We’ve heard it so many times since the start of the Covid19 madness. “You simply can’t find good people anymore.” “Where have all the workers gone?” “No one wants to work anymore!” As an observer of society, and a business owner, I feel like I have a good view of both sides of the coin. There is no doubt that worker scarcity appears to be a real thing, and most business I know are having a tough time even getting applicants, let alone actual hires. On the other hand, I see many worker’s points in saying “what’s the use? At the wages they are paying, by the time I pay for child care, I’m barely making anything!” Or, “I don’t want to waste my life doing something I don’t feel is important.”
I’m no social psychologist, and it will likely take decades for the experts to clearly diagnose all the factors that have gone into the predicament we find ourselves in. I don’t mean to oversimplify this topic. My only point is that often in life the simple, age-old, time-tested advice of our grandparents holds true.
“Treat people the way you want to be treated.”
“Show a man (or woman) respect, honor, and value his work and he will be loyal, honest, and true.”
Why We Aren’t Complaining
Men in White Painting has doubled its crew size since 2020. We are thrilled with the number of applicants and job seekers we’ve seen since that time. We’ve turned away more applicants than we have hired. This is partially because we are very selective about who represents our team image and quality in our market.
For example, we are a non-smoking company. We strive to be a different type of contractor by providing team members at your home that do not take smoke breaks, and never offend your property with pungent smells that are often familiar to our trade. We only hire good communicators. It is infuriating to talk to a tradesman working at your house that has no clue what is going on, and answers your questions with grunts, one word answers, or awkward silence. I want every team member with MIW to make our customers feel comfortable and assured they are getting a quality job.
Most of the responses we get from our customer satisfaction surveys have little to do with our actual painting. They are usually bragging on our team. “Zack was an amazing painter and left the house cleaner than it was before!” “Bill was so helpful in assisting with paint colors!” “The team, (Jared and Brandon) were EXCELLENT! Highly recommend!”
These are a few of the types of responses we receive every day. It is no secret that the secret to our success is our team members. Although we are proud of our culture, training, systems, and processes, the REAL power comes from within. Each employee gives their best because they WANT to. We search for excellence, hire for character, and reward them far above the industry standard.
We offer benefits such as paid time off, holiday pay, bonus incentives, and a retirement package. We have company events such as golf outings, bowling nights, cookouts, and Christmas parties. We regularly buy lunch for the crews, bring drinks to the worksites, and look for every opportunity to make our team feel appreciated, valued, and loved. We protect our family time. We work hard for 8 hours, then go home to our families. We do not work weekends. This helps keep the work/life balance correct for our management and team members. (Learn more about joining our team!)
Our team is comprised mainly of young, “Millennial” workers. I’ve learned that many of the stereotypes are incorrect, and others simply need to be managed instead of rejected. Some observations:
- Most of them are video gamers. This is excellent for my industry, which involves hand/eye coordination skills, observation skills, and problem solving expertise. No gamer worth his call sign likes to lose.
- They value being part of a winning team above personal ambitions. They desire to be part of a tribe, and work toward a common goal.
- They value their personal time and time off probably more than money. Probably have the best work/life balance than all previous generations. This is NOT laziness. If I respect their time off and leave them alone during those times, they will give their best while at work.
- They truly care about their honor, personal reputation, and the reputation of our team in our community. They are proud to be members of a team that recognizes their contributions, efforts, and hard work.
I realize that I may not speak for the entire complicated problem addressing America, but I don’t believe there is a worker shortage. There is simply a worker appreciation shortage. America needed a culture shift. The “American Dream” looks different today than in the 50’s. I’m proud of the trajectory we are on, and hope to break stereotypes of this generation of workers, and restore honor to the trades as a reputable way to earn a living in our communities as skilled workers who are in high demand.