September 27, 2022

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Finding and Keeping the Best Employees During a Labor Shortage

If you’re like most contracting pros today, you’re finding it tough to find the best employees right now. According to Associated Builders and Contractors, there’s an industry labor shortage. There are at least 430,000 open positions with no one to fill them.

And with average hourly wages in the industry rising to nearly $31 per hour, it’s hard to keep good folks when you find them. There’s simply not much incentive for your best people to stay if they can find a better offer at a company with deeper pockets.

It gets worse. For every five workers retiring from the construction industry, there’s only one beginning a skilled labor career.

That’s a crisis in the making. If your company doesn’t adapt, you might find yourself having to refuse projects.

It’s essential to hire the best people available. More importantly, you need to keep them happy on the job. After all, studies show the replacement cost for an average worker ranges from six to nine months of their annual pay.

In this article, we’ll cover some strategic tips for finding and keeping top employees, even during a labor shortage.

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Revamp Your Job Descriptions

Too often, job descriptions are vague, bland or intimidating. Yes, you have every right to high standards. We’re not suggesting otherwise. But prospective employees need to feel invited into an opportunity.

Ditch your outdated job descriptions. Replace them with posts that will appeal to the best candidates out there.

List the bottom-line skills each position requires. Label those as must-haves. Next, list your wish list—those skills you’d like an ideal employee to have.

Make sure you note in your description that you’ll be willing to train a new employee on those skills. That way, you won’t miss out on prospects that lack a few skills, but are willing to learn.

Finally, take the time to make the job look attractive to applicants. Find someone in your office who writes well. Let that person tackle the final draft of your job descriptions. Or hire a freelance writer as needed to spruce them up.

Partner with Local High Schools and Trade Institutes

Get to know your local high school, trade school and community college teachers. Put the word out that you’re interested in hiring some of their graduates.

Offer to be a guest speaker or serve as a resource for students. It takes only a little time, and you’ll endear your company to both teachers and students.

You could even offer internships to students who haven’t graduated yet. Or, if you have the money, provide a small scholarship to a talented student in exchange for a promise to work for your company for a while.

RELATED: 3 Business Relationships Every Home Services Company Should Consider

Update Your Website’s Careers Page

All too many contractors don’t even have websites, let alone a robust careers page.

You can easily create a website for minimal expense if you don’t have one. Once you have a website, launch a careers page. List your current job openings and your contact information.

Include an invitation to job hunters to submit their resumes, even if there are no current openings. With the labor shortage looking like a long-term challenge, it pays to have a supply of qualified candidates on hand.

Post Openings on Social Media

Don’t just limit your job opening posts to your company’s page. Post openings on community boards, as well.

That includes your company’s social media feeds.

That way, friends and family of job seekers can share them with people looking for a job in construction.

RELATED: 5 Quick Tips for Marketing Your Remodeling Business on Social Media

Focus On Company Culture

Once you’ve filled your positions, treat your employees with respect, dignity, fair wages and as many benefits as you can provide. If you’re short on funds, a little nice goes a long way toward employee retention.

Make up for fewer benefits than your competitors with better working conditions. Go out of your way to make your employees feel like they’re the lifeblood of your company. They are.

Employees who feel engaged at work are three times more likely to stay with your company.

That’s not all. Companies that encourage their employees to take ownership in the company reap 22% more profits. Additionally, they experience 48% fewer safety incidents.

In Summary

Finding and keeping top employees during a labor shortage doesn’t have to break the bank.

When you focus on the people aspects of your business as much as the nuts-and-bolts, your contracting company can thrive and grow.

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