Finding good staff is difficult in any industry, for the pest control industry it can be more so – partly due to the variable levels of training and partly because some of the good pest managers decide to set up their own businesses. What does the latest Pest Pulse say about how pest control businesses manage HR?

From our quick industry snapshot, 95% of businesses manage their own recruitment, with 80% being managed directly by the business owner. Only around 5% of businesses are using a recruitment agency. The recruitment process is key to attracting suitable applicants and then identifying a suitably qualified candidate that’s a ‘good fit’ with your company. Recruitment is a time-consuming process, getting it wrong can be very expensive from a number of angles. Get it right and everyone’s a winner!

For those businesses managing recruitment themselves, having a good job description and advert to match is a good starting point to attract the right applicants. However, carrying out interviews to identify the best candidate requires skill, and ensuring you meet Fairwork guidelines (especially avoiding discrimination) is a must – the Guide to Hiring New Employees available on the Fairwork website is well worth reading. However, sometimes it is better to utilise the skills of a recruitment agency, although the challenge here is to make sure they fully understand your requirements and the requirements of the position.

When advertising for positions, online advertising (over 50%) and word of mouth (nearly 40%) are the two most common methods of recruiting new staff. However, print is certainly going out of fashion, being used by less than 15% of businesses. One or two businesses are using recruitment agencies.

In terms of the preferred online advertising site (Figure 1), not surprisingly SEEK is the clear number one, being used by 50% of businesses. The next most popular is Gumtree, used by 16% of companies. Of the others, Facebook and distributor websites get a couple of mentions.

The ongoing management of employees and HR issues can be very time-consuming and there are a number of legal minefields to navigate, especially when it comes to contracts, whether employee or sub-contractor, full-time, part-time or casual. Understanding the legal requirements, managing performance and if it comes to it, handling termination of employment, are important aspects to running a business. Of survey respondents, the business owner or an employee handles approximately 85% of HR activities, with only around 5% using an agency or consultant to provide support.

However, judging from the regular questions on the various Facebook groups regarding contractors, employee rights, sub-contractors and termination of employment, there is a level of uncertainty around some of these issues. For owners or managers, keeping abreast of the latest legislation is a must and receiving training in the various areas of HR, though often overlooked, can deliver great business benefits. An alternative that is rarely considered is the option to use a consultant or agency; the costs are often lower than expected, especially when considering the time saved and reduced stress that comes from knowing an expert is on call to help.