Now, tradespeople aren’t known for backing down from a challenge. If we were, rain, snow, and the hidden surprises that lurk behind our clients’ walls would’ve shuttered all of our businesses long ago. No, we adapt and evolve to ensure that we continue providing the highest quality and best service. We need to take the same approach to workforce development. We need to become employers of choice and deliver the same exceptional experience to our employees that we do to our clients.
Workforce Development: Recruiting, Hiring, On-Boarding, and Training
“You’re hired!” Feels good, right? But hiring an employee doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve hired the right employee – or that they’ll stay with you through to the next project. This is why it is essential that we take a multifaceted approach that encompasses strategies for effective:
Think of it like a chair. What happens if a leg or two is wobbly or broken? Well… you don’t want to be the one having a seat, right? Right. So, let’s look at the four “legs” of effective workforce development.
There are two layers of recruiting for jobs in the skilled trades: it is important to take action on a business-wide level, as well as on an industry-wide level. There’s good news on that front. A recent survey found hope with Gen Z. Just a quarter believe that they need a four year degree to succeed in their professional life, while over half want to pursue a degree or certificate in three years or less. And no one wants to be saddled with crushing student loan debt!
At the same time, 63% of Gen Zs feel that they are under-informed about options besides traditional four-year degree programs. Another opportunity for us. Educate, inform, engage, and spark an interest in young folks. Organizations like the Hub & Spoke Institute give people the tools they need to pursue high paying, rewarding jobs.
A Harris Poll found that nearly half (47%) of older Millennials wish they had chosen a different career path when first starting out. They are carrying tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars in debt while working in areas that either have nothing to do with their degrees or which they find unrewarding. A career change may be just what they need – and just what you need to build a strong team for your business.
Participating in industry-wide initiatives, whether through an organization like Hub & Spoke or through partnerships with local high schools, is an effective way to recruit now and build a pipeline of future talent.
Now, what about recruiting on a business-wide level?
Build your brand as an employer of choice. This encompasses everything from compensation to employee safety to company culture. Why should a talented, skilled individual want to work with you?
Treat your current team well. It costs less to retain great employees than it does to recruit new ones. You obviously want to do both, but in your quest to hire, don’t neglect the folks who are contributing to your company every day. They can also be a rich source of referrals and recommendations!
Consider sign-on bonuses.
Publicize openings far and wide. The majority of job searchers utilize social media, so be sure to pepper LinkedIn, Facebook, and other platforms with your “now hiring” ads.
Highlight any education/training programs that you offer to get people in the door. They may lack certain hard skills required but if they have the right soft skills (e.g. communication, attitude, perseverance, ability to listen and interact with people, etc.), they could be a great fit.
Get out in the community. Participate in job fairs, information nights, speaking engagements with students, roundtables, etc. Stir up interest.
What recruiting strategies are you using now? Are they yielding results?
Some tips for more effective processes after you have found potential employees:
Hiring: Create a streamlined process. Nothing is more frustrating for job searchers than companies that can’t seem to get it together when it comes to hiring. Whether it’s having to wait for responses to messages and inquiries or uncertainty about their role, an ineffective hiring process is a quick way to turn off talent.
Make sure you have your process and procedures nailed down. Every step should be documented and followed to ensure that you can move quickly and that your new hires move right along with you. Don’t risk them opting for the competition.
On-Boarding: Don’t you love it when you start a new job and have absolutely no idea what to do, where to go for help, or how to complete certain tasks? We didn’t think so. Again, your onboarding process needs to be tight and streamlined. An employee handbook can help people acclimate but go further. For example, have new folks shadow experienced team members as they learn the ropes. Don’t leave them to fend for themselves.
Create an onboarding schedule that encompasses all the details (e.g. employee/tax/insurance forms, ID badges, and where the coffee is!) and ensure that your new hires have access to all relevant contact information, procedures, etc. Be sure they know they can always come to you when they have questions.
Training: One of the issues that turns people away from the skilled trades is the false perception that there are no opportunities for career advancement. This is not the case. Training gets new hires up to speed, of course, but don’t forget to offer (and market!) your ongoing education offerings. An IBM study found that when employees do not feel as if they are developing with a company, they are 12 times more likely to leave. And we can’t say we blame them.
Whether it is the chance to earn a certificate that opens up new avenues or a class that helps them hone new skills, your commitment to training is key to recruiting and retaining employees and improving job performance and satisfaction.
Workforce development is mission-critical for those of us in the home industry. We are faced with the challenge of not only recruiting for our businesses, but also of promoting the skilled trades as a viable career path that leads to professional success. We are up for the challenge.