The Weather Is Heating Up and So Is the Housing Industry

The Weather Is Heating Up and So Is the Housing Industry


A few things immediately come to mind when I think about the building industry in the summer time:

  • First is heightened awareness of “Heat Illness Procedures”
  • Second are increased housing starts
  • Third, typically generated by the second, opening the door of employees seeking greener pastures

The summer heat wave of building activity always seems to bring with it a variety of challenges. For me it seems inevitable that every year these three areas are always on the forefront of strategic planning to make sure preparations are in order to compensate for peak building season.

These three topics share one common ingredient; man power.

  1. Heat Illness- How do we keep our employees safe during the summer heat?
  2. Increased housing starts- Do we have enough man power for the coming demand?
  3. Employees seeking new opportunities- How do we retain existing employees?

Since the decline in construction there has been a notable shortage of skilled labor. Many construction workers left the industry and have chosen not to return. There are few new workers entering the industry that require training. As companies have invested time and money into training new workers, the last thing they want to do is loose them to competition, especially as we enter peak demand.

Safety and staffing solutions, while important, are topics that would take pages to cover and we are writing an article today, not a novel. So we turn our attention to the question how do you focus on making sure your employees want to stay working for you? There are a couple of methods I have been exposed to.

  • First, make sure your wages are competitive within the industry. If you are offering comparable wages to you competition you will be curtailing employee interest in seeking elsewhere.
  • Second sweeten the pot. Offer additional pay incentive for employees that put in a full work week. As a manager or owner you have to expect something in return when something is given. This incentive creates a win-win for the employer and employee. The employer gets more production/ efficiency and the employee gets a nice bonus.
  • Third establish terms, set a deadline for the pay incentive to get through the busy work load. Before rolling out a new plan make sure your employees have a clear understanding or a written outline of how your new system will work. This will help avoid confusion down the road when you begin processing checks.

You may be thinking, “So just paying employees more will make them want to stay”? People tend to forget that a dollar an hour more is only 40 dollars more a week, which in turn can cloud judgement on why they have chosen to work for you in the first place. By offering the performance-based pay incentives, you are simply beating the competition to the punch, while at the same time giving your employees the feeling of being compensated for what they are worth. No guarantees this will work for everyone, but I encourage an open door policy regarding employees that want to seek other options. Let them know if their new job doesn’t work out they can always come back. An extra dollar may make them wander, but your culture will bring them back.

Are other businesses struggling with this issue? What are some ways you have dealt with it?

Jon Wagner – Design Professional

Gould Design, Inc.

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