KBB - January 2015 - (Page 14)
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.
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.
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.
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
January 2015 / www.kbbonline.com / The Ofﬁcial Sponsor of KBIS www.kbis.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - January 2015
Show Director’s Note
People & Places
Before and After
KBIS 2015 and Design & Construction Week
The Glamorous Life
New Lines, New Look
KBB - January 2015