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Cultural Diversity & Inclusion in the HVACR Community

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It’s no secret that the heating, cooling & refrigeration industries have historically been dominated by males, predominantly heterosexual, Caucasian males, since the dawn of the time. From cavemen building fires and storing mammoth meat for the snowy season through modern history where women make up less than 2% of the HVACR workforce even though women account for nearly half of all American workers according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, it’s difficult to get to our destination by staring in the rearview mirror. As the nation continues to work towards a more inclusive, diverse, and accepting workforce for emerging groups such as women, LGBTQ+, and other minorities, so must the HVACR community to thrive in 2020 and beyond.

With the ever-increasing urgency for qualified, motivated professionals within the home services space, and the lack of technicians, HVACR companies need to build diversity and inclusion within their organizations to attract new talent and inspire the next generation of HVACR professionals.

So…where do we begin with building a better, more inclusive HVACR business?

The Benefits of Diversity & Inclusion

For starters, it’s essential to note that with more millennials and Gen Z joining the workforce each day, companies must adapt to shifting employment norms and expectations of the younger generations. So, just what do these individuals expect from their employer?

First and foremost, there’s no tolerance for discrimination based on race, gender, sexual preference, nor socio-economic status within the workplace. Speaking on behalf of the workers of tomorrow, younger generations feel that experience, merit, and character ought to determine job placements and upward mobility within an organization.

And it makes sense within an HVACR context. As the owner of a home services company, you’re more inclined to promote or give a salary bump to the individual going above and beyond for the customer, and better themselves and the business each day, right? It doesn’t matter what they look like or who they love, or have anything to do with their financial status — and nor should those superficial traits impede their growth in the Land of Opportunity.

Cultivating a Diverse Team of HVACR Professionals

The ultimate goal of any business is to make money, plain and simple. But what gets complicated is when your business’s trajectory hits a plateau and those expected, stagnant weeks of shoulder-season turn into year over year losses?

Like most seasonal businesses, members of the home services community expect the highs and lows. But what if shoulder seasons were a thing of the past? With the ever-increasing demand for heating, cooling, plumbing, and refrigeration, your business should no longer have to anticipate a slow down for the jobs out or dollars in.

Truthfully, the easiest way to keep growing is by doing just that: growing. Through not only diversifying your workforce and attracting new talent, but also diversifying your services and expanding your techs’ service area, you’ll be able to strengthen your company’s control of the local HVACR market, but solidify the foundation of your inclusive business for the years to come.

As the exclusive digital marketing agency of ACCA, 1SEO Digital Agency has learned that one of the most prevalent pain points within the HVACR community is recruiting within the home services sector. With a relatively small window for having high turnover, it’s essential to establish your team as the clear front-runner.

Building a Better Workplace

As a nationally leading digital marketing agency, 1SEO’s leadership team understands the value in cultivating a diverse and inclusive group to further our commitment and value to clients’ success by bringing new thoughts, ideas, perspectives, and experiences to the table each day. At 1SEO, it doesn’t matter where you come from — it matters what you do once you get here. A prime example is our executive team members, who each started at 1SEO in entry-level positions and propelled their way to the top with their innovative digital marketing tactics. With a diverse group of individuals — men and women alike — our leadership team paves the way in new marketing initiatives.

Our very own CFO, Jolin Bachmann, named Philadelphia Business Journal’s 2019 CFO of the Year, along with her wife and 1SEO Digital Agency’s COO, CJ Bachmann, are the ultimate D&I trailblazers, promoting and participating in groups and events such as #girlSTEM and Lesbians Who Tech. Getting more women and girls involved in STEM fields like ours isn’t just something we preach — it’s what we live every day.

Through working with countless HVACR professionals throughout different regions of the country, our team has developed a thorough understanding of what our home services clients need to find success both on and offline. Those ideas and advertising campaigns come from our diverse team.

Where Can ACCA Members Start With D&I?

There are plenty of places where you can begin establishing a more diverse and inclusive culture and team in the workplace, but it all begins with a conversation. Speak with your in-house team and technicians to gain a basic understanding of the values they wish to see displayed by their employer. Here are a few more ideas to help get your D&I headed in the right direction:

  • Get active with promoting your company’s mission, culture, and diversity on social media.
  • Focus on the results and qualifications of your candidates, not their race or gender.
  • Establish a structured interview & training process to eliminate hiring bias.
  • Challenge your employees to recruit new prospects and out-of-the-box thinkers.
  • Allow flexible work hours to accommodate different circumstances for your team.
  • Plan team-building experiences to strengthen team bonds & break barriers.
  • Get involved in the community and reach out to groups you’ve never worked with.
  • Reconsider your office décor to create a more professional, neutral work environment.

At the end of the day, creating a more diverse and inclusive business begins at the top and your leadership team’s willingness to set the example and expectations, and then stick to them without exception. Nearly half of all businesses with diverse leadership show higher profits, and inclusive companies are the most likely to expand and capture new markets. The choice is yours!

Casey Quinn
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Posted In: Management

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