For this Fast 5, Mandy McIntyre, owner of Level Up Consultants and an active member of National Women in Roofing, spoke with Roofing & Exteriors at the 2022 International Roofing Expo in Las Vegas about the paramount importance of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) when looking to recruit and retain employees in the current hiring climate.
Fast 5 is a Q&A series featuring the insights and expertise of construction industry experts. Here's what McIntyre had to say.
What advice do you have for companies looking to better recruit and retain employees?
McIntyre: Right now, big keywords are diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). I think people hear those phrases and keywords and don't really know what they mean, but they are such a great recruiting and retaining tool to attract a wider workforce and different demographics. You can then retain employees with inclusion measurements: How inclusive is your company? Do you have a DEI statement? Are you doing DEI training? Those are tremendous recruiting tactics that I think people overlook.
How has this type of focus benefitted roofing companies with which you've worked?
McIntyre: In my time at 1st Choice Roofing, we had excellent results. The ROI on putting these initiatives forward has been huge, so that would be my No. 1 suggestion for contractors. Finding labor is hard enough, but if you expand your horizons and make yourself more appealing to underrepresented groups, you have a whole new demographic to reach.
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What actionable steps can companies take to increase their diversity?
McIntyre: The biggest thing organizations and companies can do is get their leadership teams on the same page. Get your company culture set and everyone on the same page.
The next thing I would say is to put a simple DEI statement on your website because your customers and potential employees will see that. When they see that you are making a statement on your website, that goes a long way in and of itself.
Are there also internal-only steps that roofing and exteriors companies can take to improve their focus on DEI?
McIntyre: I would also suggest hosting lunch-and-learn sessions and soft-skill trainings on DEI. It can be as simple as saying, "OK, in June, we'll talk about the history of Juneteenth, and we'll come at it from a historical and factual standpoint." Start with those steps because with some people, it can get a bit contentious, and while it really shouldn't, people are afraid to ask questions or even talk about these topics. So, when you start from a historical viewpoint, you open up the door to a better discussion.
What advice do you have specifically focused on attracting women and the next generation to the roofing industry?
McIntyre: A lot of times—and there are stats on this, though I don't have them handy—when you post a job, a woman is less likely to apply if she doesn't meet every single qualification, whereas a man is more likely to apply even if he doesn't meet all of the qualifications.
The verbiage in your job postings is critical to attracting females into your workforce. And then, when you do bring in a woman for an interview, if you have other women on staff, it's helpful to ask that woman to sit in on the discussion. This small adjustment helps the interviewee feel like there's someone in the room like her who may be better able to understand her viewpoint and unique experiences.
Typically it's a male-dominated industry, and it can be very intimidating. The female interviewee may not be as forthcoming in a situation like that. Then you're missing out on new ideas and opportunities that this woman may have to offer your company because she was perhaps a little too shy.
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