Twenty years ago, while attending a construction conference, I heard one of the speakers discuss the declining trend of available construction work-power. At the time, I had no problem finding employees. I dismissed the speaker’s predictions as perhaps a regional crisis, and a touch of “the sky is falling.” I was completely wrong. The latest statistics predict an HVAC industry talent shortage of over 138,000 employees by the year 2022! In my opinion, I think this number is conservative.
So, as HVAC contractors, how do we attract employees to our industry?
Retain Existing Talent:
To paraphrase Yogi Berra, “If they don’t wanna work for you, nobody’s gonna stop ‘em.” As owners and manufacturers, we must constantly look at benefit packages, perks, training, and a workplace environment which causes the employee to ask, “Why would I ever want to leave?”
This resource can be as broad and diverse as you allow it to be. Facebook, LinkedIn, Monster, etc. provide a huge stage to promote your company along with a large audience of potential employees. These resources seem to appeal to the younger generation. Also, consider adding a “Hiring” page to your company website.
Announce to your existing employees that you are hiring. They have a vested interest in inviting the “right fit,” and typically know the work ethic of anyone they recruit.
Local community colleges with an HVAC curriculum are a valuable resource for talent. Most community colleges have intern programs that work with local businesses. These recruits have already chosen to make a career in the HVAC industry.
The U.S. Department of Labor has a Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) www.dol/vets/hire, complete with an employer’s toolkit to get started. Many veterans already have training in HVAC.
Staffing agencies do a great job doing the basic “vetting” (drug tests, background checks, etc.). Be sure to interview staffing agency recruits to verify their actual experience and abilities.
Belong to ACCA:
Perhaps the most valuable resource for finding talent is the information you receive when interacting with other contractors. Attending the IE3 Show will surround you with a diverse group of contractors and learning labs that allow you to make informed decisions on finding recruits. Also, keep an eye out for ACCA’s Workforce Development Program. This is a great time to be a member of ACCA!
Hopefully this article will serve as a forum for other methods of finding new talent. Please share your thoughts and any recruitment strategies that either worked, or did not work for you.