At RoofersCoffeeShop we hear from contractors every day who are challenged with finding skilled labor and retaining employees. The topic is so hot right now that we asked our RCS Influencers last month to share some of their employee retention practices. Their replies were diverse and full of good ideas.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the demand for roofers is projected to grow 13 percent between 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Construction and roofing companies no longer fuss over finding work – instead they worry about finding people to do the work.
We recently came across this interview with Karen Inman, President and COO at Antis Roofing & Waterproofing that we felt had additional valuable information to share. While she mentions California specifically since that is where her company is located, the challenges apply throughout the U.S. and Canada. Read on to find out how Antis Roofing & Waterproofing plans to stay ahead of the curve.
Question: What, specifically, does Antis look for during its hiring process to attract employees that are looking for a career in roofing versus simply a job?
Karen Inman: I would say it’s about having aligned values and understanding how purpose and giving back fits with each candidate. We have a very prominent and consistent social media presence that starts the “hiring” process by sharing who we are as a company right from the beginning. Then in our conversations with candidates, we talk about how Antis fits with their aspirations while also discussing what charitable giving speaks to them. Knowing where someone spends time giving back gives us a greater understanding of who they are. It also allows us to reinforce the importance we place on being a company who cares and wants to make a difference and allows us to choose employees who have similar values.
Q: Roofing and other skilled labor jobs are learned through practice rather than simply education. Does Antis have any sort of apprenticeship or learning opportunities for employees who might have less experience?
KI: On the field side, Antis provides training to entry level technicians under an informal program of matching more experienced field leads with those who are new to roofing or just new to a specific type of installation (PVC versus tile, for example). The importance of a more formal training and certification program isn’t lost on Antis. We are actively involved with NRCA which is helping establish a certification program for roofing. This will help elevate the industry and provide a pipeline of technicians to help mitigate the growing labor shortage.
We also believe that working with the future generations of roofers to teach them about the industry and the options they have in their careers is another way we’re working to combat the labor shortage. During this past summer, we had a few interns help us with office operations. In fact, two of those internships were provided to local teens as part of their school’s graduation readiness for students who are underserved. This was truly inspiring to be able to offer young people an opportunity to contribute to the company while developing skills and understanding of what career options they may want to pursue – Human Resources, Marketing, Customer Service, or Accounting. In addition, I’d like to think that we set a standard for what these young people will expect in a company culture and hopefully when it comes time, they’ll consider Antis a promising option for their careers.
Q: Since there is a lot of mobility within the skilled-worker space due to supply and demand, it makes sense that companies who can retain quality workers fare better than those who can’t. Once these employees are hired, what are some specific retention strategies Antis has in place?
KI: New hires are welcomed with Antis branded gifts, given an employee orientation, and taken to a team lunch on the first day. They’re also announced in our weekly team huddle so that they feel a part of the Antis team from day one, as we want them to feel our excitement about them joining our team! Another specific strategy is a 90-day onboarding plan for new employees to establish expectations and create a foundation for open communication about their role and how it fits into the success of the organization. Tasks are divided into 30/60/90 day increments and focus on the core duties of their role but also on creating relationships with other team members and developing a basic understanding of all departments.
Q: In summary, how does Antis address the shortage of roofing professionals in California?
KI: It’s just like you all said – we aim to hire talent that is interested in growing their career with Antis and then work with them to ensure they have the skills and professional development to feel as invaluable to our team as they are. Our overall retention strategy for employees is to focus on employee engagement. The strategy approaches retention from the perspective of an employee’s job, their cause and purpose, their connection to each other and the company, and to sharing in the company’s success through a bonus program. Specifically, we ensure each employee gets a formal review as well as more frequent employee surveys where ongoing updates on the progress on initiatives are made and updated based on their input. We also like to hold weekly team huddle meetings where every Antis employee can voice their opinions and help improve processes. Antis adds a little bit of atypical fun into our retention strategy as well. At Antis, we hand out weekly giving cards where an individual who has gone above and beyond to help the team is recognized and then a donation is made to a cause of their choice. It’s a great way to see what is important to our team members and for them to share a little something about themselves that might not otherwise come up! Add that to our company picnics and holiday events, and we really believe Antis is doing what it can to make us a great place to work!