3 Reasons Your Staff May Leave

by Kacey Larsen

The remodeling boom is cranking up. Finding new employees to help grow your remodeling business is already tough to do, and it is only going to get worse. Without hiring additional staff and your ability to keep them, your business will be at great risk and will not be able to grow successfully. If you think finding new staff will be your biggest problem, get ready. I predict the bigger challenge for many remodelers may actually be trying to keep employees. These are employees whom they may have invested in significantly.

As demand in the remodeling market continues to grow, competition for good field and management staff will increase. This will naturally lead to employees’ ability to demand and get higher wages. Smaller-sized remodelers will likely be the most challenged. This is not just due to the higher wages, but also because good employees will be looking for the benefits found in other industries, which are often not typical at smaller businesses in our industry.

To keep these workers in our industry—and at your remodeling business—it’s time our industry and individual business owners step up in a big way regarding what is offered to the workforce we count on. Here are three reasons your employees may leave your business, and a few ideas to help keep them. And, keep in mind, you will need to charge more so you can afford them.

Wages and Benefits

As competition for workers builds, employees will demand raises and contractors will be offering higher wages to “steal” employees from other businesses. I suggest you give your employees raises before they ask for them for two reasons. The first is so they know you value and recognize their efforts.

Good employees like to be proactively appreciated and feel a part of something bigger than themselves. The second is because if you don’t, and the employee doesn’t feel appreciated and a part of something they want to belong to, they can easily be lured to a new, higher-paying job before you even know they are looking for greener grasses.

However, if an employee will come to your business for more money, they will also leave your business for more money. In addition to good pay, benefits can be a good way to attract and keep employees. For example, a married worker with a young family to support needs health insurance. And once they have it, they don’t want to give it up. At least for now, it’s easy to stand out because very few remodelers offer good health insurance plans, if any coverage at all.

Depending on the employees, other benefits may help attract and keep them. Consider vacation, holiday and sick pay. If you are already doing that, consider a profit-sharing plan. If you offer profit sharing, be sure to tie the sharing of the profit with a requirement of continued employment. One way to do so is to pay half of what is earned each quarter, then pay the balance after the first of the year, with the stipulation that the employee is still with the business to get it.

Less Than Ideal Workplace Conditions

Consider this question: Would you want your spouse or children working at your jobsites? Do you always use the right, well-maintained equipment to protect employees’ health and safety? Do you follow OSHA guidelines? Do you always use lead-safe work practices? Again, a worker with a growing family needs and wants to be healthy, and doesn’t want to risk their ability to support their family. Isn’t that the type of worker you would want—one who thinks ahead, values health and safety, and is conscientious?

Also consider the environment you ask your employees to work in. Are they exposed to nasty and unreasonable clients? Are you sending them out to work in the cold weather way too often? Are you constantly expecting them to work late regardless of their responsibilities and interests outside work? Do you and other managers treat employees with the respect they desire and deserve every day? Have you ever asked your employees what they think about these things, or are you just assuming they are OK with things the way they are? Asking just might tip you off to what you need to do, and commit to, so they won’t leave.

Insecure Career Paths

The best employees are the ones who think ahead and want to improve their skills and value so they, too, can get ahead in life. The best remodeling companies are the ones that provide a clear career path and the training needed to achieve career growth success.

Today’s employees, knowing their value, are not likely to just take your word for it that they can grow at your business. Remember, they and their parents have probably heard that promise before. They want to see the plan and how their growth will be measured. They want to know they are on the right track to earn additional pay and/or benefits. If they cannot see and feel a successful future at your business, they will seek one elsewhere.

I bet many of the business owners reading this left another contractor to start their own company due to many of the considerations I mentioned above. Don’t risk having your employees leave for the very same reasons. As they say, doing so would be the definition of insanity! |QR

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