KBB - January 2015 - (Page 14)

DEALER DISH Labor remains a concern among large kitchen and bath dealers The conversation also evolved into the fact that we now have a multi-generational workforce, each generation thriving in their own unique environment and maybe even desiring different benefit packages. Q: How did you break down the issues, and what were the best practices gleaned from the session? When a group of the best operators in the country come together, a hot topic on everyone's mind is labor. David Gheesling, CEO of KBx, a national network of successful dealer/distributors throughout the country, recently discussed the labor conversation held at the company's national conference in Lake Tahoe. Q: You addressed a major topic with your members - finding, recruiting, training and retaining installation labor. David Gheesling: Nationally, we are not replacing labor very well. We entered this year expecting a 30 percent increase in new-home construction; by March, this figure was ratcheted down to 6.7 percent, and labor constraints were the key driver. The pace of new-home construction slowed down in spring because of labor shortages in all components of the home. Builders consequently had to raise home prices, and buyers weren't willing to pay the increase - or financial institutions weren't willing to extend credit at those levels. Q: Can your group address these issues? DG: Absolutely, there are some things we can address nationally by studying each local market. We are forming a task force, studying the root causes and engaging every member to identify better practices for recruiting, training and retaining labor. Another aspect we are researching is the extent to which manufacturers can play a role in training our labor force in terms of offering classes, as well as trade association involvement in the development and recruiting of our talent. In general, we aim to provide updates on regulations concerning independent contractors vs. employees. Members discussed the implications, tax and otherwise of employee classifications, and we'll be addressing that point again at our meeting in Las Vegas during KBIS 2015. 14 + K BB DG: As challenging as the labor component to our business can be, we view our labor position as an important competitive advantage within which even subtle improvements can lead to tremendous gains in the marketplace. Across all facets of our businesses, we are seeing our best people being recruited by competition, and we shared ideas on how to keep those team members. For example, a Texas-based company has an in-house "university" where employees are able to grow and fulfill a desire for self-improvement. A mentoring program is also in place whereby inexperienced salespeople are paired with the more experienced for guidance and training. The conversation also evolved into the fact that we now have a multigenerational workforce, each generation thriving in their own unique environment and maybe even desiring different benefit packages. One company has revamped its website to attract Gen X&Y super stars. According to the owner of a New Jersey-based kitchen and bath dealer who attended the conference,"Social media, including the look and feel of our website, is key to reaching the younger generation. We know they'll do their homework, and we needed to make sure our website fits their mobile apps. We added employee comments to our website, as well, to highlight our company culture and make it more about our people. Running ads on Craigslist or monster.com isn't enough. We also have to have a presence on Facebook and YouTube." The discussion also focused on benefits important to these generations. Since work-life balance is key to recruit Gen X&Y, members said they are adopting a value of "physically fit before mentally fit," and employees are encouraged to exercise during the work day. Philanthropic practices are important too, and members are suggesting their team members take one day per month to complete a charitable activity. n - Kathy Tilley is vice president of FEI Group, a network of flooring, cabinetry and countertop fabricators, which includes KBx. KBx is a national network of successful dealer/distributors throughout the country. Learn more at www.feigroup.net/kbx. January 2015 / www.kbbonline.com / The Official Sponsor of KBIS www.kbis.com http://www.monster.com http://www.feigroup.net/kbx http://www.kbbonline.com http://www.kbis.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - January 2015

Contents
Online Contents
Editor’s Note
Show Director’s Note
People & Places
Dealer Dish
Tech Savvy
Business Practice
Sustainable Design
Universal Design
Solutions
Favorites
Before and After
Industry Outlook
KBIS 2015 and Design & Construction Week
Trends
Products
Design
Living Joyfully
Bittersweet Symphony
The Glamorous Life
New Lines, New Look
Learning Corner
Last Word

KBB - January 2015

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