If you’re in this industry, you know firsthand how the recession impacted building activity and the workforce behind it. And while consumer confidence and the industry continue to grow, the labor shortage is still an issue that’s probably keeping you up at night.
While you’re likely hiring people to grow your teams and your ability to take on more jobs, don’t overlook the importance of retaining the people already on your crew. While it’s no secret that a pay raise is one powerful motivator to keep people on your team, more often than not that’s not a feasible option. Instead, consider the following seven tips for retaining your employees, longer.
1. Recognize That Different People Want Different Things Out of Their Careers
A person in his or her 20s is likely looking for a different work structure than someone in his 40s. Younger crewmembers often place a higher priority on having diversity of work to give them exposure to different roles, location flexibility and jobs that will increase their income. On the flip side, someone who has been in the industry for more than a decade may be more focused on finding stability, settling down in an area for the long term and looking for a better work-life balance. Understanding what your crewmembers want in their jobs and supporting them accordingly can go a long way in boosting their morale.
2. Help Your People Master Their Craft
Help your crewmembers sharpen and expand their skills by providing continuous learning and training opportunities. From project management to skill-specific training, the benefits of providing ongoing education will often produce better leaders and cross-trained people, which ultimately deepens the strength of your team and sets your business up for more success in the future.
And as people are learning new skills—and potentially making mistakes—make sure you’re patient and understand that this is part of the process. No person will be perfect at every job, so creating an environment where someone can grow from failure creates a better learning environment.
3. Encourage Your Crewmembers to Have an Entrepreneurial Spirit
It’s no secret that when people feel valued and have a voice, they are more likely to develop loyalty to a company. Give your crew the freedom to think creatively, be innovative and identify opportunities that ultimately benefit your business. At ABC Supply, an Entrepreneurial Spirit is one of our Core Values, and through it we challenge our associates to continuously improve by taking actions that benefit their customers and their branches.
4. Listen to Your Team
Working in an industry that runs on rules and regulations can often make people feel like there isn’t room for change or flexibility. That’s why taking the time to listen to your team’s ideas and using their input to create change when possible is so important. Even if you don’t agree with the idea or can’t make change, demonstrating your open-mindedness to at least hearing what the person thinks can go a long way.
5. Give Frequent Feedback
Those on your team—especially millennials—value honest, frequent feedback. They want to know how they’re doing in their job, where they can improve and what their path is within your company. While annual evaluations are always a natural moment to discuss performance feedback, 80 percent of millennials said that they prefer to have both positive and constructive feedback in real time instead of waiting months to discuss in a formal meeting.
6. Discuss Growth Opportunities
Giving feedback to your team not only helps them improve in the short term but also opens the door to conversations about how they can continue growing with your company in the long term. For 60 percent of millennials, growth opportunities are considered to be one of the most important parts of their job. In fact, 46 percent of millennials surveyed said the reason they left their last job was because of the lack of career growth opportunities.
7. If Someone Leaves, Have an Exit Interview
You may or may not know the reasons people choose to leave, so sitting down with them to talk about their employment experiences often results in straight, truthful feedback about what is or isn’t working on your crew. These honest conversations can then help you identify the changes you need to make to prevent others from seeking new forms of employment.
And don’t forget: If the person leaving was a great asset to your team, leave the door open for them to return in the future. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, so having this conversation with parting employees can make it easier for them to approach you when they realize they made a mistake in leaving. This situation is often a win-win for everyone because you already know the person and his or her skills, so you don’t need to invest as much time training them when they return to your team.
Visit ABC Supply’s blog for more advice on how to successfully run your business.