A sundae bar, as well as barbecues, handwritten thank you notes, and other engagement efforts are designed to keep Cintas staff happy at work. (Special to Black Press)

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It’s a constant struggle – as it is for most businesses today – to find talented people to augment existing and growing operations.

But for Cintas, a Fortune 500 company with a large plant in Langley, introducing a new and different approach to finding those individuals has been paying dividends.

The company has an innovative and evolving recruitment philosophy, explained Sam Ahuja, human resources manager with the local Cintas plant.

“Gone are the days where people were applying for positions,” she said. “So, we’re more outsourcing candidates. We’re going out and finding them, like a sales rep would. We’re going to the different gyms, churches, temples.”

While head office for Cintas is in Cincinnati, the Langley plant is one of its five largest operations – providing uniforms, mats, restroom supplies, safety material, and other facility services and products to businesses throughout North America.

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The Cintas plant in Aldergrove’s Gloucester Estates employs about 280 people, and is always looking for new talent as it continues to expand, Ahuja said.

“We have not slowed down on growing… it’s a good problem to have.”

But the growth has not been without its challenges, and keeping up with recruitment of quality staff has been one of the hurdles.

To assist with the ongoing quest for more people, they’re taking a relatively new, more “sales-oriented approach” to recruiting, Ahuja said. They’re headhunting.

And, one of the most effective ways they’ve found to connect with those potential candidates is by offering financial incentives to existing staff – or partners, as they prefer to call them.

As for the incentives, she said that while the company has long offered referral fees to its team, during the past eight months, Cintas has upped the remuneration for those helping to recruit candidates – the company now offers anywhere from $250 to $1,500 (depending on the position being filled) payable on the candidate’s start date.

“Motivating our current partners to find talent for us is a big help because they’re talking to their neighbours or going to different social events,” and convincing what Ahuja calls passive candidates to consider a move to Cintas based on their own experiences with the company.

In taking on a much more aggressive headhunting approach, the human resources team is also recruiting people who may not have even thought of making a move – at least not until they heard Cintas’ offer.

Most of these candidates are people who are already employed elsewhere, Ahuja said. So to accommodate their current work schedule, her human resources team meets with them after 5 p.m. or conducts interviews on weekend.

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