Editor in Chief
One of the biggest concerns facing the remodeling industry as we close the books on 2005 and head into the new year is how to find, hire and retain top quality employees. In this issue, we explore several ways to help you strengthen your business in this area.
In this month's Remodelers' Exchange, we present some great strategies for compensating employees — from benefits to flexible schedules — that you might want to consider, especially if high turnover is a problem area for you. Our 5-Minute Manager page looks at team-building techniques. And our cover story on Remodeler of the Year Alure Home Improvements Inc., of Plainview, N.Y., shows how this company finds, hires and retains good employees that fit their people-oriented culture. Alure's turnover is low, partly because training and promoting from within is high on the list of management's priorities. Once an employee is hired, he or she is given ample opportunity to fit in.
"Our turnover in salespeople in the last year is one person," says Alure president Sal Ferro, whose sales team totals 36. "I tend to be a little slower on pulling the trigger on [firing] people. There's three people right now that if we had pulled the trigger, we wouldn't have them, and they're all doing pretty good this year. We've got a great training program in place, but we focus so much on the culture end of it that if you're somebody we like and you fit in, you're going to get a chance here."
Alure primes the hiring pump by offering a $500 bounty to any employee who recommends someone who is subsequently hired. This helps produce quality candidates who have a high likelihood of fitting the Alure culture. In the last two years, at least 10 hires have been made as a result of this program.
Alure's director of marketing, Seth Selesnow, is a prime example of how the company's internal training and promotion process works. Selesnow was hired as a sales facilitator to implement a training program in December 2003. Within two months, after management recognized his skills and five years of experience working in a customer service call center, he was promoted to supervisor of Alure's customer service team. A few months later, he was promoted to director of marketing because of his organizational skills and ability to multi-task.
In fact, because the company is so committed to training and promoting from within, Alure has never hired a member of the upper management team from outside the company, Ferro says.
"It's been an incredibly rewarding and educational experience in my first two years," says Selesnow. "And the camaraderie throughout the company is unlike any I've seen anywhere else in my entire career. The management team is incredibly talented and committed and does everything possible to ensure success for all employees and to allow people to best utilize their skills."
In last month's issue, I incorrectly stated that more information on the NAHB Remodelors Council's study on lead-safe work practices could be found on the NAHB Web site. Instead, please contact Gary Suskauer at 800/369-5242, ext. 8327.