Talk to ten economists and you will get ten opinions about what the economy will do in the next 12-18 months. However, there seems to be some consensus around the idea that a recession is coming, but not the degree. As a small business owner, we know you care more about what’s happening on the ground rather than the halls of policy. The housing market may be set for a bit of a downturn, but the fact remains that there are not enough houses to meet demand. There will still be opportunities for the home improvement industry to support those who want to build, remodel or repair a home in the coming years – but will there be enough people to do the work?
Hiring has been a challenge for a couple of years now and it is not clear things will get better any time soon. Keeping your employees will be central to your success.
Below we offer some ideas on how to encourage employee retention in the home improvement industry:
1. Ensure Your Compensation Package is Competitive
Compensation is more than how much is in a paycheck. Fit Small Business created a useful infographic noting the multiple factors that inform an employee’s view of their compensation. A key component is health insurance benefits, which can seem to be a non-starter for many business owners. Through our involvement with BAGI and by serving Greater Indianapolis small businesses for over 30 years, the Wharton & Power Insurance Team knows that offering those perks can appear cost-prohibitive to many organizations. As a BAGI member in good standing, you have access to the BAGI Group Health Plan which we administer. We also have many other options at our disposal that could allow you to set up a compensation package that attracts and retains quality employees. So don’t let the idea of the impossibility of offering group health insurance keep you from growing your business. Talk to us!
2. Have Opportunities for Employee Growth
Feeling like you will be stuck in the same job forever is a big motivator to go find another one. At a minimum, providing opportunities for your employees to grow their skill set will help keep them engaged in the work they do for you. Apprenticeship, mentoring and training programs not only develop knowledge but also have the potential to create meaningful organizational relationships. Giving your employees an attainable vision of how they can happily stay with your business will make it easy for them to do just that.
3. Create a Supportive Company Culture
In a recent article published by the Society for Human Resource Management, researchers noted that company culture is important to retaining young workers. Creating an atmosphere of belonging, camaraderie and support goes a long way in keeping them engaged. Organized employee onboarding processes, clear expectations for management/employee communications, and team-building experiences that are authentic to your culture are some of the ways you can retain your younger employees (and probably your seasoned ones too).
4. Offer Flexibility
Flexibility in the home improvement world often looks different than the typical office job. Working from home is not always feasible and projects have deadlines that clients expect to be met. However, employees need to know that they have the support of their employers when it comes to illness, childcare and creative pursuits. Being willing to offer varying work hours or days when these issues come up is one step toward creating that supportive atmosphere employees crave without hurting your bottom line.
5. Provide Feedback
Employees want to feel seen, appreciated and invested in. Having a formal review process institutionalizes a regular feedback mechanism, ensuring that team members have a voice in their workplace. These conversations also help you better manage your employees by understanding their personal and professional goals. Finally, these discussions help employees define success within their roles, giving them a clear vision of where they fit into the organization.
What all these steps have in common is a commitment to employee well-being, which returns to the organization as a healthier bottom line. If 2008 taught us anything in the home improvement industry, it’s that quality rises to the top. Retaining your best employees will help ensure the health of your business regardless of what the economy has in store for us.