At National Women in Roofing (NWIR), we are seeing that there is so much education out there right now and it is fabulous for our industry and for our trade. We are finding that it is hard to find it all in one spot, but it is all out there. We are seeing the fundamental education, from practical roofing practices, to products, to standards, to codes, to efficiencies, all of those things are really coming to light in our industry.
One of the things that I would challenge our industry to look at when it comes to education, and that includes contractors, manufacturers, suppliers - everyone in the industry that has employees - is to look at education from an emotional intelligence perspective. Although that might sound like "Ugh, hocus pocus," it really is coming up more and more with the younger generation. They do not want to buy into the past roofing hierarchy of just do what you are told. They want to know why, how and more than anything they want a respectful environment to work in.
In the past, our industry had a reputation for hazing and yelling and screaming and hard work and much of that has gone by the wayside. Now we are seeing an effort to really build a culture that is based around family and inclusion. One of the things that we need to do is to continue to push the envelope a little further concerning emotional intelligence. We need to understand what motivates people. We need to understand their intrinsic motivations, empathy, social skills. These kinds of things are educational components that we need to strive for as our companies are growing. The human emotions that are in the workplace and that pragmatic behavior such as better collaboration among employees and a happier workplace are factors that will strengthen our companies.
If you are reading this and thinking, "Oh God, you know, that's pansy stuff and who has time for that?" Then your business could possibly struggle in the future with retaining employees. If you are reading this and, and thinking to yourself, "Wow, there's a lot of benefits and importance to this kind of education for our team and our culture." There's a ton of information out there now that you can find on diversity, inclusion, emotional intelligence, and I would strongly recommend that, as an industry, we jump on that and lead the way for our trade as we look to recruit and retain employees. We have to continue to find new types of education. Emotional intelligence is just one of the newer areas of research that I would challenge everyone to take a look at.
National Women in Roofing focuses on this kind of education. Women intrinsically bring emotional intelligence to the table and tend to have an insight for everyone's feelings in the room. Those are the kind of emotional factors that we've been putting to the wayside in our capitalist society to move forward. But you can have both and the outcome, that ROI on the bottom line, is actually massively better. For our companies and their longevity and sustainability, we’ve got to put time into building and growing our future.
The next generation of millennials are the most educated males and females – more than any other generation before. Looking at basic education in our trade is of course important, but looking and finding those pieces of education that could bring the new generation into roofing is what is going to give contractors the ability to recruit and retain employees in the future.
Jennifer Stone is the National Women in Roofing 2019 Chair. See her full bio here