I just visited a volunteer fire department’s web site based on a referral from Facebook and was disappointed, if not dismayed, to find that “Recruitment” was listed at number 11 out of 18 options on their site’s sidebar menu.
I did a double-take just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything obvious, like perhaps that the menu items were in alphabetical order and that’s why recruitment fell lower on the list. Nope. Not the case here.
Now in their defense, I don’t know too much about their fire company other than what I learned from their web site, and maybe they’re flush with members and recruitment doesn’t need to be their number 1 priority. Or, perhaps that’s simply the order in which the pages were added to the site and that’s how they fell. Intentional or not, there appears to be no rhyme or reason as to the order of the links, which is apparent in this list: Home, Apparatus, History, Archives, Events, Downloads, Guest Book, Members, Members Zone, Photos, and finally: Recruitment.
This is by no means intended to poke fun at this department or any other department’s web site. It is merely an effort to raise the question: Where does recruitment fall on your fire department’s list of priorities, on your web site, and in all of your internal and external efforts?
Is the fact that ‘Recruitment’ falls low on your menu of web offerings representative of it falling equally as low, or lower on your department’s emphasis?
In my “From the Xbox to the Box Alarm” and “Leadership in the Firehouse” conversations I start by bringing the participants to consensus that 95% of the challenges we face are in the firehouse, not on the fire scene. And then I ask why we spend our time, energy and especially money on the exact opposite — all the things that are completely useless without the proper quantity and quality of people to make them work?
I continually share that the difference between those who are successful at recruitment and retention, and those who are not, is those who do something about it.
I encourage you to leverage every single public interaction as a recruitment opportunity whether that opportunity presents itself in the firehouse, on the fire scene or in the grocery store.
So, how far down does recruitment fall on your list?
Take a lesson from Ford on quality, and make it “Job #1.” If you don’t — you shouldn’t be surprised by the end results.