According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nationwide average for employee tenure across industries is about 4.6 years. Within the roofing industry, however, the average amount of time an employee stays with one company is about 16 months. That’s a big problem for companies that rely on their Foremen and skilled trades workers to perform at a high level. So what causes that rapid rate of turnover, what are the real effects on roofing companies, and what can company leaders do to keep their teams from jumping ship?
Attrition is a Chain Reaction
Because of the nationwide skilled labor shortage, good roofing Foremen and their field teams are in high demand everywhere. It’s very common for quality Foremen to receive calls from recruiters and competing roofing companies alike with employment offers. And all other factors being equal, these in-demand workers will follow the dollar most of the time - even for small increases in pay. Once a Foreman makes a move, they can easily bring their field teams with them, and then their former employers have lost not just one employee but teams of eight to ten. I’ve seen time and time again that this chain reaction can extend all the way up the corporate ladder, affecting everyone from field personnel to C-suite.
Turnover Impacts Quality and Quantity of Projects
Having a healthy backlog of projects is great - until you’re not sure if you’ll have the staff in place to complete them on time and within budget. With the increase in private negotiated work, some clients are even building specific teams into their contracts based on industry reputation or previous successful project completions - so you could risk losing out on a project altogether if your team fluctuates. If roofing companies maintain strong, cohesive teams over the long term, they can guarantee quality craftsmanship and sell more work at the same time.
Demonstrate Value to Your Key Employees
It’s important to note that your key employees aren’t just your senior managers. Get to know your teams and understand who garners respect, wields influence, and builds strong relationships. Whether they’re laborers, Foremen, or high-level executives, you want to make sure you are showing those employees and their teams how valuable they are to your company. Talk to them about their long-term prospects with your company. Outline upcoming projects and make it clear that they’re integral to your company’s success moving forward. Increase the team’s pay with each successful project - even small amounts show that you are committed to keeping them happy and supported. Offer training opportunities to keep their skills sharp, and create opportunities for career growth.
No employee wants to change jobs every 16 months. Learning the ropes at a new company is challenging under the best of circumstances. If you do the work on the front end to provide your employees with all the tools they need to be successful, make them feel valued, and communicate to them that they have a long-term home with your company, you are much more likely to improve both retention and engagement at every level of your organization. The more you invest in your employees’ long-term success, the more they’ll invest in yours.