Guest Blog: The Numbers Don’t Lie, But There’s Hope

Let’s face it. Everyone knows there is a shortage of employees in every industry. If you have been hiding under a rock here is some eye-opening stats that I found online or have heard from speakers in different industries.

  • In 10 out of the last 11 years birth rates have dropped in the US
  • Manufacturing is about 2.4M workers short in the US and will not start getting better until 2028
  • Healthcare will add approximately 2.4M new jobs by 2026
  • Construction is missing about 25% of the workforce needed
  • In 2021 there will be ONE worker for every TWO jobs in the US

I was one of the many people complaining about this issue,  and decided to either shut up or do something about it.  Two years ago Horizon Roofing started doing something about it and I suggest everyone start doing something or stop complaining. Traditional training is outdated. I compare the current systems to the phone book (remember those big thick paper things that took two trees to make). We have the internet, Siri, self-driving cars, and are more advanced than ever, but we are living in the stone age when it comes to training. It’s outdated, and way to slow to keep up with the labor shortage much less get ahead of it. If you don’t innovate and start training your business will shrink or go out of business. The truth sucks but it’s true. When you think of how much time and money it’s going to cost you, I challenge you to start up Excel and run the numbers to train against the jobs you have to turn down and the profits you would have made from those projects you had to miss out on. Ok now if that made you think “Oh boy it’s time to do something” here are some tips from what Horizon Roofing has learned without giving away all of our secrets.

  • On the job training isn’t as good you think. We have found that when we bring people into our training centers that they learn more in a couple hours than several weeks on the job, and they get to learn what not to do in a training center and it’s totally cool, wait what? Well it’s much better to fail in a training center than on a customer’s project.
  • We asked ourselves after learning the above, “well why are the foreman not training better on our projects”. Well the foreman is responsible for the quality and profitability of a project. If Joe isn’t doing something right or fast enough on a job the foreman is going to put Bill the Man on it because it gets done fast and right when Bill does it.  The foreman gets in trouble if the job isn’t profitable or doesn’t looks amazing, so don’t be surprised or expect them to do a bunch of training that may impact them.
  • Come up with some tests for people to take. Maybe take pictures and then ask them questions about the pictures. (This is also good to do when hiring people instead of just taking their word for what they say they know). You can do tests on products, install process, safety, etc.
  • Build a training area that people can practice and learn things that they will be doing on the job. If I was an electrician, I would build some walls and teach people how to drill studs, hang electrical boxes, pull wire, etc.
  • We have even more ideas, but we will let you figure out what to do because we spent years coming up with our training programs and you should too.

So, what are you going to do? Watch and complain and complain more when you don’t have the workforce you need or do something about it? I would suggest putting your money where your complaining is.

Kurt Scepaniak is the CEO of Horizon Roofing