CEO Corner: Up to the Challenge of Labor Availability

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO
Michael Drake

Michael Drake, president, Ohio State University

We see talent from two points of view.

One, we have over 46,000 employees, and we want the best people to fill each position—from entry-level responsibilities to senior-level roles. The university is continuously engaged in an active search for talent. Faculty and staff are proud of their association with Ohio State, and we strive to continue to be a place where that is true.

Two, a central part of our mission as a flagship, land-grant university is to develop graduates who support and advance labor markets in our communities. Ohio recently identified 84 in-demand jobs requiring a bachelor's degree, and our graduates accepted employment in 96 percent of those areas. We always look at ways to ensure our students have the skills and perspectives to make them the most prized employees of the organizations that hire them.

Matt Scantland

Matt Scantland, CEO, CoverMyMeds

We recognize that we win through great employees. We also understand that great people have many options about where they work, so our goal is to be the best place for each of our employees to work and grow their career. That means creating an environment where people can be themselves, embrace challenges and achieve amazing results.

Our staff has access to the amazing career opportunities afforded by working for a rapidly growing technology company that is part of a global health- care organization. We provide an exciting entrepreneurial environment with bigger company benefits, such as training and career tracks, so people can get the most out of their career. We're continuously uncovering ways to be an amazing place for employees to grow their careers, which, in turn, helps us attract and retain the best and brightest people.

Jess Kittrell

Jess Kittrell, co-owner, 101 Beer Kitchen

Labor availability at all levels is a large part of our conversations lately.Finding those who truly care about working hard and putting out a great product can be challenging.At 101BK, we believe it is of the upmost importance that we continue to interview hard and hire smart. A warm body is NOT good enough.

Our restaurant needs people who are passionate about our products and hospitality more than ever in this incredibly competitive landscape. Our dedicated team is what separates us! Therefore, we continue to invest in them. Additional training and education, resources to make jobs easier, running an organized business, benefits like vacation and 401(k)—these are the things that will help us rise above during the hard times. Continued involvement in our schools and community will help us grow our future.

Tom Harris

Tom Harris, CEO, HMB, Inc.

The talent shortage in technology has been, and will continue to be, one of our biggest challenges. It's tough to solve completely, but at HMB, we believe we can positively impact it by offering opportunity and community.

There is no doubt that Columbus' exciting and vibrant tech culture is an asset in drawing people here. But we work hard to create a community that attracts talented professionals to HMB and gives them a reason to stay.

Our Grad Academy gives fresh-out-of-college hires both competitive industry knowledge and connections in the company. Our weekly “Lunch and Learn” discussions provide the opportunity for educational betterment. We organize after-hours, company-sponsored events like quarterly mixers and family outings, for our employees to enjoy. We also advocate for secondary training programs.

Tanny Crane

Tanny Crane, president & CEO, Crane Group

Labor availability is a challenge for each of our businesses. It extends from our pet-care business to our roofing business to our crushing and screening business, as well as our home office. However, our focus is to continue to attract the best people through our culture and our values. We have a fairly rigorous process in screening, interviewing and hiring candidates for all levels of opportunities at Crane Group.

On another note, we must recognize that parts of our city continue to experience unemployment levels as high as 18-20 percent, for example, on the South Side. Many neighborhood partnerships, such as Reeb Avenue Center, are working diligently to provide specific job training and are encouraging our corporate partners to work with us, offering second chances to those willing and wanting to work.

Central Ohio corporate and nonprofit executives can provide contact information to participate in the 2018 CEO Survey The survey will be available in August.