How to find and build the best team for service or construction business

How to find and build the best team for service or construction business

February 1, 2021
(Reading time: 4 - 7 minutes)

The statistical doom and gloom of the service and construction industry’s labor market isn’t just theoretical. Many areas of the world, country, and right here in North Carolina feel the pain; talented, experienced workers are hard to find. Numerous friends, prospects, and clients in the industry have looked at me and said simply, “can you help me find people who want to work.”

Obviously, you want to find and hire employees, but how can you find the best so you can build the best team. While it may seem like all hope is lost, there is an opportunity. Like anything, it is going to take some planning and forward-thinking. With that, here are four tips to help you build the best team for service or construction business.

1. What does your perfect employee look like

Think of it like this. You wouldn’t want to do a content marketing campaign without having an audience in mind. Looking for the perfect employee should be no different. The clearer the picture you have of that person in your head, the better off you will be.

Think about what you are looking for, what qualifications do they have, if any. Do they have experience? Are they reliable and hardworking? Now take it a step further, will they fit with your companies culture? 

Once you get to the interview portion, you will want to qualify them just as you would if you were quoting or estimating a job. What are the non-negotiable skills this person will need versus what you can teach them? 

As a friend of mine used to say, there are no pie jobs in the pie factory. Just like there is not a perfect employee. What you need to think about and do is follow the advice of Peter Shutz, “Hire character. Train skill.” Most of the time, you can teach someone how to hammer a nail or sweep the floor, but you can’t teach things like disposition, loyalty, and ethics.

2. Be a magnet for talent

Today’s generations look for places that offer more than money, insurance, and typical benefits. They look at your companies culture, how you treat your employees. 

As an example, one of our clients, Action Service Company, focuses on jobs within an hour’s radius of their shop. The reason being the owner, Carl Stewart, doesn’t want his employees to go home tired and not be able to spend time with their families. 

One of the easiest ways to attract incredible talent is to be the “Cheers” in your field and area. In other words, be the place where everyone wants to be. 

3. Play the long game and plan three steps ahead

In my younger years, I loved to shoot pool. While I was never the best, I would often watch a group of older men play. They would often “run the table.” What I came to realize was they were always looking 1-3 steps ahead. They would take a shot and try to set themselves up for the next. If they couldn’t make the shot, they would try to set up their opponent for an even harder shot.

Now I am not advocating you set up your competitors for failure, but ultimately you want to set yourself up for success. Always be on the lookout for the next great hire. If you can, you want to look and think about six months ahead of when you expect to need another truck on the road or another crew. While that may seem like forever, think about this, how long does it take to find and hire an employee or crew? How long does it take to onboard them and train them in how you prefer things to be done? How long would it take you to set up a truck or van with all the equipment you need? Now, does six months seem like that long? What about the person with 15 years of experience? They may have some bad habits that you need to work through before letting them loose.

As of this article’s writing, the home and commercial services along with the trades are booming. At the same time, it is hard to know what may happen in six months. A savvy business person will at least attempt to forecast where they may be and want to be in six months, one year, five years, and even ten years. While you still need to remain flexible, it never hurts to start having conversations with prospective employees.

4. Hire slow, fire fast

Chances are you may have heard this phrase before, “Hire slow, fire fast.” In the seasons of time where unemployment around the world is high, the idea of “hire slow, fire fast” may seem insensitive. However, for two reasons, I would say this approach is more compassionate than the alternatives.

This is your business; it will not serve you or your clients if your business becomes bloated and slowly suffocates itself. You need to keep your business healthy and growing!

Secondly, if one person is dragging the rest of your team down, is it worth it? What about the risk of losing good employees to your competition because you are unwilling to let one person go. Remember, lack of courage is not equal to having compassion.

Future Employees: How and where to find them

As long as there are people on this earth, we will need people to build, repair, and clean up after each other. Therefore I want to make a bold prediction. I think we will see an influx of the next generation looking to fill these jobs. The question remains, where do you find them at and how can we educate the future generations about these careers.

Utilize inbound marketing methods for recruitment

You may be saying, how can I use inbound or content marketing to find employees? The answer is simple, you do it the same as if you were trying to sell to them, and in a sense, you are. You are trying to sell them on a career in your field and with your company.

Look to social media

Social media can be a great place to highlight your companies culture. Show the fun side of the business. Show and communicate how you care for your employees and their families if that is important to you and your future employees.

Reach out to high schools, technical and community colleges

Recruiting students while they are still in school will give you a captive audience and talent pool from which to pick from. Consider starting an apprenticeship program or having interns during your peak times. This will provide you with a chance to have a trial run with a potential employee. If they are a good fit, then for a little bit of time invested, you have already trained and onboarded them in how you want things done.

If you need help or want to learn more about how inbound marketing or social media can help with your employee recruitment, contact us, we would be happy to have a conversation!

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Chad Treadway

Written by:  |  February 1, 2021

Chad is a Partner and our Chief Smarketing Officer. He will help you survey your small business needs, educating you on your options before suggesting any solution. Chad is passionate about rural marketing in the United States and North Carolina. He also has several certifications through HubSpot to better assist you with your internet and inbound marketing.

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