Attract and Retain Great Employees: Combatting the Great Resignation

A guide to help green industry companies find and keep good labor.

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While job satisfaction is high among the skilled trades, contractors report feeling the effects of the great resignation. According to the second annual The Skilled Trades in America report from Angi, 83 percent of workers are either somewhat or extremely satisfied in their choice of work. However, the labor shortage for contractor workers is worsening, with 77 percent of the industry viewing it as a problem, compared to 71 percent last year.

Pair these facts with almost unprecedented demand in home remodeling. The January 2022 Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA), released by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, predicts continued double-digit gains in home improvement and maintenance. 

Record-breaking demand for home improvement seems like a good thing, but without the right amount of trained staff, getting your work done on time and profitably may be hugely difficult.

Since demand is high, the key focus this year should be on keeping your workforce engaged, so you don’t have to worry about the great resignation hitting you. Plus, the longer you keep your workers on your payroll, the more profitable they will be.

Here are some ways to keep your workers engaged and happy working with you: 

1. Make onboarding easy

Create smooth processes to onboard your new employees or to integrate those who have learned new skills. Onboarding should be as simple, short and engaging as possible. Most importantly, it needs to be a process that can be easily repeated time and time again as your business continues to grow.

These programs are not only a great way to convey policies, expectations and basics of the business, but also to introduce the culture of your company and the values you want represented right from the beginning.

2. Provide good work and opportunity

By providing a great company culture based on excellent opportunities for your employees, you’re more likely to attract and retain the best talent. The most important factors workers look for include challenging work, career growth, advancement opportunities, wanting to make an impact in their role and a great work environment.

If you don’t have these opportunities at your company now, work to develop them. Growth opportunities mean providing for professional and career development through coaching, training, providing feedback and more. Not only will this help you retain your employees, it will make your teams better and provide a better experience to your customers.

When you bring workers into your company, show that you can provide a path for advancement within the company, such as being able to run their own crew at some point. If they know these opportunities are available from the get-go, an employee is less likely to seek out options elsewhere.

3. Involve your workers in decision-making

Keeping lines of communication open and honest is a great way to retain workers for the long term. Find a way that you can include your employees in certain decision-making processes. When people feel like their thoughts and opinions are heard and listened to, they’re more likely to stick around and will feel like they have a stake in the business. However, if employees are constantly sharing ideas, and they appear to be ignored, this may cause them to look elsewhere.

4. Provide a good work/life balance

A great way to lose workers is by creating a culture that leaves no room for a life outside of work. The more freedom and flexibility you provide, the happier your employees are likely to be in their work. Plus, with more freedom comes the expectation of more responsibility. This allows your employees to feel like they can take ownership of their projects and become better at what they do.

5. Outshine your competition

Whatever field of home improvement you work in, you’re most likely facing a lot of competition from other businesses out there that provide the same services. To help avoid your employees jumping ship, keep up with what your competition is doing and always be looking out for ways that you can exceed their products and services. By positioning yourself as a leader and expert in your field, it increases the likelihood of attracting and retaining the top talent that is available out there.

As an added bonus, employees who stay with you for years may be one of your best-recruiting tools. If you’re keeping people around longer than the competition, it makes you a more desirable option.

6. More than the paycheck

While salary remains one of the top concerns of employees in every industry, there are steps you can take above their salary to ensure your workers are being fairly compensated for their work. You can pay out bonuses, commissions, merit pay or profit sharing.

You can also take advantage of some non-monetary benefits that still add value to the lives of your employees, such as gift cards, tickets, gifts for work anniversaries, vacations, etc. By adding these incentives on top of what they’re already earning, people will want to stay and work for your company.

7. Recognize and reward

More than 80 percent of employees feel their employers don’t recognize them enough for the work they do. Make a conscious effort to recognize your workers who go above and beyond in their roles. When an organization has a formal recognition program in place, they have 31 percent less voluntary turnover than those that don’t.

Make sure you have the processes and systems in place so your employees know what’s expected and recognition is regular and consistent. Rewards don’t necessarily need to be monetary. It can be as simple as a handwritten note, customized gifts or other acts that show how much they’re appreciated. By doing many of the above recommendations, you can keep more of your employees longer