We’re in season and the competition is coming. Not only are they coming for your customers, they’re coming for your technicians. Here’s how to keep them at bay.
1. Treat Them Well
For starters, treat your people like you really value them and want to keep them around. Show them appreciation. Shower praise for extra effort and good work. Ask if there’s anything they need and get it, if there is. Keep a refrigerator/freezer in the shop with cold drinks and frozen food snacks for the techs. Periodically, stop by a job to see how the installation crew is doing and bring them some sports drinks.
2. Watch Their Limits
You know your people. Keep an eye open for those who are especially stressed. Send them home for a day or a half day with pay.
3. Give Random Gifts
Find out what kinds of things your technicians want. What are their sports and hobbies? When a technician is performing well, consider buying him a gift he’ll appreciate as a way of saying thanks. It doesn’t have to be especially expensive. It does have to be thoughtful and on target.
4. Win Over Their Spouses
It’s hard for a technician to leave for greener pastures when his spouse is one of your sports fans. At the start of the summer (i.e., NOW), send every technician’s wife a gift card to a local spa along with a letter explaining that you know this summer will put stress on everyone, but this is when air conditioning companies make money. Ask for her understanding and patience and for her to accept this small gift as a token of appreciation.
5. Offer Life Training
More and more contractors are beginning to offer training that’s over and above technical or work related training. Many are offering voluntary training on personal financial management and life skills, like how to be a good husband and father. When technicians (and other members of your team) get into this type of training, they will not leave. No one else is likely to offer anything comparable.
6. Talk About How Green Your Grass Is
Make a list of all of the benefits you provide. Write these up and post the list in a prominent place. If you have a technician who left the company in the past, but who returned, find a way to get him to talk in a company meeting about how things were not as good as he expected elsewhere and are better with your company.
7. Hot Day Incentive
The hottest days are the hardest. Pay everyone a small bonus whenever the temperature exceeds 95 or 100 or 110 degrees, depending on your part of the country. Then, instead of a hot August day being something everyone dreads, it becomes a day everyone looks forward to.
See if there is a way you can gamify the company this summer. Create teams that include technicians, salespeople, installation crews, and office personnel. Create ways for the team to score points based on daily production. Certain tasks can carry bonus points (e.g., selling a UV light or WiFi thermostat, exceeding the average service ticket, new service agreement sales, positive reviews, etc.). The dispatchers can be the scorekeepers. The rest of the office personnel can be each team’s fans. Give them a small budget to buy swag.
Each week is a game. Each day is a scoring period. Keep a scoreboard in the office and text out breaking news throughout the day. Make it fun. If one team consistently outperforms the rest, announce a mid-season trade to make the teams more competitive. At the end of the season have a Super Bowl party.
9. Create Tool and Training Funds
Build a dollar or two per task into your flat rate system that is earmarked for tools and training. Create the equivalent for installations. Let everyone know what you are doing and that the funds will be made available in October.
10. Host a Big Event
Have a big, end of season event. It might be a companywide party. It might be a golf tournament, sporting clays tournament, fishing tournament, etc. that’s companywide or limited to the field personnel. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s something everyone looks forward to.
11. Pay a Recruiting Spiff
While you may not be able to get this in place this year, offer your technicians an override for a year on any technicians they recruit to the company. For example, you might pay half a percent or one percent of sales. This not only turns every technician into an active recruiter for your company, it gives them an added incentive to stay and to make sure they guys they recruit stay.
12. Offer Stay Bonuses
If you want really people to stay through a certain date, offer them a stay on bonus. Tell every technician you want to keep all summer to expect a thousand dollar bonus in a separate check (i.e., one that only he knows about) at the start of October if he stays with the company. Put it in writing.
For a free copy of The Great Steak and Beans Contest, created by Bob Viering to gamify performance for a $10 million HVAC company, call the Service Roundtable’s Success Team at 877.262.3341. Ask for a tour of the site while you have a Success Consultant on the phone. It’s worth it.