By Victoria Downing
While some company owners are convinced that “there are no good hires available,” we are seeing others hire superstars. These successful owners are using three powerful strategies:
Today, we’ll discuss the first two bullets, which focus on retention:
Retaining current staff
Today’s worker wants a learning environment, a family-friendly environment, teamwork, empowerment, shared decision-making and more democratic management. Losing a talented, experienced employee is expensive, so reducing this churn is essential.
While it may seem that current employees don’t need as much time or energy from you, don’t take them for granted. Let them know that you appreciate their efforts. Keep them informed about developments in the company. And offer opportunities for training, one of the benefits that employees rank as “most important” when rating a company.
Regularly check in with your key employees to take their temperature about what’s going on with the company. Make sure that they aren’t being overwhelmed with the sheer volume of work. If they are, invest in help, whether a temp worker, a support person, or new technology that can cut their load.
Reducing your need to hire by increasing efficiency!
Here are several practical ideas that will allow you to streamline the work done by your employees, thereby letting each employee leverage more volume.
Hold regular brainstorming sessions with your staff to review all procedures that are currently in use within the company. Focus on streamlining. What work, forms, or overlapping procedures can be eliminated from the company? What is missing that could help you avoid time-sucking mistakes?
Outsource more – both to freelancers for office work or subcontractors for production work. More and more folks are using outsourced CAD pros, take-off specialists, or virtual employees.
Are there labor saving tools, equipment, technology, or communications that would free up time for you, your office, or field staff? Save an hour here and an hour there and soon you won’t have to hire another person.
Check with your suppliers for products they will install (i.e. windows, fireplace units, siding) or products that can save you in-house time (pre-primed moldings). Use their labor instead of yours and benefit from the expertise they have in mastering one task.
Check with subs to see if there are additional functions they can take over from your staff. Have your own carpenters? Keep them but consider subbing large jobs such as decks, siding, insulation, drywall and roofing which can be economical to outsource.
Are your field personnel equipped with state-of-the-art labor-saving tools and equipment? If you have 10 field employees and can save 20 minutes a day for each, that’s 1000 minutes a week or 867 hours a year. That’s 867 hours you don’t need or 867 hours you can sell profitably to another client. One remodeler keeps a stocked trailer on every job site. It’s good looking and well signed but it also saves time and running for materials. Many others provide iPads or laptops to help production employees to manage their jobs on the fly with software solutions.
Increase training for your field personnel to save time in installations. Check with your manufacturers, subs and suppliers for help in developing short training sessions.
Develop a cross-department team to research ways to reduce in-house work.
Next month, in part two, we’ll look at superstar hiring practices.
Victoria Downing writes for Renovantage.