Hiring and retaining the best employees is key to commercial success in the fast changing roofing industry.
Before You Start Recruiting
When it comes time to start thinking about hiring and recruiting, it is important that you take time to evaluate your company and recruiting process.
For many employees, a company’s reputation can be a deal breaker. When selecting an employer, people look for a company that appreciates them and offers opportunities for personal and business growth. It is important to keep up to speed with the changing world around us by rewarding employees and providing them with extra benefits and rewards to show appreciation for their hard work. This is true to any industry, but especially in the roofing industry as the need for more and more skilled workers increases.
Another step to ensure you are reaching the appropriate applicants, is to write clear and identifiable job descriptions. This includes spelling out what exactly what you are looking for in a candidate including their skill sets, competencies, education levels and whether the position is full or part-time. For example, if you are looking for a roofer with ten years of experience for a full-time position, you will want this to be clear in the job posting. If a candidate comes in for an interview expecting to be hired for a part-time position when you are only offering full-time, it will be a waste of time for both parties.
Now It’s Time To Start Recruiting
There are many steps you can take to streamline your recruiting process. The first step in recruiting takes us back a step to the preparation phase: have you written a clear and identifiable job description? To ensure you are getting the appropriate applicants, this step is vital. If you do not do this, you could be sifting through inadequate applicants for hours.
The next step is to locate potential candidates. It should come as no surprise that one of the most popular places for job seekers is the internet. So, if your recruitment efforts have not already gone digital, now is the time. Take advantage of social media. LinkedIn is designed for employers to connect with potential candidates and allows for more job seekers to see your openings. If you post an open position for a roofing contractor, anyone searching for positions in that field has the opportunity to come across your job posting. Facebook can be a great tool as well. By getting the word out to family and friends, your next top employee could find your company.
It is always important to post job openings to your company website. Many job seekers will do a search for roofing companies in their area and look for job openings on the website. If there are no job openings on your website, someone may just assume you are not hiring and move onto the next company. Providing an easy application process on your website could be a great opportunity to bring in new applicants.
Another online resource that you should be taking advantage of is the National Roofing Contractors Association’s (NRCA) Job Bank. This is a resource for job seekers and employers to connect with individuals in the roofing industry from project foremen to laborers and everything in between. From a hiring standpoint, this resource can be used for posting jobs, managing application and searching resumes.
Keep in mind, that digital is not the only way to go when locating potential candidates. It is important to continue the more traditional forms of recruitment such a job fairs. Not only should you participate in city-based job fairs, reach out to high schools and get involved in their career education programs. This is a great way to educate students who may not feel college is their next step. By being proactive with high school fairs and career centers, you could be tapping into an entirely new applicant pool. You should be active in a variety of different outlets to stay ahead of the competition and stay in front of applicants.
Once you have identified the best outlet to reach your potential candidates it is time to start sorting through the applications coming in. Screening applications before scheduling interviews will save you time and money by eliminating unfavorable applicants from the start. Interviews take time, and hiring the wrong person and then having to replace that person is costly. For example, you wouldn’t want to waste your time interviewing someone for a project foreman position who has no roofing experience. By not carefully screening your candidates you could fall into this cycle. If you are hiring everyone who submitted an application without prior screening to ensure they meet the job skills and qualifications, you may find you are replacing employees after a few short weeks when they cannot perform the job.
With the younger generations shying away from labor heavy jobs, reaching them at an early stage to educate them about careers in our industry can benefit both the industry and your company. Developing a program to reach these future candidates could be one way to find skilled employees. Offering mentoring or apprentice-type programs for high school students can expose them to a new craft that they may not have known existed. Many students do not thrive in a college atmosphere and by getting these students involved in the roofing and construction industry early, they can be trained by skilled professional and be ready to start working right out of high school with the skill set our industry needs. This can also build a relationship with these students who could then turn into dedicated full time employees in the future.
As mentioned previously, it is not only expensive to replace employees, but finding another qualified candidate is time consuming and difficult. So, that is where retaining your current employees comes into play. If you have skilled workers, it is important to keep them and with the tough competition, providing your employees with the best is imperative. There are many steps that can help in retaining employees including training, company culture, benefits, pay and more.
Training and professional development opportunities drive employees to do their best. By investing in employee training you are not only improving their knowledge and skills, you are showing them you want to invest in their future. There are many options for training programs. It can be done within your company to pass along the skills your current team possesses, or you can take advantage of training programs offered through the manufactures you partner with. Many manufactures provide training programs for their partnering companies as an added benefit to working with them and to ensure their installers understand their products and application methods.
Beyond training, professional development opportunities encourage employees to work their hardest to be rewarded. Career development has been shown to be one of the factors that improves job satisfaction. Providing training can be the first step to this, but also encouraging attendance at industry conferences, providing workshops and other programs can show these employees there is professional growth opportunities within your company.
Expectations and company culture can also play a huge role in retaining employees. From day one, employees should know exactly what you expect of them and they should know what to expect from you. Review company policies, performance metrics, expected duties and anything else that may apply directly to their role and make sure expectations are clear so no one is blindsided. For example, an employee is expected to follow all safety precautions on a roof, but, do they understand the repercussions if they don’t follow these rules? Keep in mind, a good company culture will make for a happier employee, and a happy employee is more likely to be loyal to their employer.
A company’s culture can be a big draw or warning sign to a potential employee and by setting expectations right away you are shedding light into your company’s culture. It will allow them to understand how they will be rewarded for quality work and when to know they need improvements. Open communication with your employees is important and letting them share their thoughts and ideas will help them feel like part of the company. Rewarding employees for their hard and quality work will encourage them to continue to do well. By adding an extra perks such as a bonuses, gifts, and promotion opportunities, you can provide your employees with reasons to continue to perform well and exceed expectations.
Lastly, don’t overwork your teams. Although there is plenty of work to go around in the roofing industry, if you have a burnt out team, they will not only work less efficiently but they could begin to cut corners with safety and quality of work. This could result in costly roof claims or failures down the road. If a potential employee has another company that is willing to pay them just as much as yours, but their hours ensure the employee won’t be burnt out, they are going to go with the second option.
In the end, it is important to review each and every step of your current recruiting, hiring and retention process. Taking a step back and looking over your existing efforts can open your eyes to new opportunities on how to find the right people for your company. In an industry that is becoming harder and harder to find skilled workers, how will your company stand out?
Learn more about Soprema here.
Editor’s note: This article was first published on Soprema’s blog and can be viewed here.
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