Employee turnover is expensive, as any HVAC contractor knows. When you lose a worker, it takes time and money to recruit, interview and hire a replacement. Losing a good co-worker also means losing his knowledge, skills and the time and money spent on training him. That’s why it’s so important to get the right person — to bring on board someone who offers both excellent qualifications and a desire to stick around.
Here are three tips for successful hiring — the kind that nets you smart, skilled and experienced HVAC co-workers who stay with you for the long haul:
- Start recruiting before you need anyone. In fact, HVAC contractors should be recruiting every day of the year — even during the slow periods. Why? Because in our industry, the seasons and weather dictate how busy we are. If you wait until you need new people the most, you’ll be hiring when your competitors are hiring — during seasonal rushes. On the other hand, if you’re always on the lookout for qualified hires, you can sign them onto your team before the busy period — and before your competitors have a chance at them.
- A year-round approach to hiring helps with my second tip: Slow down. Don’t hire the first semi-qualified applicant who stumbles through your door. Invest in good recruiting techniques, and trust that they’ll work. Wait for someone who dazzles you. You can’t afford this luxury if you’re facing an emergency and need someone immediately.
- Use your current co-workers to help you find your new hires. While traditional recruiting methods have their place, divert some of the money you would spend on advertising to pay your co-workers to recruit new hires on your behalf. Make it a significant amount — many contractors offer $1,000 to staff members who recruit someone they decide to hire. Co-workers are selective about whom they recommend; after all, it’s their word and reputation on the line. But it’s a good idea to put some rules in place, such as a minimum employment period for the new co-worker.
Ultimately, the success of your HVAC contracting company depends on the quality of your co-workers. It’s worth your time and effort to apply some creativity — and some patience — to your hiring practices. As a consultant to HVAC contractors throughout the United States and Canada, I’d be happy to help. Feel free to contact me.