TIPS FOR IMPROVING EMPLOYEE RECRUITING & RETENTION
In recent years, demand for outdoor living installations has steadily increased. In meeting that demand, a company’s success often hinges on the ability to recruit good employees and keep them on board. However, many contractors across the country continue to face a steady decline in the availability of quality labor.
The Belgard Contractor Advisory Council is made up of highly successful installation contractors from various areas of the U.S. and Canada. Belgard reached out to the Council for advice regarding employee recruitment and retention and to learn whether the COVID-19 pandemic has had an effect. The results of our survey are below.
EFFECTS OF COVID-19
Although the overwhelming majority of the Council agrees that employee recruitment and retention has become increasingly difficult over the years, there is good news. For most of the Council members, the pandemic has had little effect on recruitment. And, nearly half of the Council noted that retention has actually improved since the COVID-19 outbreak.
MOST EFFECTIVE METHODS OF RECRUITMENT
Although some contractors are able to find the occasional employee by posting a job opening online, every member of the Council reported that the most effective method for finding good people is through good people. They all note that their best employees come from referrals—either from current employees or from their personal and professional networks.
Additional Tips from the Council:
- Try to recruit employees from other construction industries. For example, a tile installer or a handyman can easily be trained to install pavers.
- During job interviews, create some excitement around the craftsmanship of hardscape installations and the value that it adds to property and outdoor life.
- Express to potential employees how stable your company is, even in a volatile environment. This provides a sense of security.
- Ask your current staff to spread the word when there’s an opening. This goes further than you think.
FACTORS THAT AFFECT COMPANY LOYALTY
The Council overwhelming agreed that the best way to keep good employees is to treat them with respect and pay them well. Basically, make each person feel valued. The availability of company benefits can also play a factor—such as paid vacation and sick days, flexible schedule options and health insurance.
Additional Tips from the Council:
- Continually invest in employee training and continuing education.
- Hold regular team-building events to help build camaraderie, like a happy hour or team contests.
- Create a company culture centered on an attitude of gratitude. Constantly thank your employees for work well done.
- Create a family culture by hosting events and allowing employees to invite their family members.
- Invest in quality tools and equipment so that the work is more enjoyable and less exhausting.
- Don’t hang onto employees who have a constant negative attitude, even if they are good workers. Attempt to turn attitudes around with regular positive reinforcement (in public) and reprimands when necessary (in private). But after a certain time, negativity can infect the team, sour the overall company culture, and drive other employees away.
- Hand installation can be exhausting work that many employees cannot envision doing long term. Offer advancement opportunities that allow employees to think of the work as a career versus a job. For example, promote quality employees to designer, equipment operator or crew foreman.
- Don’t overwork employees. The current generation puts a high value on a healthy work/life balance.
- Get to know your employees better. This shows you care and makes them feel more comfortable and secure.
- Give regular raises, despite prices. The cost of finding and training a new employee is more expensive.