I think often about the guys who worked hard to help me build a company that you would want to work for. They did not stick around to reap the benefits of the years of work it took to build a pay and benefit package that you could support a family on. Some of those that left would have stayed if I would have fired the bad apples faster.
That said, you will not retain good employees without good pay and benefits. Yet good pay and benefits will not retain good employees.
One of the things that helps with retention is to hire people without prior trade experience. Mike Hicks talks about this and I have found this to be true. Find someone who wants a change in their career or just wants a career.
Another thing we did early on was give out an employee of the year award. It did not cost anything and it works. We named it after an employee that came to me with no experience and afraid of heights. I knew the money he made before he came to me. The first thing I said to him was I cannot pay you what you are making now. He said I know, I want a change. I hired him and within three years he was a foreman that did not need any supervision. Done on time and no callbacks.
With people like that you have to step up your game and find more money and benefits to provide them. One benefit that we have found to be helpful with family men is paid vacation that they can take when we are busy. Kids have off in the summer.
We have weekly meetings with the foreman and salespeople. We want the salespeople to know firsthand what did not work with the way the job was sold. The foreman needs to know any special items before they get to the job. We review every job to see if it was profitable and this is shown and explained to the employees.
We also provide uniforms to the repair guys and gutter and siding installers. We are working on the shingle crew next. There are other things we do to instill pride in being a part of the team.
This year we started to send all employees to Dale Carnegie training.
After this is all said and done. Some still leave. Could we have done something different to keep them? I do not know, but we will keep looking for new methods to retain good employees.
Mark Holencik is the owner of Holencik Exteriors, Holencik Gutters and Holencik Insulation. See his full bio here.