It often takes a situation to reach crisis status before we’re forced to find a solution. At this point, I think it’s safe to say that the residential construction industry—LBM dealers as well as our builder customers—are either at or nearing crisis mode regarding staffing levels. NAHB’s September 13 Housing Forecast has Total Housing Starts for 2017 ending at 1,199, then climbing to 1,246 in 2018 and 1,299 in 2019. This means that the number of homes built will continue to rise, yet there’s no offsetting number of people joining our industry. Provided nothing changes, we’ll be in crisis mode soon…if we aren’t already.
The problem isn’t going to fix itself, and if you’re doing what you’ve always done and are still short-handed, it is clearly time for a fresh approach. Fortunately, there are proactive steps you can take to start drawing quality candidates to your business. As do all things that are worth doing, it is going to take effort. But after hearing from dealers who are doing it—both in person at the LBM Strategies Conference, as well as from dealers who let us share their stories in the magazine—I know that it can be done.
In most every case, it comes down to company culture. Indeed, the LBM dealers who are winning the battle in their markets for good, sharp, qualified candidates are those who understand that it’s their job to make their companies attractive workplaces. While the details may differ from company to company, the fundamentals are the same. And many of them are touched on in this issue of LBM Journal.
- • Real Issues. Real Answers. Attracting, Hiring and Keeping Quality People. Every month, our Real Issues survey uncovers some real gems from readers, and this month is no exception. One example. “Without a doubt, the secret to attracting good people is quality of life. …We must begin to steer the cultures of the companies within our industries towards an attitude where owners seek to be recognized as the best place to work. Not just the best lumberyard, but the best place to work period.”
- • Recruiting & Hiring, by Rikka Brandon. To make sure LBM Journal addresses this challenge head-on in every issue, we’re happy to announce this addition to our editorial lineup. Rikka is the Founder and Chief Executive Recruiter of Building Gurus, and author of “Hire Power: Everything Entrepreneurs Need To Know To Hire Awesome People.” Read her insights here every issue.
- • Fresh Recruits. In this feature, seasoned industry journalist Katy Tomasulo shares insights from industry recruiters Gary Bowman, CEO of TW Perry, Ray Peters, VP of Human Resources for RoyOMartin, and Tim McElhone, Director of Talent Acquisition for 84 Lumber.
There is no question that addressing this challenge is crucial to our companies’ futures. And there’s no better way of learning than through stories of other dealers who are doing it well. If you have a successful recruiting/hiring/retaining story you’d like to share, please let me know at Rick@LBMJournal.com