No "Lovie" for Our Lab

illinoisWe’re Loyal to You Illinois…

…We’re “Orange and Blue” Illinois

The University of Illinois have some big news. Former Chicago Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith is the new Head Coach of the Fighting Illini football team. This really draws statewide attention to the school. What a tremendous boost for the team’s biggest challenge, recruitment.

And recruitment is tough. Now, I’m not talking about going to a high school students homes and convincing the child and his parents that he wants to battle on the offensive line in Champaign for the next four years. I’m talking about the battle we face in the lab every time we look for a technician or technologist with the special training and certification we require. There are a lot of laboratories in the Chicago area, and we all look to the same pool of potential employees. It is not a big pool, and there aren’t that many new people flowing through the spigot into that pool.

What makes a good place to work? Of course salary is important. Beyond that, one of our supervisors did some research and identified perks such as in house yoga, professional on-site chefs and variable work schedules. Regular demonstrations of appreciation also help. We haven’t tried the yoga or gourmet chefs here, though there are frequent celebratory lunches and birthday breakfasts. And we do try to offer a competitive salary, show respect to all of the staff, and allow some creativity within the bounds of all those detailed SOPs. But perhaps we need to do a better job with the pats on the back. And it is also important, though in a much longer term, to make sure there are always new students entering the lab pool, to help keep the spigot on the full-on position. We appreciate the schools and training programs that provide the needed education. And I speak at local career days, but not as often as I should.

What makes you want to stay with a company, or look for a new one? Will the place with the biggest budget always win out? How do we succeed in a field with a limited pool of qualified applicants? The challenge is always there for us. Maybe we DO need Lovie Smith to go knocking on some doors for us. And if that doesn’t work, does anyone know where I can find Mike Ditka?

On another note, I have an additional album title for our previous music trivia question.  “Stop Making Sense” is both a movie and a soundtrack album from David Byrne and the Talking Heads.  The phrase is from the song “Girlfriend is Better” that was performed live on the album.

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