Survival of Your Business Depends on the Strength of Your Team. Will Yours Survive?
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people" ~ Steve Jobs
One of the biggest challenges in running a trades or construction business these days is finding people! Finding warm bodies willing and able to work is hard enough, never mind if you’re looking for qualified people in skilled trades. Demand is high and availability is low.
As the owner of a trades business, I was always hopeful the next resume to come in would be the answer to the ongoing problem of a shortage of experienced people. The reality was that resume seldom showed up. When I did get one, I would be really hopeful because the resume sounded great! But inevitably the resume was based on nice ideas and not on the actual ability to perform.
Even worse, would be when the resume looked amazing, the candidate seemed to be true to the resume, we would offer them a position with great pay and benefits… and they would decline the offer. It was heartbreaking. I can still feel the pain today.
Even though this was the biggest challenge that we faced right up to the time we sold our business, we did come up with a solution that worked, and it was based on investing in our people.
1. Always be in recruiting mode.
The reality is, if you work and work and work and work your butt off just waiting for that perfect candidate to come along AND agree to work with your company – you may be old and broken down by the time that happens.
You may as well commit to the long game and make the most of your time while you wait. How we did that was to always be in recruiting mode, that is, always on the lookout for good people and be willing to train them. Look for traits that you can’t train – good character, good work ethic, well spoken, caring, conscientious – whatever values they share with your company, that you believe will make a great employee, look for that.
Carry business cards with you and when you come across someone that gives you exemplary service, or stands out in some way that impresses you, offer them a card and a conversation to discuss the potential and what you have to offer them.
I remember going through a Dairy Queen drive thru and getting great service from the young kid working the window. I thought, “We have got to hire that kid!” He was too young at the time, however it was then that I recognized what we needed to do – look for those people that aren’t necessarily in the trades, or skilled at anything in particular, and would make a great employee!
2. Be willing to invest long term.
Your people are your most valuable asset, without them, you cannot do great things. If you have poor culture or a high turnover of people, it makes it difficult to do great things – even with the right systems and processes in place. Here are a few ideas to consider:
When you come across those people that impress you or that share your values and would make a great addition to your team, be willing to put in the time to train them. You will be fostering a relationship that will build loyalty, appreciation, and trust – all characteristics of long-term employees.
Be open to hiring kids right out of high school or trade school, they are often eager to learn. Recognize the value of teaching them your way from the beginning and not having to “untrain” your new hire, to retrain, that often, is more difficult.
Take your time to hire the right person, don’t let your emotions get in the way. Be slow to hire, quick to fire. Have a robust hiring process that gives you the best chance to appropriately vet the people you bring on. And if they don't work out, for whatever reason, get rid of them quickly - they can become more costly to your business very quickly.
Have a great onboarding process. Set your new hire up for long-term success by taking the time introduce them to your company, the people, your processes, tools, resources, and expectations. Meet with them regularly so if any challenges arise, you can identify them early and address them.
3. Be a great leader.
A great leader puts their people first, cares about the quality of life of their people and helps them reach their goals. A great leader knows that when their people are happy, they are more productive which means more profitable to the business. Being a great leader benefits everyone. So how do you be a great leader? Here are a few ideas you can implement right away:
Share your mission with your people. If you haven’t created it yet, let your people contribute to creating it. Let them know what they are part of and what they are contributing to. People want to make an impact.
Show appreciation for your people, let them know you appreciate the work they do and how they contribute to the company. Let them know that what they think and contribute is valued.
Have career development meetings with your people one-on-one. Help them to create a vision for their future with your company. Where are they now, where do they want to be and how will you help them get there?
Building a strong, loyal team starts at the top by recognizing and acknowledging the value of your people. When you create a culture that values your people and their contribution, you will have yourself life-long employees.
Does building a great company culture seem overwhelming as one more thing to add to your never-ending, to-do list? Are you ready for things to be different, to accept help from others that have been where you are, and successfully made it to the other side? Are you about ready for some relief of the constant pressure? Wanting more time in your week so you can focus on your business? If this is you and you are ready, get in touch to schedule your free consultation by filling out our online needs assessment today at www.ThriveHQ.ca. There is a better way.