I had a conversation recently with a friend of mine who had this to say, “Dave, I just can’t find good people” he exclaimed. “There just aren’t any qualified people out there and there are even less entering our trade.”
This is something I hear people say probably as much, if not more, than any other struggle they face in today’s economy.
I say in today’s economy because as the market slows these are the same people who will typically have severe financial struggles as well.
If you are struggling to find qualified people this article will shed some light on what you can do to fix the problem.
Fixing the problem will not come easy and will require a tremendous effort but it will be so worthwhile.
Will you do what it takes?
The first thing you need to do is look at yourself.
Are you the type of person that someone would want to work for?
Every great company has a leader that is worth following.
If you are going to be a leader worth following you have to treat all of your people the way you want to be treated.
But Dave, people will take advantage of you if you are too soft.
I didn’t say you had to be soft, I said you have to treat people fairly.
If you establish rules and enforce them people will respect you.
It works for raising kids why wouldn’t it work with employees?
You must be consistent with rules and consistent with enforcement.
The next thing you need to do when you can’t find good people is to create them.
Great employees are created they weren’t born this way.
Most of the experienced ones are working for your competition or they are your competition.
Training people is where most entrepreneurs get derailed.
You might be saying, I don’t have the time, it takes too long, they never last very long or the work we have is too complex to waste time training newbies.
All of those may be true but when you can’t find qualified people you need to turn good people into qualified people.
The entrepreneurs who do this best are always successful because they understand that growing a business requires good qualified people and finding qualified people is a lot harder than creating them.
Again, train good people to become qualified people.
Much of the requirement is on you, not them.
Training takes time, effort, discipline and requires you to work hard to create systems that people can follow.
This is not some optional activity, this is a requirement if you want to grow.
You are going to have to man up and accept the fact that if you don’t do this you will always be a slave to your business.
The money and your freedom is in the training.
Let me tell you about my friend Ron.
Ron owns an HVAC company and for years struggled to find qualified technicians.
Ron is one of the hardest working guys I know and he has always been willing to roll up his sleeves and climb in a 130 degree Florida attic anytime a job needed to be done.
But as Ron got older he knew he would never be free from his business if he didn’t start hiring and keeping more good people.
The problem was, all of the good people were already employed or owned their own businesses and anyone who wasn’t already working came with a lot of baggage.
Ron is like so many others.
Ron knew he was the only one who could change his future so he decided to create his own apprenticeship program.
Ron sought out young people with a great attitude.
He knew if they have the right attitude the rest could be taught.
The rules for an apprentice was they had to be in class at 5:00 am, 5 days per week. They would be in class for 1.5 hours every morning and then they would ride in a truck with a qualified technician.
Before long Ron’s company was growing like wildfire because he could take on all the new work that was thrown at him.
Being at the office at 5:00 am to teach for almost 2 hours took a major commitment for Ron but the payoff has been massive.
He even has competitors pay him to recruit technicians out of his program because it works that well.
The reason Ron’s program worked so well is that Ron became an expert at marketing and attracting a specific type of client which would spend a fairly large amount of money but the work did not require a lot of technical expertise to install the equipment.
This allowed Ron to be profitable and allowed the technicians time to become more experienced.
Because Ron was highly profitable it allowed him to pay his guys a better wage and he created a great work atmosphere.
So what’s the takeaway?
- Be creative.
You need to look at your business and find out what is a major problem for your industry and work to fix that for yourself.
- If your problem is in finding good people teach them yourself.
Find someone with the right attitude and they will be able to learn anything.
- Seek attitude, not qualifications.
Take people under your wing and create a company that anyone would be happy to be a part of.
Don’t be afraid of creating competitors, do it anyway.
If the business you are in is highly technical find a product or service that you can sell at a high-profit margin.
Be sure the product or service is fairly simple to install and allows your newer technicians to become experts at installing these items.
This will allow you to make money and be profitable while they learn hands on.
- If you are not good at marketing or attracting clients to your business seek help.
This could be the difference between a stagnant business and one that grows exponentially year after year.
Ultimately the value of your company is based on your company’s ability to earn profits without you.
Are you willing to do what it takes to make your business valuable or do you want to keep complaining about not being able to find good people?
I meet good people every day and so do you.
The next one you meet could be your next VP.
Comment below and let me know your thoughts.