Recruiting and Retention: How to Build a Roofing Team That Lasts
As the spring weather approaches, the roof coating application construction business is gearing up for its busiest season. This means that there will be a higher demand for skilled workers, and companies will be looking to hire and retain team members who can help them meet this demand.
In this blog, we will discuss some strategies for building and, more importantly, retaining the strongest team for your roof coating application construction business.
Retention > Recruiting
Here are some scary facts:
- Over two to three years, a business likely invests 10% to 20% of an employee’s salary or more in training
- It costs 33% of a worker’s annual salary to replace them if they leave
- 95% of HR leaders admit employee burnout is sabotaging workforce retention.
It is far easier and more cost effective to retain than to recruit new team members. Here are technical ways you can attract AND retain skilled team members:
1. Compensation & Benefits
Money talks. We know this. Competitive compensation plans are critical for attracting and retaining skilled workers. This can come in a variety of forms, such as paying higher wages than competitors, offering raises based on performance, or providing opportunities for advancement within the team.
Offering benefits such as include health insurance, dental and vision coverage, and retirement plans, is another way to attract and retain team members. This is not news to you, I am sure. But it may feel unattainable to you. However, these can help team members feel secure in their jobs and lead to them staying longer. Consider looking at shared benefit programs through organizations like your local Chamber of Commerce. When small businesses pull together, insurance companies offer reduced rates.
Another way to retain team members is by offering incentives. In the roofing business, this may mean bonuses for completing projects ahead of schedule, for meeting certain performance metrics, or for maintaining accident-free safety streaks.
Simple things like mid-day Jimmy John’s deliveries, afterwork tailgate parties, rib cook-offs, or going to a ball game together are other affordable and worthwhile incentives and experiences that build up a team and increase team retention.
3. Optimal Schedules
One of the most affordable aspects of team retention is getting creative with schedules. This means optimizing it to work well for both the team and the team members. In the roof coating application construction business, this may mean offering creative and flexible schedules such as 4×10 rather than the classic 5×8.
It is also important to consider the workload when creating schedules. During the busy season, it may be necessary to work longer hours and on weekends. To ensure that team members are not overworked, it may be helpful to rotate schedules so that everyone has an opportunity to take breaks.
People > Projects
Showing your team you care about them more than you care about the job at hand will pay off in dividends over time. Though roofers can appear rough and gruff on the outside, but they have the basic desire to be cared for and respected. Here are some softer side ideas for creating an environment where your team members will want to stay:
1. Culture & Recognition
Here’s another startling stat: 79% of people who quit their jobs cite “lack of appreciation” as their reason for leaving.Creating a positive team culture that is respectful, supportive, and encourages open communication is essential for team retention. It is also important to recognize the achievements of team members and to show appreciation for their hard work.
Remember, you get what you celebrate! Starting your own award system that is meaningful to your team creates easy ways to acknowledge a job well done. (And encourage more like it!) You can make a creative trophy that is passed around the team, design a champion t-shirt they can sport, or simply send a team-wide email giving them bragging rights for being awesome. Think to yourself, “What would Michael Scott do?”
2. Get the Gear
Invest in quality roofing equipment that saves wear and tear on their bodies. Roofing is an intense job, often marked by day-to-day wear that takes its toll on the back, muscles, and joints. It’s also a high-risk occupation, with falls as a leading cause of workplace injury or even death.
Investing upfront in high quality gear like PPE, fall protection kits, ladder safety, and more pays off down the road by reducing insurance claims and increasing time on the job for you existing crew. Minimizing chance of injury and maximizing the message that you care about them, inside and out, is worth it.
3. Don’t Just Nail It
Just nailing it is not always going to nail it. What the heck does that mean? “Any person who can swing a hammer” is not the right hiring method. Use a smart hiring process to look for soft skills, like collaboration, communication, and adaptability. Consider adding certifications like the SPFA Professional Certification Program Field Experience, which allows contractors and applicators to gain the highest recognition for excellence and competence in their trade, to part of your development plan. Learn more about SPFA PSP here. From a retention (and therefore cost saving) perspective, those skills are more important than skill with a nail gun. It may take a little longer initially, but will, again, pay for itself in the long run. Any team member with a negative attitude and poor people skills will chip away at the entire team’s morale.
Team > Employee
You may have noticed, nowhere above did we use the words “employee” or “company”. It is all about the team members and the team. It is a subtle but critical difference in the approach taken toward culture and care. We spend most of our waking hours on the job site, so let’s make it a place we all want to be.
Take the time to get it right so you can get it right over time. We get it, hiring someone fast when you have jobs on the line is tempting and can sometimes make sense. So, as you are bringing your equipment out of hibernation to ramp up for the busy season, also take time to be proactive and preventative in your hiring process. By providing attractive compensation & benefits, incentives, optimal schedules, strong culture & recognition, high quality gear, and a smart hiring process, companies can build a strong team of skilled workers who can help them succeed in the competitive roofing industry and make this their best year yet.