One of the biggest challenges facing HVAC contractors today is attracting and keeping talent — especially field personnel. Research shows a huge technician shortage occurring right now, with even more dire numbers over the next five years. When you take into account how many in the labor pool are actually “qualified” technicians, it gets pretty ugly.

So what can you do about it? First, make sure you work with a good recruiting organization. Also, have a good process for interviewing to help ensure prospective employees will fit into your company culture and values.

While that’s a good start, in today’s competitive market you need to think outside the box in terms of what you have to offer that will attract the very best candidates, and get them to stay with you for as long as possible.

Create Career and Growth Opportunities

Some companies do a good job of showing potential and current employees how they can grow.

This involves illustrating a career path for them. Each path should be detailed in literature, video, and other media so it is compelling and easy to understand. It should include your training programs and career ladder requirements.

Your communications should highlight the training they will receive as they progress in your company. You should also illustrate your vision and how it sets you apart in your marketplace. It’s important to communicate your unique culture and why your people stay with you.

What if you also communicate how you don’t stop at helping people develop their talent and grow into better and higher-paying positions within your organization? What if your goal was to help them outgrow your company to reach their fullest potential?

Imagine how a prospective or current employee would view your organization if they knew your goal is to help them graduate beyond you some day! You’re taking the focus off what they can do for you and switching it to what you can do for them. How compelling would that be?

Different Communications Approach

What if your interview conversation went something like this:

Our company has a career development program designed to help you increase your talent and grow your knowledge and skills, and progress upwards through our organization. But we don’t stop there.

We recognize that when someone reaches the top of their game, they may aspire to a higher purpose beyond what is available here.

Sometimes that means moving beyond us, and we are not just OK with it, we look forward to that day. It means we are doing everything we should to help our people grow and prosper!”

Think about the message you are sending. Would you want to work for someone who said that to you? Would your employees be a little more excited about coming to work every day, knowing their boss truly cares about their future?

Take Small Steps

On the other hand, do you think your under-performers would see it as a signal that there is nowhere to hide? Typically one of two things happen: They either pull themselves up by the bootstraps and recognize the opportunity to start over with a new perspective on their job and career, or they run for the hills. Either outcome is a win.

Don’t try to do this overnight. Introduce these elements a little bit at a time. Focusing on company culture will help move the process along. This one change in how you view your people’s potential could become the spark that helps take your organization to the next level!