When we started this series in January, it was natural to talk about trends for the upcoming year, especially in the labor market. This article will take a much longer perspective and focus on the major theme of the decade – an increasingly competitive environment for good people.
What You Need to Know
- A Resurgence in the Trades. We are at a convergence of several forces; overpriced education without employable skills, a shortage of skilled tradesman, and artificial intelligence. The price of education has accelerated beyond pay as you go. The average debt is $40,000 – more than their degree pays. Contrast that with a plumbing certificate with a starting salary of $50,000. That leaves us with the last and scariest trend – the elimination of white collar jobs. Using AI means many white collar jobs will be eliminated by 2025.
- There is No Such Thing as Unskilled Labor. This starts with NOT viewing people as warm bodies. Every organization has 2 things to teach: specific skills and the business. If your landscape company has the normal 3 service lines of design build, maintenance, and turf – this provides an opportunity to professionalize all the required skills and create a multi-year development plan. The qualified are your management seed corn and have a 5 to 7 year process of professionalizing the labor force.
- View Your Role as a College Basketball Coach. If you follow college basketball, few teams keep their star players until graduation. The core competence of the best programs is recruiting and developing talent. If you are a High School All American there more scholarships than you can accept. How do you choose – who has the best record of winning AND placing people in the pro’s!
- Partner with National and Local organizations that promote the trades. This is your labor pool. At the High School level you have organizations like DECA and SkillsUSA. Get involved and use their resources to find great candidates. Think about the attraction of your offer – started with $2,000 for a truck, mower, and basic tools to create a million dollar business. Half of today’s high schoolers want to make money by working with their hands outside of a cube. Find the best and groom.
- Professionalize your operation. Starting with changing the mindset. Instead of laborers, they are Technicians and focus on how to master the job quickly. Once they have been ‘certified’ move them around until they are competent in all aspects of the business. Now groom your first line supervisors and follow the same process. Create a plan that shows how in a few years they can move into a supervisory role with improved pay and benefits. Make this your major recruiting tool because it is.
- Recruit a Career, not a Job. Unless your growth plan for the business ends at one location where are your future executives? What if your plan was to open new locations or service lines and develop those leaders? Imagine your ability to recruit by showing a path to ownership?
Where You Can Get Help
This solution is much more than a few How-To steps. This requires systematizing the business on a platform that automates the routine and allows people to use intelligence to do the job or run the business. What are essentials?
- Map all of your processes eliminating low value activities
- Develop SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) for each process
- Develop PD’s (Position Descriptions) for each role
- Profile the key attributes for each position to find the best match for hiring
- Create a Succession Plan – a path for starting at the bottom and working your way to ownership
If you go here, your employment ads will move beyond a police lineup. There are great people out there waiting to build a life with someone who will appreciate their talent and contribution. For more information on becoming the Employer of Choice, contact William Eastman at 833.784.7336 (833.RUGREEN).