Staffing Solutions for the HVAC Industry
Successful HVAC business owners know that their company’s continued growth depends on maintaining a happy and well-trained workforce. If your employees don’t have the skills needed to effectively conduct a wide range of HVAC tasks, you’ll find yourself losing out on jobs and failing to satisfy the few customers you can attract. If your employees are capable but unfulfilled, their discontent will come across in the quality of their work and in their interactions with your clients. Attracting quality technicians and keeping them satisfied in their work constitutes a delicate but necessary balancing act for those who wish to remain relevant in a highly competitive field. We’ve compiled some helpful tips to keep in mind if you find yourself in search of a new employee or struggling to retain those you already have.
Hiring HVAC Technicians
If you’ve ever put out a listing for a position before, you know that half the work in finding a new employee comes from sifting through a deluge of resumes. While it’s great that job postings can attract a high level of interest, many—if not most—applicants inevitably won’t have the skills or background you’re looking for. Thankfully, a business owner or hiring manager has many methods at their disposal to limit the number of applications while still attracting prospective employees that possess the desired skills.
- Be as specific as possible in the initial listing for the position. If your team needs a specialist in a certain area, be sure to say so. Keep in mind that an employee can specialize in more than just the sort of work they do; if you’re looking for someone with, say, excellent customer service skills or marketing abilities, don’t hesitate to include that in the listing. While it’d be great to attract an employee who’s good at everything, such individuals are few and far between. You’ll find it much more rewarding (and much less frustrating) to focus on those who offer exactly what your team lacks.
- Be choosy about where you post your opening. Hybrid recruiting/social media sites like Indeed or LinkedIn make for solid options, as they focus on attracting career-minded individuals to their ranks. Posting to a site like Craigslist, on the other hand, will likely do little more than water down your applicant pool and give you a slew of underwhelming applications to sort through.
- Consider putting out the call for a new employee through word of mouth before creating a public posting. Here, your relationships with other HVAC owners and professional organizations will come in handy. You can also potentially reap the benefits from remaining receptive and open with your employees. Your technicians may very well know of a friend or family member who needs work and possesses the skills your company needs.
- Make the process as simple and easy as possible. Though this bit of advice seems contrary to the above tips regarding limiting applicants, you know that lackluster applications will come in no matter how complicated (or simple) you make your hiring process. You don’t want to put up so many barriers that a talented technician decides to take their skills to a company that doesn’t ask for the same degree of hoop-jumping. Make sure your website remains as accessible as possible and to limit the amount of work involved in the application process. Don’t make applicants register and login to a new system in order to submit an application. If you absolutely need to know everything about a candidate before hiring them, you can ask for any missing information during an interview. Candidates are less likely to walk if requests for more information are made after a potential employer has already shown significant interest.
HVAC Technician Retention
Adding talented employees to your team is one thing; keeping them is another. With HVAC technicians in high demand all over the country, yours won’t hesitate to jump ship to the competition if they feel unappreciated or that you treat them unfairly. The smart HVAC owner knows that retention doesn’t mean showering employees with rewards and praise to keep them happy; it means recognizing their talents and investing in their growth in order to improve their abilities as an employee (which, in turn, increases your business’ capacity to serve clients).
- If your employees are worth retaining, they’re worth training. The HVAC industry evolves at an astonishing pace, so much so that even the most talented technicians can find themselves falling behind without regular education. Set aside time in your employees’ schedule for them to attend paid workshops and training sessions. Doing so will allow them to sharpen their skills and learn new ones to both their benefit and the benefit of your clients. This sends the signal that you’re interested in the growth of your employees as individuals and not just in their ability to make you money.
- Get creative with perks. There are ways to reward your employees for exceptional work that’ll be friendlier to your bottom line than a raise or bonus. Some of these methods work just as effectively in improving morale. Merchandise with your company logo costs very little and doubles as free advertisement. You can purchase gift cards for less than their retail value and use them as prizes for monthly or quarterly contests. Even something as simple as rewarding a high performer with a paid day off can boost the spirits of that employee while also sending the message to the rest of the staff that you happily recognize hard and skillful work.
- Make your expectations clear. This notion should also apply to the hiring process, as few things can kill the relationship between a new hire and their boss quicker than a lack of proper communication. Work with your employees to set realistic goals for their training and growth. Put those goals in writing and check in with employees monthly or quarterly to discuss their progress. Remain clear about your business’ policies and procedures. Doing so will ensure that your employees appropriately represent your company and that you’ll have established documentation to point to should one of your technicians violate one of those rules.
- Don’t let employee information fall through the cracks! Missing important milestones such as work anniversaries, birthdays, or review schedules can harm your employees’ feelings of worth or value. If you pay out commissions, you also want to be very careful about keeping good records and managing the payouts accurately so as to benefit both the company and your technicians. Managing such information with an HVAC software solution will keep this database in line with the rest of your company and customer information and prevent you from entering information into more than one system.
Keep your HVAC Service Business Growing With Good Hiring Practices
HVAC technicians are no different from employees in any other field. They want meaningful work and they want rewards for doing it well. The only distinction? The competitiveness of the industry means that they can easily go someone else if you can’t provide the working environment they desire. While hiring and retaining the best technicians on the market can take extra work and expense, the benefits to your business far outpace that cost and hassle. If you’re serious about ensuring the long-term success of your HVAC business, the very first thing you need to do is create an environment in which your employees can thrive and grow alongside your company.