Do you struggle finding good workers? Your staffing strategy may be the problem.
Whether you realize it or not, you only have two viable options for building your team:
(1) Hire been-there-done-that skilled veterans, or
(2) Hire and/or promote potentially-talented, yet-unproven rookies.
The two strategies are mutually exclusive. Either strategy will work well IF you are willing and able to meet the conditions necessary for its success.
Most small contractors aren't.
Most want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to combine the best features of both strategies. That's being unrealistic.
Diane Stafford of the Kansas City Star recently wrote that business owners often complain to her that they can't find good help. Ms. Stafford pointed out that the real problem is that these owners can't find good help for what they're willing to pay!
That's what I mean by trying to have your cake and eat it too.
We would all love to staff our teams with proven veterans who would happily work for rookie pay. But that's being totally unrealistic. Being unrealistic is no way to run a business.
You will never be able find enough low priced, proven candidates to fully staff and grow your company. You can often find one or two, but never enough to keep you company fully staffed. So stop trying that failed strategy.
The truth of the matter is, experienced people often have an inflated opinion of their worth. Not only will you not get them cheap, you will probably have to over-pay.
Do professional baseball and football free agents not ALWAYS receive far more money than they're worth? The same applies with proven construction workers.
Nine times out of ten, you will have to offer them at least a 10% raise to get them to switch to your team. If you want to hire veterans, you better be prepared to pay them well.
You also better be in position to rapidly grow your sales and margins. You will need that extra income to cover the cost of the veteran.
Veterans are expensive...rookies are time consuming.
Be prepared to spend a lot of time holding a rookie's hand. Rookies ALWAYS must be taught how to perform the job successfully.
If you are the type of person who enjoys developing others, and will take the time to do it, hire aggressive, yet unproven rookies. Dozens are looking for opportunities to develop new skills, take on more responsibility and earn more money.
In the end the right strategy for you is pretty simple. To hire veterans, you need money. To hire rookies, you need time. Whichever you have the most of is the path to follow.
While we're on the subject of staffing, I would like to pass along advice from Mr. Dee Hock, builder of the VISA bankcard system. Look him up on the web. His advice is always worth listening to.
Mr. Hock tells business owners to hire and promote on the following set of characteristics, in the order presented.
The most important characteristic is integrity.
The second most important is motivation.
The third most important is capacity.
The fourth most important is understanding.
The fifth most important is knowledge.
The least important is experience.
According to Mr. Hock, here's why you should adhere to that order.
Without integrity, motivation is dangerous.
Without motivation, capacity is impotent.
Without capacity, understanding is limited.
Without understanding, knowledge is meaningless.
Without knowledge, experience is blind.
Experience is easy to provide and quickly put to good use by people with all of the other qualities.
Now, get back to work and go make some money!
About the author
Ron Roberts, The Contractor's Business Coach, provides business guidance to contractors. To receive a free copy of Ron's report, "The 10 Biggest Mistakes Contractors Make" visit www.FilthyRichContractor.com or contact him at Ron@filthyrichcontractor.com.