Finding the Balance | Employee Recruitment and Retention
The HVACR industry is no stranger to workforce issues. As staff turnover rates continue to increase in all fields, HVACR has been forced to look at what they can do differently to keep staff long before today’s “Great Resignation.” Among this struggle, HVACR business owners have found that workload is a key factor driving high turnover rates and issues with hiring.
From too much work to too little, HVACR business owners have turned to a variety of ways that help their employees feel seen, heard, and respected. While these strategies are not one size fits all, they can be a great starting point for an HVACR business owner grappling with workforce issues.
ACCA member Matthew Holtkamp, owner of Holtkamp Heating and Air in Suwanee, GA has found work/life balance to be a key factor in drawing in new workers and ensuring that they stay for at least a few years. Holtkamp capitalizes on this by ensuring that current employees only work 40 to 50 hours a week to avoid burnout.
Sky Swanson, another ACCA member and owner of Swanson Services in Albuquerque, NM takes a different approach, allowing workers who want more than 40 to 50 hours a week to work more, and those who have other priorities to work less. With this strategy in place, Swanson rarely finds himself to be short-staffed.
While personalized work hours can drive employee retention, there isn’t always room for a 40 to 50-hour week, since much of the demand depends on the weather. When this happens, employees at C&C Heating and Air Conditioning in Roseville, MI are encouraged to reach out to customers. This could mean charging an air conditioning unit that was installed during the colder months, or scheduling work at the homes of C&C comfort club members.
To prevent employees from leaving during slow months, Swanson budgets money through the year to ensure he always keeps employees at a 40-hour week. He does this by taking a percentage of a call and moving it to an account designated for this purpose. He pays out a bonus if there is money left over at the end of the year. Swanson keeps employees busy by having them spend time on preventive maintenance or cleaning and organizing tools.
Having pride in a workplace also supports employee retention, as employees will stay in an environment in which they feel comfortable and valued. Creating a positive atmosphere and staying in touch with technicians while they are in the field can help employees to feel valued and respected.
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