During the pandemic, stone companies saw an explosion of business, and in turn, had to hire more employees and work harder to keep their best. Many of the businesses tend to think money is the only thing that matters and that is why employees are leaving them or not joining them. Stone World had the opportunity to talk to Eric Tryon, a former fabricator, about a host of challenges fabricators are facing with labor shortages, and how it is often due to company culture.
“Companies with poor cultures provide no compelling reason to attract and retain great people and that lies 100% on the leadership team,” said Tryon. “There are a lot of shortcuts to fix the root problem. Companies have neglected to focus on and invest the necessary resources toward consistent ongoing recruiting. Great companies make recruiting an all-season event and never stop.”
The biggest reasons Tryon sees employees turnover and leave companies usually are that they were unqualified to do the job, but were hired anyway. They weren’t on boarded or trained properly or they didn’t feel valued.
“What is their goal? Establish a dashboard (scoreboard) system that gives employees visibility into their performance. People are emotional beings and like to achieve results. Show them how to win each day and then post their results in lights. Make people feel good about themselves and their jobs. Celebrate their successes and make them warm inside.”
“Put more time, effort and energy into qualifying potential candidates,” he said. “Start by ramping up the skills of the hiring person. This is one of the company’s most important roles, so treat it accordingly. Develop a structured and comprehensive onboarding and training program. Clear expectations, roles, deliverables, milestones, rewards and accountability. This alone would open a lot of doors for hiring people outside the industry and then training them up. I was never a fan of hiring industry retreads or another companies problem children. Recruit and hire based on skills, values and culture fit. Then train them up on the competencies to do the job.
“Create clarity for each employee,” Tryon went onto say. “What is their goal? Establish a dashboard (scoreboard) system that gives employees visibility into their performance. People are emotional beings and like to achieve results. Show them how to win each day and then post their results in lights. Make people feel good about themselves and their jobs. Celebrate their successes and make them warm inside.”
As far as retaining employees, Tryon said to show appreciation often. Look for and recognize great performance and more than anything else, people want to feel appreciated.
"Put more time, effort and energy into qualifying potential candidates"
“Most companies and owners are missing the mark here,” said Tryon. “Compensation has to be in the ballpark, however, it ranks down the list when it comes to what employees want. They want to feel appreciated. Figure out how to build that into your daily systems. They want to feel like they have the ability to contribute. How do employees contribute and how do they know?”
Tryon also said they want to be heard and have input, so how are your employees voices heard inside your company? They value flexibility in their schedules. If it is possible in their role, can this be an option for your business? They want to be part of a compelling vision. What is compelling about your company? What would your employees say if we asked them?
“Most companies I see are missing the mark on most of these items and then wonder why they are burdened with high employee turnover,” said Tryon. “Bottom line is that high turnover equals a culture problem. Owners have to be willing to invest resources to fix that problem first or the revolving door will never stop. On the flip side, the most profitable companies I see are the ones with the most stable work forces. Turnover eats profit every day and it has a huge appetite for it.”