The floor covering trade has developed several successful recruitment strategies in this tight labor market, including creating education-focused career paths like the one outlined in the first article in this series. Now it’s time to address the other side of the equation: installer retention.
As many contractors will attest, it’s often just as challenging to get newly hired installers to stay past the first six months as it is to attract them in the first place. How can you balance recruitment strategies with the leadership and culture that encourage new installers to stay? Here are a few tips that can help.
Build an authentic workplace
Too often businesses present an outward appearance of mentorship, career building or work-life balance, while behind the scenes the real focus is more on simply getting the job done. How you present your workplace culture is what gives potential employees their first impression of you, and it’s what they’ll expect to encounter after they’re hired. If a candidate accepts a position based on the belief that they will be mentored by competent, collaborative leaders and given opportunities for professional development and advancement, but you don’t deliver? They won’t stick around.
Successful businesses are authentic through and through. What they project on the outside matches their culture and values on the inside. This authenticity attracts like-minded individuals and cultivates loyalty, encouraging employees who align with those values to stay.
Train your trainers
Some leaders are born; most, however, require training. Preparing an installer to become a teacher and mentor starts with an education-focused career path that includes fundamental knowledge, skills development and critical thinking and problem solving opportunities. Developing a career path like this for your floor covering business helps attract novice installers—and it cultivates the skilled, experienced professionals who you can later tap to train others.
What you have to keep in mind is the fact that training others requires its own set of skills. To be effective, your seasoned installers need practical instruction on the best ways to impart what they know. Some industry organizations offer support with Train-the-Trainer courses, which can provide these skills.
Recognize and reward
It’s easy to get overly focused on productivity and project completion and forget to stop and acknowledge the achievements of your people. That’s why it’s important to establish a system of performance incentives and rewards and hold leadership accountable for following it. Don’t overlook the power of positive reinforcement.
Retention before hiring
Long-term retention results when employers recognize that people share a common desire to learn and grow—then build workplace culture and career paths around this understanding. By following this model, our industry can stop focusing on a shrinking talent pool and start educating the next generation of installers for long, rewarding careers in floor covering.