Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 24

Skill Set

labor standards and wages, which complicates
their relationship with certain home improvement
companies that want to hire their contractors at a
specific rate,or under a certain set of circumstances.On a larger level,some corporations engage in legislative efforts to suppress the influence of these unions,
which affects their ability to develop the vocational training programs they offer
and give more aspiring tradespeople a clear avenue to cultivate their skill sets.

The Missing
Trade
Understanding and
countering the shortage

OVERCOMING THE SHORTAGE

JONATHAN PORTER is a
senior content specialist with
Spectrum Communications
& Consulting and creates
promotional and educational
materials for home remodeling
companies across the U.S.

THE HOME IMPROVEMENT INDUSTRY FACES A CHALLENGE. On one end,
renovative professionals have unceasing customer demand since all homes
gradually depreciate in some respect - whether it's the fixtures, foundation or
critical appliances. On the other end, there are fewer apprentices and young
contractors entering the field for a variety of financial and cultural reasons.
Since the Great Recession nearly a decade ago - when many veteran contractors were forced to shutter their businesses - the tradesperson shortage has
loomed large over the home improvement industry, and many have struggled
to both fully understand the issue and come up with strategies to counter it.
To better understand the shortage and its real effects on the industry, we
consulted the professionals at Precision Home Remodeling Group, who
provide renovative services to homeowners across greater New England.
Since their scope of service covers virtually every inch of the home, they're
heavily reliant on a robust group of contractors with diverse specialties and
were more than happy to help us tackle this pressing issue.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

To combat an issue as large as this, it helps to go back to the beginning and
contextualize the chain of events that created the current state of the home
remodeling industry. Here are some of the biggest factors that have contributed to the tradesperson shortage and competency gap between younger and
older, more experienced contractors:
"
A Lack of Apprentices. During the housing crisis and the ensuing recession,
homeowners were more concerned with keeping their properties than
renovating them.This affected both veteran and aspiring contractors alike,
since fewer young professionals took up apprenticeships because they needed paying work. This years-long gap in training, combined with the fact
that many experienced contractors never reopened their businesses during
the recovery, played a crucial role in creating the tradesperson shortage.
"
The Discontinuation of Family-Owned Businesses. Many home improvement
companies are family owned,which leaves them vulnerable to second-,thirdand fourth-generation family members simply deciding not to pick up the
mantle.The same economic reasons as those discussed above are still at play,
but one must also consider the increased societal pressure for young adults to
attend college and earn a degree - as opposed to entering a trade school - since
so many entry-level positions require at least an associate's or bachelor's degree.
"
Suppression of Unions. Ironically, one of the best places to find young, trained
tradespeople is through labor unions since these organizations are strong advocates and organizers of apprenticeship programs.They also endorse regulated

24

The obstacles of the tradesperson shortage are clear, but they're not insurmountable. Here are a few hiring strategies to consider so you can ensure a
steady pipeline of experienced, passionate contractors.
"
Watch the Hiring Trends of Other Businesses and Adjacent Industries. Ideal candidates won't always come from within your specific field. Always be on the
lookout for professionals whose skills overlap with the services you provide.
For example, you may be at a loss looking for new contractors or apprentices
coming out of trade school, but you may have luck training someone who
previously worked for a manufacturer of one of your products. Obviously,
there will be some additional training required, but you'll be working with
someone with established familiarity with the products you install.
"
Make It Easy for Applicants to Find You. There's no silver bullet solution for this,
but there are a variety of tactics you can combine into one cohesive hiring
strategy. Develop an internal incentive program for employee referrals so
your current crew of contractors can broaden your hiring campaign. You
can also hold open-interview days once or twice a week to efficiently hire
multiple positions at once.
"
Invest in Continuing Education. The consummate remodeler will be just as
interested in their ongoing vocational education as they will their wages.
Seek out manufacturer training programs that require continuing education credit hours as a part of their curriculum. This will distinguish your
business as an ideal landing spot for candidates because they'll be able to
refine or specialize their skills. Plus, the veteran contractors you already
employ will be able to perform their roles more efficiently by gaining a
deeper understanding of the products they work with.
"
Utilize Social Media. Your industry may not be primarily online based, but
virtually all recruiting efforts these days are. Contact local labor unions
and trade schools and request to advertise your open positions on their
respective social media feeds. Job placement is a high-priority metric for
these types of organizations, so having a direct professional pipeline they
can promote to their members and applicants will be just as beneficial to
them as the social media ads will be for you.
"
Make Your Company an Enticing Place to Work. We've covered several strategies for separating your business from the competition, but one of the
more intangible things you can do - through tangible means - is make
your company an agent of positive change in your community. You can do
this by hiring veterans, attending and organizing local events or possibly
giving discounted rates to less-advantaged customers, like elderly clients
aging in place or lower-income households.When your business embodies
core values of generosity and customer care, future applicants will be more
inclined to look at your company because working there will carry more
meaning than going from project to project.
The tradesperson shortage remains a clear and present challenge for the
home improvement industry at large, but there are steps you can take to create
more enthusiasm for the trade fields and boost your recruiting efforts.There is
no single solution or tactic, but readjusting your focus on how younger people
search for work and determining what they value in a good position will help
you present your business and open positions in the best light.


Kitchen & Bath Business / NOV.-DEC. 2017 / KBBONLINE.COM / The official publication of KBIS (KBIS.com)


http://www.KBBONLINE.COM http://www.KBIS.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017

Kitchen & Bath Business - November 2017
Contents
Editor’s Note
Show Director’s Note
Happenings
Tech Savvy
Trends
Hot Topic
Better Business
Skill Set
Dealer Dish
Countdown to KBIS 2018
Solutions
Before & After
Balanced Budget
What’s Hot
What’s Cool
Small Spaces
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Kitchen & Bath Business - November 2017
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Cover2
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 1
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Contents
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 3
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 4
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 5
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Editor’s Note
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 7
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Show Director’s Note
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 9
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Happenings
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 11
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 12
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 13
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Tech Savvy
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 15
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Trends
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 17
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 18
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 19
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Hot Topic
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 21
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Better Business
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 23
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Skill Set
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 25
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Dealer Dish
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 27
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 28
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 29
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 30
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Countdown to KBIS 2018
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 32
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 33
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 34
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 35
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 36
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 37
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 38
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 39
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Solutions
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 41
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 42
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 43
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Before & After
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 45
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 46
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 47
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Balanced Budget
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 49
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - What’s Hot
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 51
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - What’s Cool
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 53
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 54
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 55
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 56
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 57
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 58
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 59
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 60
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 61
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 62
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - 63
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Small Spaces
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Cover3
Kitchen & Bath Business - November/December 2017 - Cover4
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