In large concerns, an official is regularly appointed as an Employment Agent, and it is his duty to keep the office and the shops supplied with competent men engaged at reasonable wages. He must therefore keep in close and accurate touch with the labor market, for the same reasons that the purchasing agent must know the state of the market for material and supplies. He must know how and where to reach workmen of the different classes whenever he is called upon to furnish them.
While ordinary laborers may nearly always be obtained from the daily applications made at the office, skilled men must be hunted up; and it is not usually easy to find just the man with the qualifications desired.
When men are wanted for positions above the average skilled workmen, the best and most promising will be nearly always distributed among the present employees who are deserving of advancement. To promote one of them, rather than hire some man from outside the organization, is usually good business policy. The man and his abilities are generally well known, while a stranger is always an unknown quantity. The men, being acquainted with the man, will be pleased to see him get the deserved promotion; and it is always wise to consider the popularity of proposed orders affecting the working force. The man himself will feel his added responsibilities much more than an outside man will, and will generally work harder to succeed in his new position. Therefore it is always best to give the first chance to present employees who have been faithful to the responsibilities thus far placed upon them.
It will be found that in most of the departments there are employees who from one reason or another are doing work quite below their real capacity, hoping that later on.there may be better opportunities for the coveted position. The Employment Agent should know the men of the force, and their abilities, so as to take advantage of these conditions. A man may be needed by a foreman in one department who is not aware that in a neighboring department may be just the kind of man he wants. The Employment Agent should know where to find the man at once.
Again, one department may, from the conditon of the work, be short of help, and may request the Employment Agent to hire a certain number of men of certain qualifications and abilities. At the same time, there may be another department in which there are more men than can be used to advantage. An arrangement for the temporary or permanent transfer of some of these men will be a great help to both departments, and will have the added advantage of keeping good men permanently employed.
If a workman feels that his employment is permanent, and that there are fair opportunities for advancement, this will be the surest way to hold him faithful and loyal to the interests of the establishment; and the conditions that bring about this condition of mind in him will also draw other good men who will be glad to be counted as among those faithful to a company which appreciates their services and which will look to their interests as they consider those of their employers. The result will be that these men will give their best services, and even be on the alert to further the interests of the employer who has favored them. Thus a strong working organization is built up, which becomes one of the best and most valuable assets of the company.