Recruitment & Retainment: 5 Strategies to Find and Keep HVAC Technicians
It’s a tough world out there for HVAC companies these days if we’re talking about recruitment. From a shortage of technical skills to generational changes in the workforce (goodbye, Gen X, and hello, Millennials!), recruiting and retaining HVAC technicians has become a real challenge for many companies.
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The fact of the matter is that if you want to increase productivity, you need to make the most out of your team. Always be on the lookout for ways you can improve, especially when it comes to the work environment. Studies show that happy employees are more productive so make sure your team is happy to be there. This will have the greatest impact on your recruitment efforts and, truth be told, HVAC companies need all the help they can get. These days, it’s prospective employees who have the advantage.
How so? It’s a buyer’s market out there, with more jobs available than people capable of doing them so if you want to hire the best, you better be the best. After all, your HVAC technicians are your first line of fire when it comes to earning profits. It makes sense to invest in recruiting them. So, how do find the best people and get them on-board with your business? We’ve put together 5 strategies to get you started!
Except they don’t buy your product, they buy into your culture. It’s not just about branding, that’s what you do to gain attention and build a relationship with day-to-day customers. So having a shirt with a logo doesn’t mean you have a company culture. A truly positive culture is much subtler than that which makes it very difficult to fake. It’s about a working environment that promotes employee well-being and nurtures an atmosphere of sustainable growth through innovation and teamwork.
Whenever you’re recruiting HVAC technicians, it will come through, starting with your job ad. If your listing is just an enumeration of responsibilities with no personality and a wage is the only reward, you’ll come off as if you’re doing people a great favor in hiring them. A patronizing manner is not how you get off to a good start. In a buyer’s market, first impressions matter just as much for both parties. People will be able to tell when employees are not proud of their culture with a simple search. Just like you’ll check their social channels, they will do the same with yours. Glassdoors reviews and LinkedIn comments are a good way of finding out if your prospective employee is worth it or one to skip.
Check out this complete guide to the perfect field service customer experience!
You’ll see many business articles purporting how good it is to hire slow and fire fast. That might very well work in some companies, but HVAC technicians are not easy to find so when you fire someone, you need to be ready to take a hit on the number of jobs you can do. Hiring slow is good because you want to make sure that an HVAC technician is a good fit but there’s only so much you can learn about a person from a few interviews. But firing fast, with the exception of good reason and hard proof, of course, is not sustainable.
Retaining employees is one of the most common aspects of successful companies. Think about how long it takes a new employee to get used to the processes, how long it takes the team to get accustomed to new faces and new personalities. No matter how knowledgeable or charismatic a new tech is, no one will hit the ground running in a new company. Those weeks or months of reduced productivity, until your new HVAC technicians hit their maximum potential, is a loss to your company. It’s definitely worth it, like we mentioned, to invest in training but you want to make sure your investment stays in your company. How do you do this? Start with…
You want your employees to be competitive? Of course you do, but you don’t want them aggressively competing against each other. That’s the best way to foster a negative environment. You want them competing against themselves and their previous results, always striving to do better than last time. Take it to the next level! Keep them in the know about their progress as a team and stress the importance of everyone pulling their own weight. This way, they’ll be working together, as a team, to fulfil their goals and help you grow the business.
How do you achieve this? By improving transparency. If everyone knows what the person next to them is up to, communication automatically improves. When employees are not able to see a calendar of appointments with one glance or stock levels and parts locations, they don’t know if their course of action is the best, and this goes for both admins creating work orders and technicians deciding to go back to the warehouse, unaware that there aren’t any spare parts left. Sure, some managers are apprehensive about security and privacy, but this is why good HVAC management software has access levels, where only certain users have access to the full system. All in all, when every employee is confident in their work, chances are they’ll be more productive and positive.
We’ve heard managers scoff over and over again when hearing this. Why educate employees? So they can go to our competitors? Well, you remember our previous point about the value of retaining employees, right? There’s a well known quote that says “What if I spend money on employees’ education and they leave?” and the answer is “What if you don’t and they stay?”. Retaining is vital but unproductive employees or people who make mistakes because they don’t know any better are an incredible drain on your resources as well as damaging to profits and alienating to customers. Shift Elearning put it in a great infographic:
Research shows that offering employees opportunities to learn new skills is a benefit that attracts a lot of talent. Moreover, it allows you to tap into a stream of potential employees that other companies have passed over due to a lack of skills. A good manager will know that skills can be taught but personal values and personality can’t. You’ll be better off training a more inexperienced employee (who will automatically demand a lower salary) than hiring someone who knows more but can’t be bothered to show up to work or creates a negative atmosphere. Being able to advertise learning opportunities, such as software training and support in gaining relevant qualifications, in your recruitment ads (and keep true to your promises!) will give you a real edge against the competition.
Depending on business priorities and size, some HVAC companies reach the conclusion that having their own HR department is a must but hiring HR specialists is not easy either. You might find that as business picks up or slows down, they won’t always have a job to do. So a good recruitment strategy is to hire and HR agency while you test the waters. A specialized HVAC technicians agency will provide you with the best talent in your field, as well as take care of the screening process and preliminary interviews.
By using these 5 strategies, you can optimize your company and recruit more HVAC technicians. Growing in a sustainable manner is key. You don’t want to rush into hiring but you also don’t want to be overwhelmed with work before you finally take the plunge. A good company is one that invests in both new employees and existing ones, providing them with opportunities to learn and improve themselves. Go ahead and try it for yourself!