As The Economy Improves, Will You Become A Slave To Your Business?
Now that work is picking up many remodelers who had larger businesses before the recession hit have admitted to me privately that they are overworked and limping along. Because they let staff go during the recession they now have an insufficient team of leaders at the middle management levels, both in the office and in the field. Without the right staff to help share the load and responsibilities that come with increased volume they are concerned they will become and remain slaves to their businesses. To solve this dilemma and remain successful these remodelers will need to quickly find, recruit, train and create ways to retain high quality talented employees.
The “Catch 22” #1
The longer they wait to get such people on board and trained the tougher it will be to find the time to get such people on board and trained. This is because without the help already in place their workload will only increase even more, further limiting their available time to focus on finding new hires and getting them up to speed so they are productive.
The “Catch 22” #2
In a good economy it can be very difficult to find people who have the background, skills, and experience to perform as high achievers. These employees are already working for someone else or are taking advantage of the good market and are running their own businesses. On the other hand, during the recession economy like the one we are hopefully getting out of, there was an abundance of available talent, including those who owned but closed down their businesses. Act now as the economy and remodeling are picking up and you might find great hires. Wait and you will likely have to comb through whoever is left after other contractors have scooped up the cream of the crop.
Consider the following options if you want to lead the pack and get your life back
- Consider hiring new talent before everyone else figures out it is time to hire. Make sure money isn’t the only reason they are joining your team.
- Consider replacing underperforming staff now while the selection of good employees is strong, before compensation expectations explode due to supply and demand, and while those who want new opportunities are eager to prove their value.
- If too much of your time has been shifted back to production management activities, consider letting go those carpenters who need to be managed, hire real lead carpenters this time and use subs where needed to fill in labor gaps.
- If you already have good talent, make sure you do what you can to keep them with your business. As the economy returns other businesses, desperate to fill positions, will be over-paying to grab or steal talent from their competition.
- Keep in mind that money is not the primary motivator when trying to retain good talent. A positive culture, opportunity for advancement, benefits and real responsibility all rank high for employees who have a long term perspective about their careers and personal goals.
Attempting to strategically ramp up staffing needs as the economy improves and get new employees acclimated before your business already needs to have them at high capacity will definitely be a juggling act. There is no better time than now to get that process started. Those contractors who use their past experience in this area and or the shared experiences of a mentor will have a jump on grabbing top talent. They will be the select few who are ready for the business opportunities that will come with an improved remodeling marketplace.