Do you know why some birds fly in a V formation?
The reason is cool and interesting: while the lead bird faces full headwinds, the birds drafting in behind have an aerodynamic advantage. They are 10% more efficient than if they flew alone or in a random pattern.
Interestingly, each member of the flock takes a turn at being the lead bird since that job is more tiring. The whole thing is a beautiful example of cooperation and effective use of resources.
So what does this have to do with remodeling? Recently, I gave a talk for NARI Silicon Valley. The topic was best practices for recruiting, and not surprisingly, the room was packed. My information came from expert remodelers all over the country, and I wanted to share some highlights here.
The remodelers who are the best at recruiting employees are those that have shifted their mindset. This new perspective can be summed up in three words: Recruiting is marketing. In fact, there are a number of replacement contractors that have their hiring efforts baked right into their CRM system.
Think about it: when a remodeler markets to a homeowner, they are trying to brand their company as the best possible choice for a project. The same should be true when trying to get the right candidates to apply to your company. Does your ad showcase why your company is a great place to work? Is every benefit listed? (This includes some that are often overlooked, such as a company car, tool allowance, gas allowance, flexible work schedule, and profit-sharing.) Do you offer a signing bonus? Is there a ladder for professional advancement in your company?
The remodelers best at hiring have shifted their mindset.
Speaking of ads, it’s a good idea to write a job posting even if you’re not hiring for that particular position. Doing this exercise forces you to think about how to position your company to candidates down the road.
In addition to branding your business for new hires, many remodelers track a whole slew of KPIs as part of their hiring efforts. These include cost per lead, close ratio, lead quality, time spent per lead, and effectiveness of each marketing source.
Another area to look at is referrals. Are you offering a sizable bonus to any team member who introduces a candidate that results in a hire? I know of companies that do this to get new subcontractors as well. Now, back to the birds.
When a remodeler is pursuing these best practices for hiring in their community, they are flying in that leader position. Other companies in their market will actually see a small but real benefit from flying behind them. This is because as soon as one remodeling firm is showcased as a wonderful place to work, the whole idea of getting a job in the industry suddenly becomes more attractive.
It will take a huge national effort to change the country’s mindset about working in the trades. But moving forward as an industry at the local level is less daunting.