We asked contractors what’s working for them today…
With record low temps keeping contractors all over the country REAL busy right now, we challenged ourselves to keep this to a 1-minute read with a handful of action items to take back to your business and start implementing right away.
Last month, some folks from the XOi team traveled to Las Vegas for the Service World Expo, where we met and spoke with many leaders in the field service space. Our CEO actually led one of the breakout sessions, and in it, he posed a question to the audience of service managers and business owners: What are you doing to solve the skilled trades problem in your businesses today?
And the Audience Said…
- When it comes to marketing dollars, colleges have a lot more to work with than trade schools do, so you have to be proactive to combat this. Go where the young people are going — coordinate with high school career days, college fairs, military job fairs. In the race of college vs. trade school, college is winning because it’s been pushed so hard for so long in our society; businesses in the trades have to physically get in front of their potential recruits in order to get their attention.
- Find recruits who nail it with the soft skills, and train them on the technical stuff. By no means is HVAC an easy subject, but it’s a whole lot easier to teach and train on than the soft skills that make up the other half of the job — the social awareness, communication skills, and sales acumen that make the most effective technicians.
- Create different shifts to work around people’s unique schedules, providing them the flexibility they need. Not everyone prefers morning-to-evening work hours, and certainly not everyone enjoys middle-of-the-night emergency calls. To build a better work-life balance for his techs, this contractor revamped his whole scheduling system, so his techs work when they’re at their best, and he’s still staffed around the clock.
- When it comes to training, be more engaging. Provide regular live, interactive trainings that incorporate hands-on work, and—particularly for this generation of workers—modern technology. Young people practically came out of the womb with a smartphone in their hands, so it’s part of their expectation for a desirable career. There’s a lot of innovative technology out there, and it can produce incredible results for your business across the board, so it’s worth the investment.
- This one’s a little on the soft side, but it’s important for our purposes here. When it comes to your relationships with the young people in your life, promote an open mind and pride in the trades. Careers in this industry have been passed over for far too long, but if we change the way we talk about them, we can build up bright young people, making sure they know that they are talented and intelligent, and that this career path is just as valid as going to college. Success is being the best at what you do, regardless of what it is you choose.
Ok, this one’s a bonus because we’ve definitely hit our 1-minute mark, and this idea is admittedly a tad bit more intense. But one of our audience members told us how they started a training school as part of their contracting business to train up fresh faces for a fulfilling career with them.
It’s not entirely uncommon for contractors to open their own schools, especially with the return their bound to see when it comes to training techs to their own company standards. However, these guys managed to get the local news on the matter, where they highlighted the opening of the school and the awesome things students could expect in their training, including high-tech plumbing simulators. That contractor scheduled 30 interviews in one day from that tactic alone.
These aren’t overnight solutions because the problem is a lot bigger than that, and frankly, Rome wasn’t built in a day. But we challenge you to start somewhere. Start small, launch fast, and adjust.
If you’re interested in learning more about how XOi can help in these efforts, we want to hear from you. Visit www.xoi.io/schedule-demo/ to connect with one of our reps, and we’ll show you how to use a simple mobile app to effect change in your business.