Jason Files

Here are two signs of how hot the recruiting and placement market is:

  1. At any given time, we have over 100 positions in the LBM industry that we are looking to fill for our clients.
  2. The quality and quantity of the candidates has improved to the point where we have added four members to our team.

Our company has placed countless job seekers in the LBM industry. In looking back at 2014, we discovered the top reasons that your employees are looking to make a move. Business owners and managers are always evaluating the performance of their staff, but how often can we honestly say that we are evaluating ourselves? The quality of the candidates on the job market has significantly improved, so why are the good people getting away?

When top-tier candidates approach us in the most confidential manner about moving on, they often reveal these three major reasons for a change.

They Feel Unappreciated
We hear this way too often. This feeling of being unappreciated is separate from money. Employees have mentioned time and time again that all they want is a simple thank you. Saying "Job well done" goes a long way. These are your top people who feel that they have been forgotten. They are so good at what they do that you have come to expect greatness and nothing less. A simple thank you can prevent this employee from building a resume.

No Room for Growth
The top candidates are ready for the next level. They feel ignored and want the responsibility that they feel is being denied. This has been an outstanding year for the LBM industry and as you grow, so do your employees want to. You may not have that next-level position available. Taking a top employee under your wing, however, shows that you value their future.

LBM employees know that the industry is climbing. They know that the job market has changed and their value has increased for the better. I personally know of companies that are paying their truss designers $13 an hour. This is way off the industry standard and you can bet that these employees are looking for a new home. 

As a recruiter in the LBM industry, these scenarios have made my job that much easier. We only work with select companies in the industry and feel that we can partner with only the best in the market. Employee turnover is a like a bad disease with some dealers. The revolving door is a word-of-mouth dagger that has and will continue to cause some dealers to go belly up.

The one quality that our best-in-class dealers have in common is parallel to the approach of a good football coach. Each employee plays a position and looks to the coach for guidance and praise. Just like a great football team, these employees know their roles and have bought into the winning strategy. And just like a football player, if the employee feels unappreciated, held back and not making enough money, he or she will be looking for the trade.

As we look back on this past year, let's not just evaluate our people. Rather, let's evaluate how our people feel. That means considering the issues our top employees might be experiencing within their role, and taking steps to deter them from leaving due to preventable, solvable problems.

Jason Files is regional vice president for SnapDragon Associates, a leading executive search firm for the building materials industry. To get in touch with Jason, email him at Jason@snapdragonassociates.com or visit their site at http://www.snapdragonassociates.com.

You can find the full article in ProSales magazine.

An Afterword by 
Leon Rogers, Senior Director of Human Resources at Huttig Building Products

All of these issues have had a huge impact on those of us in the building industry—and this will only continue. What we have found at Huttig is that a high percentage of applicants are looking for more challenges and advancement possibilities than what they have at their current company. The quality of the candidates has improved, and it is somewhat of a job searcher's market.

Of course, money is always an issue—both currently, and in the future. But the real challenge for those making hiring decisions in the building industry is to make sure the candidate will be a good fit with the culture of your company. It is critical to really "sell" your applicants on the idea of your organization. If you can't meet the salary level the applicant requests, your best bet it to discuss the future possibilities and what the culture of the organization can offer them for long-term professional growth.

Moving forward as an industry, it will be important to leverage transparency when meeting with prospective hires. And if we hope to find the best people for those roles, this transparency needs to take place during the hiring process, not after. Being upfront regarding the expectations of each position and how that fits into the success of the company will go a long way when it comes to getting the most out of those employees down the line.