earlier this year, managers creatively developed plans to recruit new and retain existing paramedics and emergency medical technicians.

alt text

The competition to fill these positions is fierce nationally and locally. Physical and emotional stress of the position and new career opportunities lead to high turnover rates as other organizations recruit trained staff during a “normal” year. Add to this the challenges experienced over the last 20 months of the pandemic, when EMS averaged more than 4,000 ambulance transports per month. 

In a show of employee appreciation and support, the Volusia County Council recently approved a plan to provide tiered hiring bonuses of $4,500 to new paramedic recruits. Distributed in installments to certified paramedics, the incentives require a three-year commitment to the county. An additional retention bonus of $5,000 is provided to current full-time paramedics who sign a three-year commitment to the county. Finally, a retention bonus of $2,000 is approved for current full-time EMTs who sign a three-year commitment to the county as well.

“We don’t have an issue with EMTs now,” said Volusia County Public Protection Director Joe Pozzo. “But given the widespread shortage of EMT candidates in other parts of the country, we want to remain ahead of the curve.”

Additionally, the county is sponsoring new hires through EMT school, while other EMTs are attending paramedic school independently.

“The combination of education and incentives has helped close the paramedic staffing gap, but retaining and growing the staff is a continuing effort,” said Pozzo. “We’re a growing county and we need to staff and structure accordingly.”    

Visit for more information about Volusia County Emergency Medical Services.

alt text

alt text

An Eye For Talent – Recruiting Through Interaction

While the “30,000-foot view” is always helpful, particularly among large employers, the ground-level perspective of entrepreneurs is vital to their operations. Such is the case for Joe Valente, who created Boston Coffeehouse in DeLand in 1996 and has grown his enterprise through careful analysis of his markets and successful staffing. Today there are three Boston Coffeehouse shops in Volusia County and a franchised operation in Altamonte Springs.

alt text

Valente credits the company growth to his team of managers and dedicated staff. However, assembling this team of superstars took time and energy. Many hires did not work out, job recruiter services often fell short, and staffing gaps resulted from the pandemic.  

An expert in passive recruiting, he has a constant eye out for candidates who will transition smoothly to the company culture. Whether they are customers who come in to the shop, family members of his regulars or individuals he meets during the course of the day, if they reflect the right qualities Valente’s likely to make an offer. With a staff of 50 and growing, this is an ongoing discipline.alt text

Valente reports that his managers and staff are as loyal as they are capable. “We provide training on a regular basis and we even offer training to the staff of our charter franchisee. This not only helps keep each team member engaged and pleased with their jobs, it helps us maintain lofty standards of quality and service, two things for which Boston Coffeehouse is known.”

For more information about Boston Coffeehouse, visit

Read next article: If You Can't Find Them, Grow Your Own.