From time to time, I come across a piece of industry knowledge that is too good not to share. Recently, HVAC and field service resource Service Roundtable, published an exclusive eNewsletter about the prominent issue of employee poaching and how to keep your team happy and loyal. I've shared it below courtesy of author and CEO of Service Roundtable, Matt Michel.
Please Don't Leave Me!
When the heat is on in the HVAC industry and the phones are ringing non-stop, nobody cares about the need for leads. Contractors have more leads than they can handle. They care about getting the work done and keeping their people theirs. In other words, they worry about competitors poaching technicians and installers. Here's how to stop them.
- Pay well - If you are not paying top wages for your market, expect to lose good people to companies who are compensating people at the top of the market. And yes, paying well means pricing at a level that supports your payroll.
- Offer good benefits - Young, single technicians are immortal and invincible. They care about pay, not benefits. Older, married technicians are a different story. Being a little generous in benefits can have more impact than added pay. What is the difference per hour between 100 percent and 80 percent company-paid healthcare? Spread it by hour and it's not much, yet it's perceived to be incredibly generous. If you do not offer them, consider dental and low cost term life insurance.
- Acknowledge the spouse's sacrifice - Long summer hours do not affect the technicians alone. They also affect wives and kids. There may not be an option to work less, but you can show the family you understand the toll they pay and find ways to lessen it. Send a note or thank you card expressing your understanding of the added burden the summer places on the family and your appreciation of their support. Include a gift card for a nice restaurant, movie tickets, water park passes, and/or a spa treatment. Send one in June and another in July.
- Pack a lunch - Your technicians may prefer their own lunch choices, but consider packing lunches for them in the summer with a choice of drinks in a cooler. Work an arrangement with a local deli to prepare the sandwiches and a competitive price.
- Visit your installers - Sometime during the day, take some water or sports drinks to your installers. It gives you a chance to check on the job, ask how things are going, and show how much you appreciate them.
- Stock a refrigerator - Keep cold drinks and frozen snacks in a refrigerator in the shop for your technicians. It's an inexpensive thank you and something to look forward to at the end of the day.
- Have fun - How can you make work fun? When Service Nation Alliance Vice President of Programs, Bob Viering worked for a Dallas air conditioning contractor he created a contest that involved everyone in the company. Office staff were teamed with field personnel to offer support, encouragement, and all-around cheerleading. Bob produced a daily “sportscast” of how the teams were doing with the score and statistics measured by team sales, average ticket, and other measures. Everyone had fun and it got the competitive juices flowing. Plus, when the contest concluded, the winning team was treated to a steak dinner at a nice restaurant, while everyone else was served baked beans. Members can download a copy of “The Great Steak and Beans Contest” from the Service Roundtable if they want to create their own contest.
- Give random rewards - Get to know your people personally so that you know what some of their personal desires are. One Service Nation Alliance Member surprised a technician with basketball playoff tickets. Other technicians might be given weekend use of a lake-house and boat.
- Say thanks and say it a lot -Every employee survey shows that people leave over a lack of appreciation more than any other reason. For those who are money motivated or task driven, it's hard to imagine the need for, and power of a little heartfelt appreciation. Say thank you. Often. Applaud good work. Compliment people in front of others. This may be more powerful than anything else you do.
The Service Roundtable is a revolutionary organization founded by a collaboration of leading contractors to share information and help other contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations and profitability. © 2015 Matt Michel This post was reprinted with permission from Service Roundtable.