7 Ways To Increase Retention In Your HVAC Shop
HVAC Technicians are hard to find and good ones are like unicorns. I am constantly hearing from companies about how they are doing everything to hire technicians: offering signing bonuses, paying relocation assistance, etc. but rarely are they doing anything to address retention.
Hiring HVAC Technicians is a lot easier if you do not have to do it as often. Spend some time looking at what you are doing for your existing staff to make sure they don’t leave. Once you have that taken care of then you can start hiring to fill vacancies and to replace some of your weaker techs with Rockstars.
If you are ready to start Hiring Rockstars, give us a call at 1-833-762-5787 or visit www.RockstarHVAC.com. Rockstar HVAC can help you find Residential and Commercial Technicians, Installers, Gas Fitters and Sheet Metal Techs.
Here are 7 things you can do to make sure your best techs stick around.
1. Coach Soft Skills
Spend some time coaching your technicians on soft skills including how to be a better employee, co-worker, and person. Not many companies will spend time on this, when it comes to training it is usually sending them for factory training. Spending time coaching them to be better at the soft skills of the job can go a long way to increase morale in the shop.
When you are hiring techs out of trade school they know the basics of repair but no one taught them how to be an employee. This is a key skill. When you are hiring someone from another HVAC company, they may be coming with some bad habits or some drama from their previous company, fix this as quick as you can before it spreads to the rest of the team.
2. Let Go of the Problem Children
A day in the life as an HVAC Technician is long enough and it only seems longer if they have to work alongside techs that suck. It can sound counterintuitive to fire people to increase retention but most companies have 1 or 2 techs that can make life suck for everyone else. If you get rid of those techs your better ones will stay. If you don’t then you run the risk of losing your good techs and only keeping the Problem Children.
There are 3 main types of Problem Children that I recommend getting Rid Of – The Complainers, The Lazy and The Practical Jokers
The Complainers – These are the techs that are always whining about something. They will find a problem with the sunniest day, these techs are not just annoying but they also make the rest of your employees start thinking the grass might be greener elsewhere. This attitude can spread through the shop like cancer, get rid of the whiners before they take over.
The Lazy – Nothing pisses off a tech like seeing other guys get away with not pulling their weight. If you are hustling and you know others are not it feels really unfair and if nothing is done about it your good guys can lose the motivation that they have to go the extra mile. This needs to get addressed, let your lazy techs know they need to shape up or ship out.
The Practical Jokers – Safety and productivity are on the line every time you have a prankster on the team. I hear all the time about jobs that go sideways because someone does something they think will be hilarious but it ends up causing big problems. The pranksters usually start small and if unchecked move to bigger and bigger pranks. Stop them early or get rid of them.
3. Invest in Training
Sending a tech to training can be expensive especially when you are losing time from them but it can go a long way to keeping your best ones. Most techs got into the trade because they have an interest in the field, keep that interest alive by introducing them to the latest and greatest in tech. Send them to factory training and trade shows so they know what is happening in the industry. As an added bonus this also makes them better technicians.
When possible, plan your training for your slow times so that it does not impact the business as much.
4. Replace Broken Tools
Tools break and go missing on the job all the time. Budget for this, work it into the price of your service and pass that along to your technicians. Offer a tool allowance or agree to replace any tools that break on the job.
5. Train Your Supervisors, Dispatchers and Managers
Many supervisors were great techs and got promoted without learning how to manage. A supervisor needs to know how to talk to their techs to get the most out of them. A poorly trained supervisor can ruin a techs day and lead them to look elsewhere.
The same can be true of dispatchers and managers. Send all your dispatchers, supervisors and managers for training, they must have a positive relationship with the techs. This will end up helping morale and retention for the whole company not just for techs.
6. Pay Them Right!
Techs talk, when they are out grabbing a drink with their other tech buddies money will routinely come up. You would be amazed how accurately a tech can give you an informal compensation analysis of other shops in the area. Make sure that you are paying them above average, if you are under they know it and will not hang around for long.
You don’t have to get crazy but don’t be cheap. Being cheap on wages always costs you more in the long run.
7. No Lay Offs, Ever
HVAC is a seasonal business and it can be hard to keep your techs active during your slow months but every time you lay off a tech you risk losing them forever. Take on side work for your slower months, offer discounts on installs for the offseason, send techs for training when it is slow etc. Save some money during your busy months so that you can afford to keep your techs when it gets slow otherwise you may not have them when you need them.
I hope these tips help. If you need to get rid of some problem employees but don’t want to be left down a tech give us a call (1-833-762-5787) we can get a confidential search started to replace your headache mechanics with Rockstars. Visit www.rockstarhvac.com for more info.