By Nancy O’Hare Zika

Recruitment … it is at the forefront of every person’s mind in the PHCE industry, and for very good reason.  This is a real problem!  We are currently looking at a 340,000 position shortage of tradespeople in the US, and with 60% of the current workforce retiring in the next ten years, that number could very well rise to 1.1 million.  So, as business owners, what do we do? Honestly, you have two viable options: grow your own or hire existing technicians from the competition.  To be successful at either one requires you to be the employer of choice in your area.  Seems simple… right??   There are a number of ways to become the “Employer of Choice” in your area.  It starts with making it known to the outside world why they should come and work for you.  For someone on the outside looking in, the culture of your company is virtually invisible.  When you’re working within (or “inside”) your own business, it seems like everyone should know what a great company you have… But they don’t.   Recognize this and figure out a way to make it known!  The best way is through effective marketing.  Believe it or not, there is actually a way to “market” your company that will both increase your customer base and also have potential technicians flocking to your door.

You need to tell your story. By doing so, you will make an emotional connection with the potential technicians of your area.  This needs to be done honestly and openly.  As much as we think we are in the plumbing business, or the heating business…we are really in the PEOPLE business.  Be sure you understand the difference.

I am fortunate to have the opportunity to travel around the country visiting PHCE companies, and there is definitely one sentiment that I routinely hear from company owners and management…”We have too much competition in the area.. there are just not enough technicians!”  But… perhaps it’s all about perspective.   You have 15 companies in your service area?? Well, I view that as 15 companies that are currently employing your future technicians.

A quick story:  In 1935 a US shoe company was looking to expand its business overseas.  They sent two of their top sales guys to different areas within this new region.  The owner of the shoe company told both of the salesmen to send word back once they were settled in the new uncharted territory as to how many pairs of shoes they needed shipped over.  A week went by and finally word came from Salesman #1.  He wrote: Disappointing news.  Do not send any.  No one wears shoes here!  The ownership was discouraged and decided they should contact Salesman #2 to tell him to pack up and head home, but before they could get in touch, they received the following message from him:  GREAT NEWS!  Send me as many as possible!  NO ONE WEARS SHOES HERE!

It’s all about perspective.  Be sure that you are effectively marketing your company as THE company of choice in your area- then watch both your customer base and your talent base GROW!


Nancy O’Hare-Zika is the co-owner of Swick Media Services, a Michigan based media company that focuses on the marketing needs of companies in the PHCE industry. You can find more information from Nancy O’Hare-Zika at:

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