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How leaders in lesser-known industries can foster rewarding careers

by Ana Lopez
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President and CEO of Maintenancea leading custodial and infection prevention services provider.

Hiring new employees can be challenging in essential “invisible” industries. By invisible I mean industries that maintain society’s infrastructure with little recognition. We are a ‘best kept secret’. We’re not well-known brands that immediately recognize candidates, but those who find us think we’re worth the chase.

As president and CEO of one of California’s leading hospital environmental services (EVS) and commercial cleaning service providers for life sciences, aerospace and other complex facilities, I know how exciting our industry is. I have been privileged to witness some of the most remarkable advances in healthcare. I’ve been in an Apache helicopter, visited facilities that build satellites, climbed rocketships, and more.

Most exciting, though, is knowing that my team members play an integral role in these efforts. Without our services, and the services of other companies in related industries, these innovations would be impossible. We provide healthy environments for people to thrive.

That’s why I want to talk about how business leaders in invisible sectors can promote their companies and find talented employees.

Emphasize the benefits

Below are just four benefits of a career in a less recognized industry. To attract new employees, I suggest leaders emphasize these benefits to potential employees:

1. Impact

One of the top reasons I’ve heard from team members who have left large, well-known companies is that they like to know their work matters. They have the opportunity to make a real impact. They keep people healthy, help advance research and protect our country’s defenses. People want to work for a company that aligns with their values. They want to work for a targeted company.

2. Culture

In addition to meaningful work, employees want to know that they matter. In many businesses in essential industries, owners know their employees and even their family members by name. But a hospitable culture goes beyond familiarity. One of the main reasons some of our employees tell me they joined the company is the opportunity to grow and get promoted – without having to stab a superior in the back. I’ve noticed more and more that many candidates eschew the shark-eat-shark office for a values-based culture.

3. Stability

While they don’t offer the outrageous, often inflated salary of technology positions, many companies in essential industries offer competitive salaries. There is usually room for promotion – and the salary can also be much more stable. Think of the thousands of workers laid off in the tech industry this year due to overstaffing and rate hikes. Meanwhile, many of these workers’ wages include stock options. So when the company’s stock plummeted, they were left with less compensation than they thought.

Invisible industries are often more resilient to recession. The reality is that people can settle for fewer gadgets, but not without toilet paper and clean environments. Essential businesses can provide an exciting career and the financial security needed to achieve dreams, such as buying a home or starting a family. At my company, several employees have been with us for more than 30 years. I’ve noticed that this kind of longevity is more common in smaller family businesses.

4. Exposure

In smaller essential businesses, there is usually an opportunity to wear different hats, providing opportunities to learn and grow professionally. Service industries can provide exposure to a variety of areas, both within the company and through customers, due to the diverse industries we serve.

Where do you find talent

With all that the companies in essential industries have to offer, the question is: how can these companies find people who are looking for the above benefits? Below are a few ideas.

Social media

This category is broad and packed with opportunities to find outstanding employees. Some suggestions for dealing with these candidates online include:

• Hashtags: Although their usefulness is often underestimated, using and following hashtags can open up new opportunities. Be firm in your purpose, promote your values ​​and goals across platforms, and look for people who see the world the same way.

• Connect: Look for people who share your interests and values. Then send them an invite to connect with the reason you are contacting them.

Job market

Many small to medium sized businesses will participate in job fairs. Make sure your tables are managed by employees who can share their experience of working at the company with potential candidates – this can help promote the work culture better than any advertisement. Make it clear who you are, why candidates might be suitable, and what purpose their contributions would help serve.


People often think of networking as a formal endeavor, but the best networking is often informal and unplanned. Candidates may find that one of their acquaintances works in accounting for a large family business that happens to be hiring.

If there’s something you’re passionate about, you can join a group that engages your community to find solutions, such as tackling environmental problems. Chances are that group will have members who are looking for new work opportunities and are eager to hear about career opportunities at your company. It’s a more organic way to find a value match.

Local ads

Many essential companies run advertisements on the radio or local television stations. Almost all of these companies have departments such as finance, HR, technology and innovation, with potential availability.

When creating these ads, include information about the organization’s culture, mission or purpose, how the role you’re advertising supports your goals, and whether there are opportunities for growth.

The commercial cleaning industry and many other must-have fields may not seem that appealing. But when it comes to finding a fulfilling career path, looks can be deceiving.

businessroundups.org Business Council is the leading growth and networking organization for entrepreneurs and leaders. Am I eligible?

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