According to a study by the Associated General Contractors of America, 72% of respondents believe that the current labor shortage is their biggest hurdle to overcome this year.
In that same study, 89% of contractors reported having trouble finding skilled labor.
Many of these contractors are competing for the same employee.
To help ease the burden, Grandy & Associates identified 5 keys to overcoming the labor shortage, presented in a webinar by CEO Bill Kinnard and Business Trainer & Consultant Patrick Chapman.
Keep an eye out
Perhaps you’ve seen “Glengarry Glen Ross”—or at least the scene where Alec Baldwin’s character is trying to motivate Premiere Properties’ sales team.
“A: Always, B: Be, C: Closing—always be closing,” he tells them emphatically.
For Key No. 1, Grandy & Associates had modified that classic sales term to fit employment concerns—ABL, or “Always Be Looking.”
As Chapman noted, there are plenty of job boards—Indeed, Monster, Glass Door, Zip Recruiter—but those aren’t as automatic for those in the roofing or construction industry as it may be in other trades, he added.
Chapman recommends searching trade-specific job boards. He also suggests checking out local colleges/trade schools, job fairs, trade associations and non-profit partners.
But perhaps you don’t always have to look that far.
“Your employees are really your best recruiters,” he said. “At the end of the day, they’re really your company ambassadors. They can be your eyes and ears in the community.”
Social media is also an option.
According to Capterra, 73% of 18-34-year-olds found their last job through social media.
According to Jobvite, 83% of job seekers prefer Facebook over any other social network. And, according to Jobvite, 59% of recruiters rated candidates sourced through social media as “high quality.”
Hiring the right candidate
Key No. 2 is the effective use of assessments—finding the right person for the job.
Grandy & Associates created benchmarks for today’s career technicians and salespeople.
“Now we have a measuring stick to measure this individual up against” instead of just an assessment, Kinnard said.
A way to gauge if an employee is the "right fit" is through behavioral testing.
In its testing, Grandy & Associates identifies three things, according to Kinnard:
- Behaviors—how people do things;
- Driving forces- why they do things;
- Competencies- what have they mastered
Kinnard said there are four critical traits a service technician needs to have mastered:
- Frequent communication and engagement with others;
- The ability to adapt to various situations with ease;
- The ability to build a rapport with a wide variety of individuals;
- Shifting rapidly between tasks
When it comes to the “why,” Kinnard said, the service tech should be structured, resourceful, objective and collaborative.
“The driving force is the ‘fire in their belly,’” Kinnard said. “Driving forces absolutely steer the behaviors. So, if we don’t look at that, we’re only getting part of the picture.”
The core competencies this tech must have mastered include:
- Customer focus;
- Personal accountability;
- Problem solving;
- Continuous learning;
When it comes to competencies, Kinnard said, "If I have time, I can teach those.
"When you look at the behaviors, I can make you aware of a behavior, and you can adapt. But you can't live in that adapting world,” he continued.
“Then you get into driving forces. You can't change those they are what they are," Kinnard added.
"So, here's the thing: If I hire somebody, especially somebody who I'm going to put a lot of time and energy and money into them over the next couple of years to grow my own 'Supertech,' they better have what it takes to make it happen," Kinnard said, matter-of-factly. "Because if they don't match, at least 10 out of these 15 areas. . . it doesn't matter how much time, energy, or money you put in, they will never be a superior performer in this role."
To see how that tech matches up, Grandy & Associates provides a color-coded results sheet denoting where this person's compatibilities lie.
Additionally, companies must look at themselves and their own processes.
Key No. 3 is having a clear onboarding process.
Chapman suggests companies focus on what they can control.
“Make sure you’re able to live up to [your] recruiting promises,” he said. “Did you sell a position or describe a position?”
According to Inc., 30% of new hires know within two weeks if they’re going to stick it out with the company. More than 50%, according to Inc., have made that decision in the first month.
While Chapman said he’s heard from employers that the current generation of job seekers are “entitled,” Decision-Wise said that two-thirds of the workforce is comprised of disengaged employees.
The top new hire complaints, Chapman said, are that the position was different than advertised; management was different than portrayed (in the job description and/or interview process) and there’s no clear process for advancement.
“It’s never been more important to have a clear onboarding process,” Chapman said. “Communicating the vision and clear pathway to grow in the organization has never been more important.”
Building on that, Key No. 4 is giving employees a pathway to advance (Where am I going and how will I get there?)
Chapman said that among the top concerns employees have—especially younger workers— is not having a clear pathway to advancement presented to them.
“The best employees are the result of a great process you strategically and intentionally put in place,” Chapman said.
Ready-made employees are a myth, he noted, adding that employers can’t hold employees accountable without the tools to perform the job.
According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), 60% of employers can’t find applicants with the perfect skill blend and 30% of job seekers say their skills don’t match available jobs.
Chapman suggests using team training and following the motto WWDWW—Who will do what when.
Key questions to ask, according to Chapman:
- Do you feel the company is meeting your expectations?
- Are you experiencing any difficulties?
- Do you feel you’re making progress towards goals?
Four commitments for an employer to make, according to Chapman:
- Develop in alignment with company goals;
- Give them resources;
- Transparent and frequent communication;
- Hold them accountable for clearly defined performance standards
Chapman referred to the Zig Ziglar quote: “The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is not training and keeping them.”
Learning doesn’t stop
According to Kinnard, employees are a business owner’s most important asset.
Their development is the core tenant of Key No. 5—continuous training.
Failure to provide continuous training leads to high turnover rates, the loss of competitive advantage and missed opportunities to capitalize on the latest processes, technology and trends, Kinnard said.
The phrase “We’ve always done it that way” should be verboten, he emphasized.
The benefits to ongoing training, per Kinnard, including mitigating weaknesses, which helps employees hone their knowledge and skills and saves time and money by avoiding repeat mistakes; improves job fulfillment and increases employee performance.
“Professional development creates an environment of competent, highly skilled individuals,” Kinnard said.
According to Salisbury University, positive job experiences with job training equates to positive attitudes about receiving training.
Kinnard also suggests business owners embrace technology.
Since the current generation has grown up with technology, he said, it may be hard to attract good young talent without going digital.
Ways to fill roles
SHRM polled employers on ways they’ve filled roles. Fifty-seven percent are offering referral bonuses.
Other options include upskilling and reskilling staff and boosting pay.
Of course, those things don’t guarantee more applications.
SHRM polled job seekers and found the top reasons for remaining unemployed include not receiving responses from employers; the fear of COVID-19 exposure and being offered less pay than their previous gig.
Watch the webinar here.