The number one problem I have been hearing about from clients this year is not a lack of leads. No, leads have been strong across the U.S. The problem has been a lack of good people. I have actually been asked if I can provide recruiting services, not marketing! If you do need help finding good help, I would recommend contacting my friends at Summit Services. They provide headhunting services for estimators, office staff and, I believe, help with hiring field employees too.
This brief post is a refresher to some of you and maybe something new for others. It is quite simple: Always Be Recruiting. You’ve seen this concept before on vehicles, websites and storefronts: “We’re Hiring!” or “We are always looking for talented people to join our team!” Some of these postings stay up year round for businesses. It should really be no different for the home improvement industry.
Finding and keeping good employees in the trades today is harder than ever, especially for the painting industry. I’m not sure why that is, although I have my opinion. I personally think a growing number of painters, carpenters, framers and so on do not take pride in their work today. They look at their job as ordinary and non-extraordinary with everything else the world appears to offer them. Perhaps there are also a few more of these tradesmen who just were not raised with good work ethics. Whatever the reason, it appears there is no real end to this problem of finding and keeping good people.
A Long Term Employee?
The days of a long term employee are over. I’ve read a number of statistical reports over the last decade that say if an employee stays with you for 5 years, that is considered a long term and loyal employee. If this is the norm, then we should all stop thinking about how to find a 30 year employee and just know that the employment expectancy is 3-5 years for a decent employee. If someone gets past the 5 year mark today, consider rolling out the red carpet for him/her! Just don’t be too shocked if he gives his notice at year 6 to look for “greener pastures” elsewhere! Remember, you are always recruiting. He can be replaced; even though it can and normally is painful.
My dad is good at finding and keeping good people. He is always on the lookout for people that will be a good fit for his company. I remember one time at a restaurant, my dad handed one of the servers his business card and gave a quick sales pitch about his company. He also recently hired a new employee with no painting experience who he met at my brother’s new brewery (side note: my dad doesn’t even drink! but he does prospect!). The new painter is working out well and his staff really likes him. A keeper!
Don’t Let Employees Discourage You
There will always be a turnover of employees. There is not much you can do about this as I’ve mentioned above. There are, however, plenty of things you can do to help keep employees happy and prolong their employment. Another tip I’ll share from working with my dad: spend time getting to know your people. My dad cares about his people. He runs a small painting company in San Diego with a very low turnover rate. Though he is small, he is profitable and nationally recognized by paint companies of all sizes. I think it is because of how he runs his business and treats his employees. He keeps tabs on how his staff is doing. He pays them above average wages. He also has taken many of them out for breakfast just to talk.
I hope this post will just inspire you to press on as a business owner. Hiring, recruiting and keeping employees is just a part of what it takes to create and run a fantastic company. It really should be treated as being just as important as sales and marketing.