For the Trade Professional
Young window installer in white t-shirt putting in a door while remodeling a houseYoung window installer in white t-shirt putting in a door while remodeling a house

As a new year approaches, industry professionals are looking for creative approaches for finding good help. Many businesses are feeling the impact of the labor shortage in the building and remodeling industry. In fact, in the last three years, 82% of builders listed cost and availability of labor as their main concern. [1]

Unfortunately, researchers and industry professionals predict that labor shortage numbers will only increase. [2][3] The good news is that businesses have the power to combat the labor deficit and draw workers to the industry. To do so, industry professionals will need creative approaches to finding and retaining good help. Position your business for growth and success in the new year with these creative approaches to growing and retaining your work force.

1. Engage Young Students and Workers

Bill Darcy, National Kitchen and Bath Association CEO, is encouraging those in the industry to educate students and young workers about the careers in the design, construction and remodeling space.

“The kitchen and bath industry’s growth trajectory coupled with the labor shortages we’re seeing in the economy gives us an ideal opportunity to educate the next generation on the many lucrative and creative opportunities we have in this market,” said Darcy. [7]

According to the NKBA, for every five members of the kitchen and bath workforce who retire, only one will enter the field. To increase the number of young workers in the industry, NKBA started the Bridge Year program. Bridge Year exposes students to high-demand careers like Installer, Electrician, Kitchen and Bath Designer and more.

“Whether it’s software design, retail, engineering, manufacturing- work with your hands [or] don’t work with your hands, we have a ton of jobs in the design and construction space,” says Darcy. [4]

Approaches for Finding Good Help[5]

  • Consider offering paid or unpaid internships
  • Participate in career fairs at local middle and high schools
  • Offer opportunities for young people to job shadow
  • Share income potential vs. education cost with students

2. Swap Resumes for Job Auditions

Searching for the perfect job candidate in a labor shortage can feel like an uphill battle. Rather than requiring a resume filled with every skill you need, consider hiring applicants with a great work ethic and potential. Hiring candidates with hard-to-train soft skills[8] like creativity, collaboration and time-management will benefit your business.

For the right candidates, on-the-job training can often fill in any gaps in training or experience. [3] Asking candidates to demonstrate their skills in the field for a day can help both parties see if the potential will translate on the job. [6]

Approaches for Finding Good Help

  • List soft skills that are important for your business
  • Expand your search to consider candidates with soft skills and less experience
  • Outline what a job audition would look like for your business
  • Use a job audition for your next hire

3. Focus on Education and Training

Whether you’re training less experienced hires or grooming current employees for more responsibility, focusing on education and training has big pay offs. For potential or new hires, knowing that a business will help them grow their education and career is motivation to join the industry and stay.

Offering education to current employees is an investment that will help prevent labor losses in the future. The cost of filling vacant positions often comes in the form of slowed job completion, which can be crippling for smaller businesses.

The labor shortage, and finding solutions, is top of mind throughout the design, construction and remodeling industry. So much so, that top execs will discuss the skilled labor crisis in their next KBIS State of the Industry Panel.

If business implement these creative hiring solutions, and create their own, the industry will continue to thrive in the face of a labor shortage.

Approaches for Finding Good Help

  • Offer additional on-the-job training to current employees
  • Complete thorough job training will all new employees
  • Consider offering scholarships for trades or continuing education