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Stop the Churn: Hire New Employees for the Long Term

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It’s no secret that the trades industry is plagued with high employee turnover. According to The Management Association, positions in production, maintenance, service, and trade had the highest employee churn rate of all groups surveyed: 33.6% of employees left their job in the past year. But even in this landscape, it’s possible to stop employee churn by focusing on what matters most—creating a culture where employees feel valued. Let’s dive in.

10 Factors That Will Improve Your Employee Retention

Many factors contribute to employee churn. But when team members feel like they’ve joined a family and they’re able to enjoy and excel in their jobs, they won’t want to leave. Here are five factors that will improve your retention rate.

Remember Retention Starts on Day One

Make Day One a great experience for new hires. Share your vision and core values. Let them see your passion to become the leading service business in your area. Make sure to follow up day one with a a comprehensive, 90-day onboarding process that includes training, mentoring and role play. Onboarding is critically important to set new hires up for success, and the entire company should be involved.

Design Your Culture

Workplace cultures that develop by default tend to be “dog-eat-dog,” so new employees are viewed as potential threats. The way to get ahead is to compete against others. To retain employees for the long term, get intentional about designing a culture that emphasizes teamwork, unity, and everyone upping their game together. And don’t overwork your employees—not only because they’re more likely to make mistakes, but because a culture of stress and exhaustion leads to employee churn faster than any other factor.

Give Team Members the Opportunity to Excel

New hires that recently graduated, got licensed in their trade, or are excited about training for something new are generally not looking to be mediocre in their jobs. It’s companies and culture that pull people down to doing the bare minimum. Don’t be the supervisor who comes down on employees for finishing a job 15 minutes early. Encourage workers to excel and provide them with clear paths for professional growth, and you’ll see your employee turnover rate drop.

Reward Performance

Many believe that rewarding years of service helps with employee retention, but rewarding performance does far more. When you make it possible for employees to earn above their salary, they’ll go for it. Selling memberships, doing emergency calls, and working holidays can be rewarded. Some service businesses even run a bonus program so employees who exceed a monthly minimum in revenue earn a share of the revenue. Employees who earn an extra $2,000 a month in bonus pay and perks will think twice about leaving.

Make a Difference in Your Community

Profitable, growing companies are able to give back to their communities and make a difference. Whether it’s fundraising for a local charity, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or pledging support for employees who participate in a walkathon, you have the power to do something bigger as a team. When you work together for a charitable cause, it not only strengthens your team, but can provide a sense of purpose that improves employee engagement.

Review Your Hiring Process

Employee churn actually starts with your hiring process. This is where you set the right expectations with potential hires. A clear, accurate job description will attract candidates with the right qualities and weed out those who aren’t looking for what you offer. Provide more details during the interview process and answer any questions honestly. When candidates’ expectations line up with the reality of the job, they’re more likely to stick around.

Invest In Your Employees

Too many businesses expect their employees to be loyal without fulfilling their needs. It starts with a great compensation and benefits package, plus yearly reviews and merit increases. But reducing employee churn also means investing in professional development that allows them to grow in their career, whether by getting a new certification or attending a conference. Also, keep everyone up to date on safety training and customer service practices so they’re equipped to be their best.

Get the Right Tools

Do you actually know your company’s employee churn rate? As you scale, knowing this becomes essential. Human resources (HR) management software can help you figure it out. Some other tools you can use include survey software to conduct anonymous surveys, scheduling and dispatch software to keep an eye on workload, and chat platforms for communication. You should also set up a knowledge base that contains your training videos, manuals, and other onboarding materials. A good onboarding process sets new hires up for success, and that helps reduce employee churn.

Prioritize Communication

Open communication builds trust and improves employee engagement—and that directly affects your bottom line. Gallup estimates that low engagement costs the global economy $8.8 trillion. Keep your employees updated on what’s going on within the company, and offer them opportunities to share their thoughts. (This is where you can use the survey and chat software from the previous tip.) While you won’t keep everyone, you can even learn from those who leave: Conducting exit interviews is a great way to get honest opinions.

Give Constructive Feedback

Have you heard the saying, “Employees don’t quit jobs, they quit managers”? Yes, it’s true—employee churn may be a result of your management practices. It’s common for service business owners to be focused on the technical side of things. You’re in your element out on the job, but when it comes to giving feedback, you may be using harsh strategies that aren’t helping your employees grow. Instead, think of yourself as a gardener, there to shape and support employee development.

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Trades Employee Retention FAQ

Why Is It Difficult to Retain Employees in the Skilled Trades?

The main reason it’s difficult to retain employees is that there’s a shortage of skilled trade workers. With more job openings than there are people to fill them, workers know that if they’re not happy where they are, they can easily find another job. The labor shortage also means that trade workers are overworked and under pressure, contributing even more to employee churn.

How Can I Find and Hire the Right Employees for My Trades Business?

Finding and hiring the right skilled trade employees starts with crafting a detailed, accurate job description so you reach the most relevant candidates. Offer a compensation and benefits package that’s in line with or higher than the standard in your area. Finally, set clear expectations during the hiring process so there are no surprises when the work starts.

How Can I Better Manage My Trades Employees?

Effective workforce management involves coordinating many moving parts, from scheduling appointments and planning routes to tracking employee performance and managing inventory. Use management software to help you, and don’t forget the importance of providing training, professional development opportunities, and a positive work environment to reduce employee turnover.

Stop the Revolving Door of Employees

Ultimately, the way to stop employee churn is to become the kind of service business where no one ever wants to leave. You can start by implementing the strategies above. However, truly transforming your business means shifting your mindset from simply being an “owner/operator” to becoming a true leader. That’s where CEO Warrior comes in.

Our coaching membership program is specifically designed for service businesses like yours. You won’t just learn how to prevent employee turnover. You’ll learn how to improve every aspect of your business to drive growth in today’s competitive landscape. Take the first step with a free strategy session and stop the revolving door of employees for good.

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