Three Keys to Hiring and Attracting HVAC Talent
The HVAC industry has always faced challenges recruiting and retaining talented comfort advisors and technicians. The past year and a half has taken that pain point to new heights with extremely high demand, strained supply chains, and unprecedented challenges to service, sell, and install equipment in customers’ homes. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the need for HVAC workers will continue to increase for the next decade even while the workforce is aging and companies struggle to find new young career-starting workers.
The question then becomes: What are you doing to attract and retain workers?
Focus on these three areas to hire and keep talent. Here’s three tips to keep in mind:
1. Stay Hyper-Focused on Customer Value
There’s always a temptation to close an easy deal and make a quick buck. But the more transactional your relationship is with your customer, the more transactional your relationship will be between your company and your employees too. The best companies focus on building long-term relationships with their customers. They educate and advise. And they will not sell services or equipment that do not meet their customers’ needs.
Properly designing HVAC systems is a perfect example. Yes, you might have to do a load calculation just to comply with code or manufacturer recommendations. But the real reason to do a proper Manual J load calculation and follow quality standards is based on identifying and delivering true customer value.
Keeping your company’s focus on customer value builds respect and allegiance. Solving real problems with real solutions appeals to employees of all generations, and is of particular interest to focus for millennials. Remember, if you treat your customers like they are simply a revenue stream, don’t be surprised if your employees jump ship when they see an opportunity at another shop that offers a short-term salary boost.
2. Support Your Employees with Training & Business Systems
The HVAC trade can be an extremely difficult profession. Hot attics. Crawlspaces. Banging sheet metal. Long, long days. But the physical demands are only a part of the challenge. Comfort advisors and technicians need to engage customers, learn new technologies, understand how their trade impacts the home’s overall indoor environment, and deal with how jobs are scheduled, tracked, and processed.
The best HVAC companies support their employees in all of these areas. Examples include:
- Helping Supporting technicians achieve to receive North American Technician Excellence (NATE) certifications, taking trainings from online provides such as Qtech and Interplay, and attending educational events like ACCA conferences
- Encouraging Supporting designers to take Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) courses
- Investing in business systems that improve productivity, such as Schedule Engine, so your employees can focus on their highest-and-best use, not repetitive and frustrating tasks
Offering training and improving systems is a necessary, but not sufficient means to retain workers. To really make a difference, employers need to ensure these support systems create a career ladder for employees. What does their career path look like in three to ten years? If you don’t help them create that vision, then their vision may not include staying in your business.
3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.
The best efforts are wasted if they can’t be effectively communicated and lived daily. That applies to retaining employees, as well as hiring new ones. Treat your employees and prospective employees like they’re your customers (and they are!).
Follow the advice of Larry Anderson of hvacinformed.com. Have a career page on your website. Communicate your values and mission to current and prospective employees using social media and other methods. Pearl is proud to partner with the best HVAC contractors in the country that employ these methods, such as Parker & Sons, William Comfort Air, Plumbline, We Care, and SoCal Airflow Pros.
Pearl’s motto is “to make value visible.” That not only applies to helping make a Pearl network member’s work visible and valuable in the eyes of a homeowner. It also applies to making a company’s value visible to its employees. Pearl’s contractor qualifications amplify a company’s commitment to their customers and employees. Pearl Network qualifications include:
- Superior Customer Service and Delivering Customer Value
- Business Best Practices
- Demonstrated Success at Growth
- Organizational Commitment to Quality
- Commitment to Community.
Being part of the Pearl Network reinforces a firm’s message to employees and to candidates that they are part of one of the nation’s leading contractors, dedicated to customer service, and to business and technical excellence.
BECOME AN ACCA MEMBER