Workers have spent the last few years considering if their jobs are worth their time. The waves of laborers quitting to find roles that better serve their schedules or financial needs have made management teams take a second look at how they can retain employees.
These are a few crucial management lessons from the “great resignation” anyone can take back to their company, especially for essential plumbing and hydronic heating workers.
1. Talk with Current Employees
Management must always encourage feedback from employees. Without an open line of communication, team members may not feel valued. They could also believe people only want to hear how well everything is going, even if they need help.
It is essential to talk with employees often and encourage them to speak up when needed. A quick question in the office or an emailed survey could ask the crucial question—where do team members need the most support?
Their feedback will highlight the best ways to revamp the workplace, like hiring extra workers, providing overtime, increasing hourly wages or offering better health insurance plans.
Managers may only be able to tackle one employee request at a time. If there are numerous paths forward, list them according to which changes are most possible right now. Hold meetings to update everyone on the progress toward their other requests so they know their concerns were heard.
2. Streamline Extra Responsibilities
Everyone has daily responsibilities that come with their job titles, but sometimes management teams can add too much to an employee’s plate. A recent report found that 50% of workers experience burnout because their workload is too heavy.
This is even more relevant to plumbing and hydronic heating employees who spend significant chunks of the day on the road or in clients’ homes. They may become significantly more stressed when paperwork and office tasks await them, especially if they bring that work home to complete after hours.
Streamlining responsibilities that don’t need an employee’s attention could help companies get through the great resignation. Management could invest in software to send automated texts to clients when team members are on the way. The employees wouldn’t have to worry about texting in addition to loading supplies and navigating to their destinations.
Simple solutions with automated software would transform each team member’s daily experience for the better. Given that research shows an improved employee experience can cause a 62% increase in team productivity, retention and engagement, it may be worth the investment for companies trying to keep their teams together.
3. Create Opportunities for Career Growth
The plumbing industry has a skilled labor shortage, and that shortage is increasing as the Baby Boom generation retires. According to data from SVF Flow Controls, the average age of someone working in the trades is 45 years old; the average age of a Master Plumber is 58. Finding skilled, experienced workers is challenging, so offering career development opportunities is essential.
If people can improve their jobs through company-paid training, management teams won’t need to look elsewhere for new hires when advanced roles become available. Research shows that 45% of workers remain with their company if they can advance their industry training.
Extra job training or a stipend for higher education courses would also advance businesses alongside industry trends. Hydronic heating employees would know how to keep up with client interests (like water heating appliances that create less CO2 pollution) because the updated training materials would cover industry demands.
4. Show Continual Support and Appreciation
A recent survey found that 70% of American employees find their sense of purpose in their jobs. Managers who don’t show support and appreciation for team members’ work may be unable to retain them.
Managers can proactively celebrate their team’s achievements and recognize their contributions. Cheer an employee on during a team meeting so they get company-wide recognition. Give them rewards like gift cards for lunch, free food back at the office or company swag.
Something as simple as enforcing daily breaks can also be the support employees need. Instead of feeling worked like machines, they could take breaks to restore their energy and return to work with optimal productivity that doesn’t make them feel burned out.
Plumbers and hydronic heating technicians already know their work makes a difference by creating healthier drinking water and sanitary bathing water, but that isn’t enough to keep the great resignation from affecting a company. Workers must be seen as individuals and valued for their contributions to remain happy with their jobs.
5. Proactively Address Toxic Dynamics
The great resignation isn’t just about pay, encouragement and career growth. It also deals with the dynamics employees deal with daily. Employment research shows that 62% of workers are quitting due to toxicity in the workplace. It’s worth addressing at any time, but especially when hiring experienced people to fill vacant roles.
Interpersonal dynamics could become more positive if management teams address employees who don’t do their fair share of work. Putting a hard stop to negative conversations and sour talk about other team members could make the workplace more enjoyable.
It’s also worth noting that managers who foster a hostile environment with their words or actions should also receive reprimands from their supervisors. They’re workplace role models. If they’re behaving in toxic ways, others will follow their lead. Modeling good behavior is a core component of eliminating dynamics that make team members seek employment elsewhere.
6. Offer Extra Paid Sick Leave
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that only 65% of service workers had access to paid sick leave in 2022. That sector includes the plumbing and hydronic heating industry, so management teams should evaluate how much time off their company provides.
Workers may quit if they can’t take paid time off to recover from illnesses. They have more contact with clients, putting them at higher risk of contracting viruses. Being unable to access sick leave also means their work schedule is less flexible, which is an issue they may seek elsewhere with employers who provide ample paid time off.
Learn From the Great Resignation
Leaders can learn these management lessons from the great resignation to future-proof their teams. Listening to their employees’ needs, providing additional benefits and eliminating toxicity in the workplace are just a few ways to ensure team members stay long term.