Get All Hands On Deck to Improve Skilled Trade Recruitment

By Charlie Kimmel on February 6, 2020

In today’s market, construction leaders in every sector are working to secure their companies’ futures by building strong backlogs and making strategic hires to carry them forward. But many companies make the mistake of limiting their recruiting efforts to their HR and internal recruitment teams. This is a missed opportunity, especially when it comes to filling key roles in the skilled trades. Those trades are a critical segment of the construction workforce that faces an uphill battle when it comes to recruitment due to widespread misconceptions and limited branding. To build an exceptional skilled trades team, construction companies need to train every employee, from the receptionist to the CEO, to understand the value of the skilled trades and contribute to their recruitment efforts. Here are a few simple steps that can help.

Educate Employees at Every Level

For employees to positively represent a company’s skilled trades team in the market, they must first understand the benefits of working in the skilled trades and the importance of those jobs to the company’s overall success. Company leaders should include information about the skilled trades in company literature for all new hires, so that they begin learning about how those roles function within the company during the onboarding process. At company meetings and events, managers should make sure to highlight their tradesmen’s achievements and important contributions to the success of recent projects. The more that companies can emphasize the excellent starting pay, growth opportunities, and job security of skilled trades jobs, the more they can combat the stigma surrounding these roles and prove that employees can be very happy and highly successful in the skilled trades.

Put Top Tradesmen in Charge

The best people to lead the charge for new skilled trades workers are the employees who work in those positions already. Skilled tradesmen are passionate about what they do, and they understand the skills required and both the challenges and benefits of their jobs. This combination of education and pride make a company’s leading skilled tradesmen the ideal ambassadors for those roles. Company leaders should make sure they have trades workers represented at industry conferences and networking events, and involve them in all local recruitment efforts. Listen to their input on what kinds of traits new hires should have, and enlist their help in creating internship programs or partnerships with local trades programs.

Get All Hands on Deck

Once a company’s employees are educated on the merits of skilled trades jobs and the trades workers themselves are participating in the recruiting efforts, it’s time to get everybody else trained in and excited about growing the team. Make sure everyone understands the key qualities they should be looking for in new hires, including the technical requirements for skilled trades workers and the soft skills and cultural-fit qualities that would help a new hire be successful within the company. Then create a company-wide initiative to encourage everyone’s participation. Managers might institute a $500 finder’s fee to anyone who introduces a successful hire to the company, or supplement an employee’s compensation with bonuses related to recruiting events attended.

The most important thing for a company to do to improve its skilled trade recruitment is to make sure both its current tradesmen and all of its employees understand how valuable the skilled trades are to the overall success of the company. From compensation to acknowledgement at company events to representation at local and national networking and recruitment events, a company must find ways to change the big-picture perception of the trades and demonstrate their commitment to building a strong team of well-trained, job-secure, and fulfilled skilled trades workers.

The Author

Straight from the desk of

Charlie Kimmel

Charlie Kimmel

President & CEO

Charlie Kimmel has dedicated his career to executive search. Charlie is an honors graduate of the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He began his career at Kimmel & Associates as a recruiter in 1990.

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