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Focus on Your Benefits Plan to Attract Skilled Labor

Sept. 19, 2023
Address the skilled worker shortage by offering benefits that will attract workers, including health insurance, retirement, and training.

By Colleen Anderson

Skilled labor shortages continue to affect the construction industry. Although the State Construction Unemployment rate went down by 0.1% compared to 2022 and that overall rates remain under 8% nationwide, a skilled labor shortage remains, especially in plumbing and hydronic heating. Some factors causing this include an aging workforce and fewer trade school attendees. This shortage results in structures taking longer to complete, while some projects get canceled entirely. Fortunately, businesses can address the shortage and attract skilled labor by improving the benefits they offer. Here are a few benefits your package can focus on to do just that.

Health Insurance

Plumbing and hydronic heating workers are prone to sicknesses and injuries resulting from fatigue or accidents caused by work. That's why it's essential to provide health insurance that encompasses outpatient and inpatient care. You can further improve this by using insurance plans accepted outside hospitals. That way, coverage extends beyond primary care toward specialized medical services and purchases. Take major retail brands, Eyebuydirect and Walmart. Eyebuydirect accepts vision insurance from various providers. If you offer employees plans from providers like Advantica Insurance Co., they can get discounts on eligible eyewear purchases.

Meanwhile, Walmart provides dental care through its partnership with oral health company quipcare. Here, customers can access dental professional consultations remotely. Offering comprehensive health insurance like this can attract more skilled labor into your ranks, especially if it can be directly used for other health needs like affordable new eyewear and dental care.

Upgraded Leave Benefits

Manual work in plumbing and hydronic heating is a physically demanding job. If sick leaves aren't paid, employees may force themselves to clock in even if they're feeling unwell. In the long run, this can affect their productivity, performance—and the overall outcome of a project. By implementing a paid sick leave policy, they can regain their health without worries and return to work as soon as possible. You can also consider updating your policy on paid vacations. That can encourage workers to be more proactive about their health and get some rest without worrying about their pay. Ultimately, taking these steps can attract more skilled workers while improving your current workforce's morale.

Retirement Benefits

Business News Daily reports that over 77% of employees say retirement benefits are among the most important factors they consider when choosing a job. People want to prepare for and ultimately enjoy their retirement after years of hard work—and the plumbing and hydronic heating professionals you want to hire likely feel the same. That's why you should consider offering retirement benefits like employee stock ownership plans. This enables workers to accumulate company shares, which can increase depending on their employment term. It motivates them to work and stay at your company as they watch their investments grow. When they retire, they sell their shares and receive cash for their value. It's definitely a strategy to consider when updating your benefits to attract more talent.

Training Opportunities

Like other industries, plumbing and hydronic heating are evolving. New technologies are improving the products and services, and workers need to keep up as consumers begin requesting their use. As such, offering training opportunities attracts skilled workers who envision themselves as long-term industry professionals. One area you can offer training in is smart technology. Today, the technology is being installed in more buildings as people demand ways to efficiently use heat and water as well as detect plumbing or heating issues earlier.

As such, the market is set to grow from $14.37 billion in 2023 to $33.83 billion by 2030. Such technologies—like smart leak detectors—weren’t used in the past, so employees need to learn how to install and maintain them. When you provide training, you prioritize your workforce's professional development—something that can encourage skilled labor to join and stay with your company.

Colleen Anderson is a freelance writer based in Florida. She writes primarily about technology and business, and hopes to find a role covering one or both subjects for an online magazine or journal in the near future.

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