Finding and keeping employees is a struggle that many contractors face, so we reached out to some Estimate Rocket customers to see if they had any insight on this issue and they shared some of their strategies for hiring and keeping their team members around.
Preparing to hire
Before you start hiring, you’ll want to put some thought into your current processes and the type of people you want to bring on. The answers to these questions may take some thought, but they’ll put you in a better position when you’re in need of another person:
- How many employees did you hire and how many left this year?
- What do you consider a “good team member” as opposed to a mediocre one?
- What is the cost (in dollars and time) to get a new employee up to your standards?
- What’s the average amount of time an employee works for your company?
- Do you have training programs in place for new team members?
- Do you have ongoing training and skill building programs in place?
Once you have the answers to those questions, you can start working on plans for hiring, keeping team members around, and helping them grow and improve. Having a plan in place for the entire course of your employee’s time at your company can be the difference between someone who leaves after a month and someone who sticks with you for years.
Finding the right team by hiring for culture, rather than experience
Most of the people we spoke with mentioned culture as a big part of their plan. In many cases, it’s easier to train industry skills than attitude, so look for someone who will help improve your company culture - someone enthusiastic and willing to learn.
Hiring a person with a lot of experience could also potentially backfire. If they’ve been trained to work a certain way for a while, it may be a challenge to train them in the way that you do things.
Spreading the word
Create a hiring pamphlet or flier you can hand out that talks about responsibilities, benefits, and what’s great about working at your company.
Talk with everyone you know: family, friends, suppliers, your employees; about hiring and let them know what kind of person you’re looking for. Some companies also have employee incentive programs for referrals that stick around after 6 months or a year.
Scope out local schools. Students often look for recurring seasonal positions, and likely won’t bring “bad habits” from other jobs. High schools and colleges are also a great place to work with your community and set up training and recruiting programs to help get your name out.
Keeping employees around by building a supportive environment
No one wants to come to work and feel mistreated or undervalued. Your company culture needs to be inclusive, helpful, and encouraging, and it needs to start with you. Make yourself available to answer questions, respect your team and treat them fairly, provide encouragement, and reward people for putting in effort and doing well. A simple ‘thank you’ can do wonders for morale.
Team meetings can be important to keep everyone in the loop, but plan fun activities, too. Team building events centered around building morale and loyalty (like a team barbeque or bowling) can also build a sense of community.
Support isn’t just about being friendly and helpful, it’s also about providing your employees with a fair wage and benefits. One Estimate Rocket customer mentioned paying wages based on production rather than years of experience. It helps their team feel that they and their coworkers are being treated and compensated fairly for the work they’re doing.
Helping employees grow through training
Take some time to think about what you can do to help your employees be great team members. Do they need to work on their industry skills? Maybe they could use some improvement in communicating with customers or the rest of the team. Figure out what traits and skills are important for your employees to have and put a plan in place to make sure everyone gets there.
Plan consistent company-wide training to keep everyone on the same page and ensure that one or two people aren’t carrying the rest of the team. Encouraging more senior team members to help or buddy up with newer employees can help each person learn what they need to and create a supportive environment like the one we mentioned earlier.
Some ideas for training:
- Each month, choose a skill to work on and set benchmarks for achievement
- Make skill training a competition or game
- Find ways to thank team members for helping those with less experience
Having a plan is at the core of team success. To be able to hire the right people, you need to have a strategy for how and when you’ll go about looking for people, and an idea of the type of people you’ll look for.
To keep your employees around and happy where they are, create a culture that’s inclusive, welcoming, and helpful. What are some things that would make you feel supported on a team?
Outlining responsibilities, wages, benefits, and opportunities to improve also shows that you respect your employees and want to keep them as part of the team.
It can be overwhelming to even think about all of this planning, but start by keeping it simple and laying out the basic, most important parts of your employee’s time at your company. Take a look at the way you currently do things and see if there’s anything that can be improved.