By Tom Grandy, Founder
The economy is coming back. The phone is ringing, people are spending money and business is good. Suddenly, it seems like everyone that had ever thought about having their equipment repaired or replaced now wants you to do it…yesterday! Sales are skyrocketing. There is only one problem: a serious shortage of qualified technicians. Unfortunately, the problem is throughout the entire trades industry.
If you were hoping for a silver bullet that would enable you to immediately hire as many techs as you need, I am afraid you are going to be disappointed. There are no instant answers to the tech shortage but here are a few ideas that might help attract a few extra techs in the not-too-distant future:
- Techs are attracted to companies that reward performance.
Every employee needs a bit of a carrot in front of them to increase productivity. Likewise, all techs want YOU to know they are doing a good job. The solution is pretty simple: create a system that rewards performance. If they work a bit harder or more efficiently, award a bonus. You have probably heard this little tip before – “reward the performance you want repeated”. How does that help recruit new techs? Techs are looking for companies that both appreciate their work and provide rewards for outstanding performance.
- Increasing your hourly rate may not be as costly as you think. Several years ago, I was doing some consulting for an HVAC company (principles are the same). Most companies in their area were paying techs $18.00 to $25.00 an hour. This particular company was paying $35.00 an hour! I asked how he could afford to do that. His reply surprised me a bit. The owner explained that paying the highest wages in the area not only attracted the best techs but those higher paid techs were more efficient, seldom called in sick, grumbled less, had a limited numbers of callbacks and were more respectful to management and customers. Turnover was down which also which minimized the need and expense for training. Simply having a workforce he could count on more than made up for the extra dollars he was paying. Make sense? I think it does.
Where is the best pool of potential techs located?
Let’s face it, not everyone excelled in high school. I for one, did not wake up to the fact that I was going to have to make a living one day until I was in the middle of my junior year. Guess what, there are a lot of quality individuals that woke up late too. Where are they? Believe it or not, many are in the retail or food industry or perhaps at Walmart.
I’m sure you have been in a situation where you walked into a store and were immediately impressed by an employee. They were friendly, helpful and respectful. When I or my wife run into an individual like that, we always turn to each other and say, “I’ll bet that person is not here next time we come!” Why? Because others will notice their work ethic and attitude and will offer them a job.
When you run into an individual that impresses you, hand them a business card and tell them how much you appreciate their attitude. Tell them if they ever consider changing careers to give you a call. I have had contractors tell me they have done that and they received calls months, sometimes years later. The principle is simple: hire for attitude and train for service. Finding new techs in today’s market is a 24/7/365 job.
- Is your company a great place to work?
Family is special. We talked about this a bit in an article a couple months ago. I am guessing that when you were growing up you had at least one special friend and that you wanted to spend as much time at their house as you could. Why? Because you felt loved and accepted. How many times have you heard someone say – the place where they work is like being part of a family? Family works hard together, relaxes together, meets each other’s needs and is willing to lay down their lives for other members. Really great families are hard to find but when you do find one, it’s really, really special. It’s a group you want to be part of for a very long time.
That leaves us with a question. Are you a good company to work for? Is there a family environment? Do employees want to be there? Family environments attract others that want to be part of it as well. When you found that special family when you were young, I am betting it wasn’t long before other kids in your neighborhood ended up spending time at the home as well. A true family environment attracts employees who want to be part of the family as well.
Creating a family environment, paying above industry wages and benefits, recognizing and rewarding outstanding performance and being around others with great attitudes may not instantly create new employees. However, doing these things will attract new employees over time and I would be willing to bet, most will stay for an extended time. Remember, happy employees tell their friends who just might want to work there as well.
Grandy & Associates is now offering a brand-new program called Contractor Academy. It has three levels to choose from, each with its unique member benefits. Even the first level (for only $29.95/month) includes membership to the Profit University Audio Series (over 300 audio presentations with a new one being posted each month) and access to all of current and future on-demand courses. Purchasing one course alone would cover your membership! Check it out and sign up today!