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deepblue1947
Member

Posts: 54
Unit: LA-076

« on: December 11, 2017, 12:15:48 AM »

I was not sure under which section recruitment and retention should fall but I will type my question here and administration can move it to where they think the appropriate place should be if not here.

I am a member of a Senior squadron and would like some suggestions on how to effectively recruit seniors for CAP.  It seems there are more places and opportunities to recruit cadets but not that many for seniors.  What are some of the successful ways that some of you have employed to recruit new senior members?

Thank you
MG
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Holding Pattern
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,272
Unit: Worry

« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2017, 06:38:36 AM »

Put a laser focus on getting a good PAO. Someone who will get you in the news and find opportunities to get you in the news. I won't give our PAO all of the credit for boosting our cadet and senior ranks, but he sure helped!

We currently are also shifting from relying solely on that measure to including a more pro-active approach where we are having our senior staff identify people in their centers of influence that we can bring into our orbit to fill deficient staff positions.

Secondarily, review the slide deck on cohort recruiting.

Finally remember to engage the parents of cadets as well. They won't join if they don't think there is a need for them.
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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,381

« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2017, 10:26:22 AM »

Be sure to recruit to what your unit does for wide-span recruiting. For where you want to take your unit, you'll need to really entice those individuals who first walk in the door and have something to offer.

Way too many units try to recruit on this "We do it all" campaign. Not only is it confusing for someone brand-new who has no in-depth knowledge of CAP, but it's likely you don't do everything and can't fulfill what you advertise when you do that.
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deepblue1947
Member

Posts: 54
Unit: LA-076

« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2017, 01:33:59 PM »

I am sure that the scenario I am about to present is not unique and many other senior squadrons may have the same dilemma.  Our SC constantly has pressure on him by Wing to fulfill staff officer positions.  Unfortunately we have a good number of members who do nothing and will not step up to fill these positions, so what happens is that the SC will just appoint someone to those positions and then he takes heat because these people are not advancing or working actively to perform their assigned duties.  it becomes a Catch 22 situation or a double edge sword.  He is [darn]ed if he doesn't and [darn]ed if he does.  I do not envy his position.  Due to pressure from WIng to get the numbers up in the squadron, people are often recruited that really shouldn't be.  I am the assistant PD officer for our squadron and I had one member who was dragging their feet on Level 1 and then drug their feet to complete ICUT.  I did my best to inspire and offer help and finally this person told me that the only reason they wanted to be in CAP was because it looked good on their resume.  This was their actual words. 

I think a lot of the problem is not proper vetting of prospective new members but when you are getting pressured to get the numbers up there is a tendency to take just about anybody who is breathing and can pass the FBI background check.  Have you ever looked at someone in CAP who does nothing and you want to ask them, why are you even in CAP.  Sometimes I think the pressure to add bodies to a unit overrides common sense and these people come in not knowing what CAP is or what is expected of them as a Senior Member.   

Again I am sure our squadron is not unique in these respects and I am not even the R&R or PA officer but this is a problem.  We cannot fulfill those positions with 27 members in our squadron.  Out of those 27 maybe 10 actually participate. 

Guess I am just frustrated because i care and is seems a lot of others within the squadron do not. 

Mg
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EMT-83
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,873

« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2017, 02:07:13 PM »

Before you can recruit new members, you need to clear out some deadwood. If they're not part of the solution, they are the problem. Show them the door.

Set expectations high. Level 1 is the bare minimum, not the end goal.

Use the 10 active seniors as the foundation for rebuilding. Fill the important positions, and tell Wing to pound sand about the rest.

We rebuilt starting with 6 senior members. The slackers quit when they figured out that they would actually need to pull their own weight. We went from a struggling unit to a powerhouse inside of two years. It can be done.
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deepblue1947
Member

Posts: 54
Unit: LA-076

« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2017, 05:26:21 PM »

Before you can recruit new members, you need to clear out some deadwood. If they're not part of the solution, they are the problem. Show them the door.

Set expectations high. Level 1 is the bare minimum, not the end goal.

Use the 10 active seniors as the foundation for rebuilding. Fill the important positions, and tell Wing to pound sand about the rest.

We rebuilt starting with 6 senior members. The slackers quit when they figured out that they would actually need to pull their own weight. We went from a struggling unit to a powerhouse inside of two years. It can be done.

Makes perfect sense to me.  Thank you for your response.
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NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,927
Unit: of issue

« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2017, 05:57:26 PM »

(Caution, massive tome follows.. Sorry, I got up on my soapbox and got a little hypoxic before I stopped typing and fell off)

I'll echo what Mordecai says about a PAO.  A large component of a successful recruiting program involves organizational awareness in your local community.  If people say "the Civil What Patrol?"  then you're already behind the curve.  More on that later.

I will also caution that the linked slide deck leans heavily toward cohort recruiting for cadets. That said, the objectives remain essentially the same between membership categories: Build economies of scale by grouping your membership in to clearly defined "cohorts" where you can gain the benefit of shepherding several members thru the process of joining and initial training at the same time.  For the most part, the first bits of joining and training are essentially the same for all members, which is helpful to your cohort. After Level I, things tend to become more diffuse for seniors, but its still the same sort of thing. After Level I you can do GES, Comms, get drivers licenses, ICS, etc, all as a cohort, too. Its much more helpful to shepherd those folks thru these flaming hoops as a group than individually.

Enough about cohort recruiting.

Really, the most important thing to do first when attempting to effectively recruit seniors is to examine your needs.

The absolute worst thing you can do, especially with seniors, is to recruit a bunch of warm bodies without a corresponding organizational need and a roadmap for their training. Sit down with your squadron commander, deputy commander and probably the PDO and look at what the squadron needs first.

Build a list of your "most needed" or "most at risk" staff areas and start there. Maybe you don't have hardly any issued equipment, so logistics is being happily nailed down by one of the pilots who know where the aircraft preheater, ground power unit and squadron laptop are.  OK, groovy.  Probably OK there, but certainly if you get a guy who's interested and can "understudy" in logistics, don't turn him away.

But don't just look at what you have now, look at what you might need, or areas where you're thin today and might get thinner down the road.  Is Tom the finance guy doing just fine today, but he's going to retire from his day job next June and he and his wife are going to move to Alabama?  Time to find an understudy for Tom so that next May its not a crazy scramble to find a replacement. :)

And don’t forget: Tom the Finance guy is likely also Tom the Pilot guy, so if he’s one of your mission pilots that’s putting hours on the airplane, you’re going to need to get a new pilot too, to maintain your ratio!

Bottom line for your first step:  Look at what staffing your unit needs to be successful in the next 12-24 months, and then start to plan how to go after these clearly defined roles first.

[Side note here: Something to think about as part of your onboarding process and ongoing senior training, you, your commander and the PDO, with help from the others, need to build up the idea and awareness among your membership that you might be an aviator or a radio operator for the squadron, but the unit will also need to you do *something else* to contribute to the success of the organization alongside that duty.  There is no duty position in eServices for “Organic Control Actuator” or “Self-propelled Aerial Sensor Assembly.” Flying, radio operating and such is considered an ES duty, but it not a duty position. This is often a tough nut to crack when you talk to a guy who says “But I’m just here to fly, man..”  This requires a pretty substantial step change in thinking and culture, else down the road you have no commander candidates, etc. If you don’t have this kind of culture in your unit now, its time to start building it. If you already have this kind of culture, then nevermind me, but definitely keep it going.]

OK, second part: have  plan for what you’re going to have these people DO once they join and get trained. Make sure you have a roadmap or a plan for getting these members “gainfully employed” in the 6-10 months after they complete Level I, or they’re going to drift away.  Have an idea of what you’re going to do with them once the commander clicks “Approve” on their Level I training. Whats next?

Don’t wait till after you recruit people to plan for this. Plan for it in advance.  ES training,  comms training, drivers licenses, etc. All the "ancillary stuff leading up to making someone a contributory

And lastly, Where do you go to then find these people?

Like I said above, remember that you’re likely recruiting people who are interested in your mission areas first, who are going to subsequently staff the unit for all the functions to run it second.

The point here is that your main members interest in CAP will come primarily from the mission aspects of your squadron: flying, ES, comms, etc, first. You're not likely to specifically recruit someone *just* to be the Personnel officer or the Finance officer. I mean, maybe you will, but those are going to be few and far between. Some guy isn't likely going to come to CAP, buy an aviator shirt and grey slacks, just to sit at the airport on a Tuesday evening and make sure that the $450 the squadron has in the bank is still there, and do nothing else. That person is likely there for flying, comms or ES first, so concentrate on those areas.

So your list of "most needed" or "most at risk" staff areas from step one is the “what you need,” partly., think about where they came from originally and start there.

So, maybe you have a burning need for some comms folks.  So cast your net toward the local ham clubs. Offer to present on the Civil Air Patrol to a local ham club. (they will likely *jump* at the opportunity to have someone other than Fred present yet again on the benefits of tubes versus integrated circuits in ham gear, or to demonstrate his spark gap set that he built from Marconi's original plans in 1969) 

Get smart about Civil Air Patrol communications, or bring along your Communications Officer, and be prepared to answer questions about the value proposition of a CAP communicator and the likely questions you’re going to get:

“What am I going to do?”

“How soon am I going to do it?”

“Why can’t I use the radios and antennas I already have?”

“What do you mean I have to go thru additional training? I have a SuperExtraGeneralAdvanced license!”

Make sure you’re at least remotely knowledgeable (or your comm officer is) about the whys and wherefores of CAP comms, the starting points, the training required, etc, before you go talk to a bunch of communicators.

Or perhaps, you’re down to 3 mission pilots and you really need 5 to keep the airplane flying appropriately with hours.  OK, well, strangely enough, you’re likely to find pilots … at an airport! >😊  Start with the local airpatch. Go talk to the local EAA chapter or something.

Don’t come in “Hey, you should come fly with Civil Air Patrol!” but maybe go in a little more “soft” with a nice presentation about how the new 406mhz beacons integrate into the SARSAT system and are a good thing, or about how not closing out your flight plan gets lots of people out of bed at night.  Show them that CAP folks are knowledgeable and smart about aviation.

Do that at EVERY airpatch within your recruiting area. Maybe they have a pilot club, maybe an airport association. Meet with them. But don’t walk into the flight school or the FBO and start recruiting 40hr PIC pilots with the promise of “Free Flying.” Aim at the guys who are experienced aviators, Instrument and Commercial, who have the ability to spin up quickly to become mission pilots, check pilots and such with 180-270 days of becoming a member. Be open and frank with the low time guys “Your best bet is to continue to build PIC hours, come on board CAP and start flying as a mission scanner/mission observer so you can understand how the whole thing comes together before you get the required hours. At 100 hrs PIC you can become a transport mission pilot and maybe get some flying paid for in relocating aircraft…” that kind of thing.

Recruiting ES folks (ground, mission base) is a little different, but you can use some FB advertising to focus on people with emergency management backgrounds or interests, for example.

As you add members to the unit, you’re going to also find people who have interest in *other* areas. “Tim the pilot is a bookkeeper, he’s willing to help in finance. Sam the radio guy is also an amateur photographer, he can take awesome pictures…”  Now you’re finding the people that fit into those other areas as you talk to them during the onboarding process.

At the same time you’re doing all this, your PA should be busy building local awareness over all the cool stuff you’re doing at the unit.  Since you want to likely attracts ES, flying & comms people first, then you need to build local awareness in your units activities and missions in ES, flying, comms, etc. And *most* of that is thru PAO work. But some of that is thru community engagement that might be a little outside of what you would consider your normal mission scope.

Also, unless you're the odd senior squadron that marches in local parades (I have to admit I've never seen that!), you’re going to have be be a little more creative in your community engagement. What kinds of *other* things are going to build the CAP "Brand Awareness" in your area? Maybe you helped out the local Marine Corps unit with Toys for Tots this year?  How about a volunteering day at the local homeless shelter? Photos of folks in CAP uniforms serving up homecooked fare for people less fortunate than us is a great public interest story.  Pretty much anything (except “LOCAL CAP ROBS LIQUOR STORE!”) is going to be positive and interesting press and is going to raise your visibility in the local area.

That’s about all I have for now. I have to drive to Boston! 
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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2018 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,381

« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2017, 06:56:02 PM »

There is probably nobody I listen to more on this forum than Darin Ninness.
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NIN
VIP

Posts: 4,927
Unit: of issue

« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2017, 11:29:33 PM »

There is probably nobody I listen to more on this forum than Darin Ninness.
Dog gone it. Now I can't get in my car because my head just swelled up
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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2018 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
OldGuy
Seasoned Member

Posts: 434
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2017, 02:18:42 AM »

I am a "new" "old guy", been in and around Civil Air Patrol for pretty much most of five decades. I agree with the sentiment, "There is probably nobody I listen to more on this forum than Darin Ninness". Having said that, what I'd love is a national level "roadmap" for growth.

You start with the small, struggling unit, who are the first three fills to target? (Our unit leadership chose IT / PAO and Recruiting and Retention) - and absolutely we ought to have a much more robust, templated and nearly automated on-boarding for new members. Thanks to truly awesome mentoring, I will have my Level II done in 180 days and much of my Level II also completed. Absent that mentoring, I'd be flailing around like a beached whale.

Now what? Who are the next logical recruits? (Command is leaning towards Admin, Professional Development and Legal.)

Then what?

The idea would be to have a "franchise" model or models set for "how to" that can be used easily by units.

BTW, I can show you articles from 40 years ago talking about the very same issues we face today. This is not new, nor are we living in times "unlike any other", we do have the advantage today of technology, and we ought to be using same to solve some of these perennial issues.

Now, to shrink the swollen cranium, please DN - get to work on this! (And if I can help, feel free to call!)
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EMT-83
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,873

« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2017, 09:47:13 AM »

Odd that legal would be a priority at the squadron level. There is absolutely nothing for a legal officer to do at a squadron.

Professional Development is a critical role to fill. Without that SME to guide new members, any progress will come to a screeching halt. Admin and personnel can be combined and easily done by one person.

What are the squadron goals? Determine exactly where you want to be in two years and work towards getting there. A generic template sounds like a good idea, and it would be if every unit was identical. An airport based composite squadron is much different that a cadet squadron that meets in a church basement.
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arajca
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 4,278

« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2017, 10:45:07 AM »

A huge issue, as I have said before, is the complete lack of knowledge of CAP among the general public. National seems to think ALL recruiting needs to be local. National, IMHO, needs to be doing public awareness and information campaigns about CAP. When the first 20 secs of your 30 sec elevator speech is explaining what CAP is, you don't have time to talk about what may interest your target.

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OldGuy
Seasoned Member

Posts: 434
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2017, 10:50:44 AM »

Odd that legal would be a priority at the squadron level. There is absolutely nothing for a legal officer to do at a squadron.
Not really. Our command staff has a very strong grasp of reality and has articulated cogent reasons for this.
Professional Development is a critical role to fill. Without that SME to guide new members, any progress will come to a screeching halt. Admin and personnel can be combined and easily done by one person.
Yep.
What are the squadron goals? Determine exactly where you want to be in two years and work towards getting there. A generic template sounds like a good idea, and it would be if every unit was identical. An airport based composite squadron is much different that a cadet squadron that meets in a church basement.
Agreed. So have a set of templates. The new Cadet Flight, the new Cadet Squadron, the new Senior and the new Composite.
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OldGuy
Seasoned Member

Posts: 434
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2017, 12:12:44 PM »

"Agreed. So have a set of templates. The new Cadet Flight, the new Cadet Squadron, the new Senior and the new Composite."

Then the same categories but growing instead of new, losing members instead of growth, growing from large to very large.

A total of sixteen templates to cover the most common issues. It is way, WAY easier to imitate, copy and edit than it is to create de novo. And while the squadron truly is the "heart" of Civil Air Patrol, we are much more than any one squadron.
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etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,220

« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2017, 12:33:56 PM »


The absolute worst thing you can do, especially with seniors, is to recruit a bunch of warm bodies without a corresponding organizational need and a roadmap for their training. Sit down with your squadron commander, deputy commander and probably the PDO and look at what the squadron needs first.


Is there an 'ideal' squadron size? We have 37 seniors, with about 25 that show up to each meeting. From what I can see most every position is filled and with backup assistants. We have 5 (or more) MPs, so the plane is kept very busy and always exceeds the hobbs goals. Yes, I would like to see our Squadron double in size, but we would be recruiting for assistants to the assistants. Its hard to walk up to someone and be able to say 'we need your help' or 'we have the perfect spot for you'.

Any ideas GREATLY appreciated.
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MS - MO - AP - MP - FRO
OldGuy
Seasoned Member

Posts: 434
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2017, 01:03:15 PM »


The absolute worst thing you can do, especially with seniors, is to recruit a bunch of warm bodies without a corresponding organizational need and a roadmap for their training. Sit down with your squadron commander, deputy commander and probably the PDO and look at what the squadron needs first.


Is there an 'ideal' squadron size? We have 37 seniors, with about 25 that show up to each meeting. From what I can see most every position is filled and with backup assistants. We have 5 (or more) MPs, so the plane is kept very busy and always exceeds the hobbs goals. Yes, I would like to see our Squadron double in size, but we would be recruiting for assistants to the assistants. Its hard to walk up to someone and be able to say 'we need your help' or 'we have the perfect spot for you'.

Any ideas GREATLY appreciated.
My first thought is "good job!" My second is succession planning, getting understudies in place and then (maybe) helping senior folks go "upstream" to group / wing / region slots.
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Holding Pattern
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,272
Unit: Worry

« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2017, 02:03:15 PM »


The absolute worst thing you can do, especially with seniors, is to recruit a bunch of warm bodies without a corresponding organizational need and a roadmap for their training. Sit down with your squadron commander, deputy commander and probably the PDO and look at what the squadron needs first.


Is there an 'ideal' squadron size? We have 37 seniors, with about 25 that show up to each meeting. From what I can see most every position is filled and with backup assistants. We have 5 (or more) MPs, so the plane is kept very busy and always exceeds the hobbs goals. Yes, I would like to see our Squadron double in size, but we would be recruiting for assistants to the assistants. Its hard to walk up to someone and be able to say 'we need your help' or 'we have the perfect spot for you'.

Any ideas GREATLY appreciated.

There are 34 positions in the squadron duty assignment list. Add 3 people for dedicated GSAR SQTRs and 3 people for Pilots/Aviation SQTRs, 2 more for fudge factor to assist with areas that require more work than normal and where people in other DAs can't help out... and the answer is 42.

Don't Panic.
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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,381

« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2017, 02:18:57 PM »

A huge issue, as I have said before, is the complete lack of knowledge of CAP among the general public. National seems to think ALL recruiting needs to be local. National, IMHO, needs to be doing public awareness and information campaigns about CAP. When the first 20 secs of your 30 sec elevator speech is explaining what CAP is, you don't have time to talk about what may interest your target.

100% agree with this statement.

When you say "Boy Scouts," or "Girl Scouts," or "Air Force," people don't hesitate to understand what these things are. It has nothing to do with the dates they were founded and everything to do with Public Affairs. CAP is so heavily advertised at the local level, and maybe a lot of that is because the squadron level is constructed based on who's available and not what/who is "provided."

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Al Sayre
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,515
Unit: SER-MS-001

Mississippi Wing
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2017, 06:49:29 PM »


The absolute worst thing you can do, especially with seniors, is to recruit a bunch of warm bodies without a corresponding organizational need and a roadmap for their training. Sit down with your squadron commander, deputy commander and probably the PDO and look at what the squadron needs first.


Is there an 'ideal' squadron size? We have 37 seniors, with about 25 that show up to each meeting. From what I can see most every position is filled and with backup assistants. We have 5 (or more) MPs, so the plane is kept very busy and always exceeds the hobbs goals. Yes, I would like to see our Squadron double in size, but we would be recruiting for assistants to the assistants. Its hard to walk up to someone and be able to say 'we need your help' or 'we have the perfect spot for you'.

Any ideas GREATLY appreciated.

There are 34 positions in the squadron duty assignment list. Add 3 people for dedicated GSAR SQTRs and 3 people for Pilots/Aviation SQTRs, 2 more for fudge factor to assist with areas that require more work than normal and where people in other DAs can't help out... and the answer is 42.

Don't Panic.

42 - The answer to life, the universe, and everything...
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Lt Col Al Sayre
MS Wing Staff Dude
Admiral, Great Navy of the State of Nebraska
GRW #2787
arajca
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 4,278

« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2017, 07:33:02 PM »


The absolute worst thing you can do, especially with seniors, is to recruit a bunch of warm bodies without a corresponding organizational need and a roadmap for their training. Sit down with your squadron commander, deputy commander and probably the PDO and look at what the squadron needs first.


Is there an 'ideal' squadron size? We have 37 seniors, with about 25 that show up to each meeting. From what I can see most every position is filled and with backup assistants. We have 5 (or more) MPs, so the plane is kept very busy and always exceeds the hobbs goals. Yes, I would like to see our Squadron double in size, but we would be recruiting for assistants to the assistants. Its hard to walk up to someone and be able to say 'we need your help' or 'we have the perfect spot for you'.

Any ideas GREATLY appreciated.

There are 34 positions in the squadron duty assignment list. Add 3 people for dedicated GSAR SQTRs and 3 people for Pilots/Aviation SQTRs, 2 more for fudge factor to assist with areas that require more work than normal and where people in other DAs can't help out... and the answer is 42.

Don't Panic.

42 - The answer to life, the universe, and everything...
But what is the question?
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Luis R. Ramos
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,661

« Reply #20 on: December 12, 2017, 07:53:48 PM »

I do not know what question were they addressing.

But the one they should be addressing is:

How do we recruit senior members?


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Squadron Administrative Officer
Squadron Communication Officer
Squadron Emergency Services Officer
Geber
Member

Posts: 68

« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2017, 10:16:21 AM »


Is there an 'ideal' squadron size? We have 37 seniors, with about 25 that show up to each meeting. From what I can see most every position is filled and with backup assistants. We have 5 (or more) MPs, so the plane is kept very busy and always exceeds the hobbs goals. Yes, I would like to see our Squadron double in size, but we would be recruiting for assistants to the assistants. Its hard to walk up to someone and be able to say 'we need your help' or 'we have the perfect spot for you'.

Any ideas GREATLY appreciated.

With 37 seniors and no mention of cadets, I presume this is a composite or senior squadron, so one of its main purposes is SAR and similar missions. From my experience with volunteer fire companies and ambulance squads, attendance at an evening meeting is far better than turn-out Monday through Friday 9 AM - 5 PM, because many members work first shift and are not available. I think ability to respond to a 1st shift weekday no-play mission is the most demanding staffing criterion.
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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,381

« Reply #22 on: December 13, 2017, 10:56:06 AM »

My unit used LinkedIn for recruiting senior members. It was just another area to get the unit's 'face' out there and try to appeal to not just job hunters but the browsers.

If you've got an active unit, especially one with an aircraft, that's good marketing.

But you need to see what the morale is like on the floor for new members. Are they getting access to that aircraft? If a new person comes in and sits down with the pilots, are the pilots telling that person "Oh, you won't touch this plane for 6 months." That's a problem if that happens. And it most certainly does happen.

I started off at a unit where I walked into a very active hangar; late spring, a lot going on, very exciting. But I was constantly sitting there waiting for my instructor pilot to give me the attention I thought I was getting when we talked over email and on the phone. Every time I showed up, I ended up sitting there wasting my evening. We maybe did two sessions of ground, but never got into the plane except for one evening when he didn't show and another pilot took me over to the aircraft and had me play around with the G1000 (not my first time with one, but hey, it's "training"---a step forward, so I thought). Even the unit Commander said "You just have to bug him until he sits down with you." No, I'm not doing that. It's ridiculous. That's the Commander's job. Ended up making a buddy with one of the Mission Scanners. He said he only touched the aircraft during his qualification and never again. He didn't get on the roster for training, even when he said he was available, and said he had to bug their instructor for 6 months to get him into the aircraft to begin with (under a different preceding Commander). And that's the gouge about that unit that gets shared when discussions come up.

I try to make sure my senior members are happy. You can't please everyone all the time. But you have to check in on them. When new prospective members come in the door, they're going to talk with your seniors at some point. If your seniors are sharing negative feedback, no matter how great of a recruiting drive you have, those prospects will never get that out of their heads.

This wasn't directly recruiting linked, maybe more retention, but positive morale (retention) from the members will bring positive insight for the prospect (recruiting).
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deepblue1947
Member

Posts: 54
Unit: LA-076

« Reply #23 on: December 14, 2017, 01:14:46 AM »

(Caution, massive tome follows.. Sorry, I got up on my soapbox and got a little hypoxic before I stopped typing and fell off)

I'll echo what Mordecai says about a PAO.  A large component of a successful recruiting program involves organizational awareness in your local community.  If people say "the Civil What Patrol?"  then you're already behind the curve.  More on that later.

I will also caution that the linked slide deck leans heavily toward cohort recruiting for cadets. That said, the objectives remain essentially the same between membership categories: Build economies of scale by grouping your membership in to clearly defined "cohorts" where you can gain the benefit of shepherding several members thru the process of joining and initial training at the same time.  For the most part, the first bits of joining and training are essentially the same for all members, which is helpful to your cohort. After Level I, things tend to become more diffuse for seniors, but its still the same sort of thing. After Level I you can do GES, Comms, get drivers licenses, ICS, etc, all as a cohort, too. Its much more helpful to shepherd those folks thru these flaming hoops as a group than individually.

Enough about cohort recruiting.

Really, the most important thing to do first when attempting to effectively recruit seniors is to examine your needs.

The absolute worst thing you can do, especially with seniors, is to recruit a bunch of warm bodies without a corresponding organizational need and a roadmap for their training. Sit down with your squadron commander, deputy commander and probably the PDO and look at what the squadron needs first.

Build a list of your "most needed" or "most at risk" staff areas and start there. Maybe you don't have hardly any issued equipment, so logistics is being happily nailed down by one of the pilots who know where the aircraft preheater, ground power unit and squadron laptop are.  OK, groovy.  Probably OK there, but certainly if you get a guy who's interested and can "understudy" in logistics, don't turn him away.

But don't just look at what you have now, look at what you might need, or areas where you're thin today and might get thinner down the road.  Is Tom the finance guy doing just fine today, but he's going to retire from his day job next June and he and his wife are going to move to Alabama?  Time to find an understudy for Tom so that next May its not a crazy scramble to find a replacement. :)

And don’t forget: Tom the Finance guy is likely also Tom the Pilot guy, so if he’s one of your mission pilots that’s putting hours on the airplane, you’re going to need to get a new pilot too, to maintain your ratio!

Bottom line for your first step:  Look at what staffing your unit needs to be successful in the next 12-24 months, and then start to plan how to go after these clearly defined roles first.

[Side note here: Something to think about as part of your onboarding process and ongoing senior training, you, your commander and the PDO, with help from the others, need to build up the idea and awareness among your membership that you might be an aviator or a radio operator for the squadron, but the unit will also need to you do *something else* to contribute to the success of the organization alongside that duty.  There is no duty position in eServices for “Organic Control Actuator” or “Self-propelled Aerial Sensor Assembly.” Flying, radio operating and such is considered an ES duty, but it not a duty position. This is often a tough nut to crack when you talk to a guy who says “But I’m just here to fly, man..”  This requires a pretty substantial step change in thinking and culture, else down the road you have no commander candidates, etc. If you don’t have this kind of culture in your unit now, its time to start building it. If you already have this kind of culture, then nevermind me, but definitely keep it going.]

OK, second part: have  plan for what you’re going to have these people DO once they join and get trained. Make sure you have a roadmap or a plan for getting these members “gainfully employed” in the 6-10 months after they complete Level I, or they’re going to drift away.  Have an idea of what you’re going to do with them once the commander clicks “Approve” on their Level I training. Whats next?

Don’t wait till after you recruit people to plan for this. Plan for it in advance.  ES training,  comms training, drivers licenses, etc. All the "ancillary stuff leading up to making someone a contributory

And lastly, Where do you go to then find these people?

Like I said above, remember that you’re likely recruiting people who are interested in your mission areas first, who are going to subsequently staff the unit for all the functions to run it second.

The point here is that your main members interest in CAP will come primarily from the mission aspects of your squadron: flying, ES, comms, etc, first. You're not likely to specifically recruit someone *just* to be the Personnel officer or the Finance officer. I mean, maybe you will, but those are going to be few and far between. Some guy isn't likely going to come to CAP, buy an aviator shirt and grey slacks, just to sit at the airport on a Tuesday evening and make sure that the $450 the squadron has in the bank is still there, and do nothing else. That person is likely there for flying, comms or ES first, so concentrate on those areas.

So your list of "most needed" or "most at risk" staff areas from step one is the “what you need,” partly., think about where they came from originally and start there.

So, maybe you have a burning need for some comms folks.  So cast your net toward the local ham clubs. Offer to present on the Civil Air Patrol to a local ham club. (they will likely *jump* at the opportunity to have someone other than Fred present yet again on the benefits of tubes versus integrated circuits in ham gear, or to demonstrate his spark gap set that he built from Marconi's original plans in 1969) 

Get smart about Civil Air Patrol communications, or bring along your Communications Officer, and be prepared to answer questions about the value proposition of a CAP communicator and the likely questions you’re going to get:

“What am I going to do?”

“How soon am I going to do it?”

“Why can’t I use the radios and antennas I already have?”

“What do you mean I have to go thru additional training? I have a SuperExtraGeneralAdvanced license!”

Make sure you’re at least remotely knowledgeable (or your comm officer is) about the whys and wherefores of CAP comms, the starting points, the training required, etc, before you go talk to a bunch of communicators.

Or perhaps, you’re down to 3 mission pilots and you really need 5 to keep the airplane flying appropriately with hours.  OK, well, strangely enough, you’re likely to find pilots … at an airport! >😊  Start with the local airpatch. Go talk to the local EAA chapter or something.

Don’t come in “Hey, you should come fly with Civil Air Patrol!” but maybe go in a little more “soft” with a nice presentation about how the new 406mhz beacons integrate into the SARSAT system and are a good thing, or about how not closing out your flight plan gets lots of people out of bed at night.  Show them that CAP folks are knowledgeable and smart about aviation.

Do that at EVERY airpatch within your recruiting area. Maybe they have a pilot club, maybe an airport association. Meet with them. But don’t walk into the flight school or the FBO and start recruiting 40hr PIC pilots with the promise of “Free Flying.” Aim at the guys who are experienced aviators, Instrument and Commercial, who have the ability to spin up quickly to become mission pilots, check pilots and such with 180-270 days of becoming a member. Be open and frank with the low time guys “Your best bet is to continue to build PIC hours, come on board CAP and start flying as a mission scanner/mission observer so you can understand how the whole thing comes together before you get the required hours. At 100 hrs PIC you can become a transport mission pilot and maybe get some flying paid for in relocating aircraft…” that kind of thing.

Recruiting ES folks (ground, mission base) is a little different, but you can use some FB advertising to focus on people with emergency management backgrounds or interests, for example.

As you add members to the unit, you’re going to also find people who have interest in *other* areas. “Tim the pilot is a bookkeeper, he’s willing to help in finance. Sam the radio guy is also an amateur photographer, he can take awesome pictures…”  Now you’re finding the people that fit into those other areas as you talk to them during the onboarding process.

At the same time you’re doing all this, your PA should be busy building local awareness over all the cool stuff you’re doing at the unit.  Since you want to likely attracts ES, flying & comms people first, then you need to build local awareness in your units activities and missions in ES, flying, comms, etc. And *most* of that is thru PAO work. But some of that is thru community engagement that might be a little outside of what you would consider your normal mission scope.

Also, unless you're the odd senior squadron that marches in local parades (I have to admit I've never seen that!), you’re going to have be be a little more creative in your community engagement. What kinds of *other* things are going to build the CAP "Brand Awareness" in your area? Maybe you helped out the local Marine Corps unit with Toys for Tots this year?  How about a volunteering day at the local homeless shelter? Photos of folks in CAP uniforms serving up homecooked fare for people less fortunate than us is a great public interest story.  Pretty much anything (except “LOCAL CAP ROBS LIQUOR STORE!”) is going to be positive and interesting press and is going to raise your visibility in the local area.

That’s about all I have for now. I have to drive to Boston!

Darin I just now got back to this thread I started and want to thank you for taking the time to post this reply.  There are a lot of very good ideas within your post and I will certainly implement these suggestions into a structured plan or outline.  I appreciate this very much,
MG
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chuckmilam
Forum Regular

Posts: 116
Unit: GLR-KY-216

« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2017, 09:56:03 AM »

There is probably nobody I listen to more on this forum than Darin Ninness.
Dog gone it. Now I can't get in my car because my head just swelled up

Next up in the CAP balloon fleet:  The giant NIN-head.   ;D
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NIN
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« Reply #25 on: December 14, 2017, 10:04:17 AM »

Next up in the CAP balloon fleet:  The giant NIN-head.   ;D

Oh, dear lord.

"Small children ran screaming from the Albuquerque Balloon Fest ground upon the inflation of the Civil Air Patrol's newest 'shape' balloon, the NIN-head."

Stahp!
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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2018 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 28,920

« Reply #26 on: December 14, 2017, 11:53:57 AM »

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MacGruff
Seasoned Member

Posts: 343

« Reply #27 on: December 15, 2017, 11:55:46 AM »

Any question. Any question at all. 42 is the universal ANSWER.

you gotta read the books....    ;)
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NIN
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Posts: 4,927
Unit: of issue

« Reply #28 on: December 15, 2017, 12:05:05 PM »

Any question. Any question at all. 42 is the universal ANSWER.

you gotta read the books....    ;)
You're a real hoopie frood. Clearly a man who knows where his towel is.
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Darin Ninness, Lt Col, CAP
Sq Bubba, Wing Dude, National Guy
I like to have Difficult Adult Conversations™
The contents of this post are Copyright © 2007-2018 by NIN. All rights are reserved. Specific permission is given to quote this post here on CAP-Talk only.
RiverAux
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 10,967

« Reply #29 on: December 15, 2017, 01:38:23 PM »

At least as far as ES goes, I always figured I needed 6 qualified people for each potential slot for a mission tasking:  1 plane equals a need for at least 6 pilots, 6 observers, and 6 scanners (yes, I recognize that some people can fill multiple slots, but I'd rather plan for the worst case scenario which would be that only 1 person qualified for each slot would be available at any given time.  One Ground Team probably needs 6 GTLs and 30 GTMs.  Throw in some other random positions and it isn't hard to come up with a need for 50-60 people just to be able to really guarantee response to a mission at any time. 

As far as putting that many people in the limited admin slots at the squadron level, that isn't really an issue.  Everyone doesn't need to be in an admin position at all times.  Most people are going to be more or less satisfied with their current grade and may not need to be involved in admin at some point after joining CAP.  We should all be thrilled if we get a squadron in a position where we don't need to assign every available warm body to an admin slot.  Nice to have some followers around....
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 02:51:35 PM by RiverAux » Logged
PHall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 6,200

« Reply #30 on: December 15, 2017, 02:25:07 PM »

Any question. Any question at all. 42 is the universal ANSWER.

you gotta read the books....    ;)

And thanks for the fish!   ;)
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Spam
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,123
Unit: GA-001

« Reply #31 on: December 15, 2017, 02:54:13 PM »

Any question. Any question at all. 42 is the universal ANSWER.

you gotta read the books....    ;)

And thanks for the fish!   ;)

Sigh. Brains the size of planets and we're reading Cap Talk... sigh...

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ColonelJack
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,362
Unit: SER-GA-153

« Reply #32 on: December 15, 2017, 10:54:47 PM »

Any question. Any question at all. 42 is the universal ANSWER.

you gotta read the books....    ;)

And thanks for the fish!   ;)

Sigh. Brains the size of planets and we're reading Cap Talk... sigh...

Life?  Don't talk to me about life ...

Jack
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Jack Bagley, Ed. D.
Lt. Col., Civil Air Patrol
Gill Robb Wilson Award No. 1366, 29 Nov 1991
Admiral, Great Navy of the State of Nebraska
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CAP Talk  |  General Discussion  |  Membership  |  Topic: Recruitment of Senior Members
 


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