Recruitment Intelligence for the SPF Industry
Spring 2020 – Spray Foam Magazine – One of the biggest challenges facing the spray foam industry is skilled labor and we need a plan to address this looming problem.
As in any business, leaders and managers should constantly be looking to improve their talent, upgrade their team and advance their more talented staff; to do this you need to add people to your team on a regular basis. This means that as an industry, we should be constantly recruiting new talent, not just to join our teams, but specifically from other industries.
Those of you that have ever tried to hire someone in the spray foam industry have probably noticed that there are not a lot of people with SPF experience on the open market. And if you do find someone out there with spray foam experience, they can come with their own challenges such as bad habits that you have to break or character traits (lack of will, lack of desire, poor integrity, bad character, etc.) that make them difficult to work with, otherwise they would already have a great job and be thriving, right.
Now, I am not saying that everyone with spray foam experience, that is looking for a job, is a bad fit for your company, but these are some of the red flags to look out for when interviewing and vetting your candidates.
When you realize how few people have SPF experience, it becomes painfully obvious that you have to hire people new to the industry at some point, which makes onboarding and training critically important to your business, but that is a more detailed discussion for another time.
Now, if we are not going to find much SPF experience, what do we look for when we are hiring?
We want to look for transferable skills, we want techniques and methods that apply to our industry but come from other backgrounds. One of the best examples is the great results of transitioning painters and powder coaters into spray foam applicators.
And we also want to look for opportunities in the labor market that can have a big impact for the future, such as engaging younger workers, adding key qualities to our teams and targeting undervalued, overlooked parts of the labor market, such as bringing more women into the construction industry.
When you hire younger workers, they offer more service years and overtime they can develop and grow into higher level positions – this is another reason you need employee training and development programs, but I digress.
Additionally, psychologists tell us that millennials have very specific tendencies in the workforce including, they:
- Seek out technology to get their job done faster
- Thrive on bringing new ideas and innovation to the table
- Are driven by results, rather than how many hours they work
- Need obvious incremental progression to foster career growth
The next idea revolves around the value of bringing more women into the spray foam workforce. Women are a relatively untapped resource in the construction industry overall, representing only about nine percent of the construction workforce and they offer some very beneficial talents and strengths that we can all learn from in the spray foam industry.
Some qualities that are beneficial in the workforce, and traditionally considered feminine by psychologists, include:
- Attention to detail
- High empathy, connection with others
For example, attention to detail is very important for all parts of the business, but it is especially important for operations and administration.
High empathy, curiosity and connection with others is critical for building relationships and understanding who people are: their goals, fears, aspirations, passions, insecurities, this is the foundation of sales & marketing and critical for leadership. Additionally, research has shown that women in general are better than men at reading body language, facial expressions and picking up little silent messages from others.
And collaboration drives innovation. Great work does not happen all by yourself; you have to connect with other people who are different than you, with different skill sets, experiences and perspectives. It’s best for your future to talk in terms of ‘we did this’ rather than ‘I did this’, it builds and supports the power of the team.
Overall, there is opportunity to recruit labor into the SPF industry, for example from the younger population and the relatively untapped market of women. And remember, business leaders are responsible for making all of the people around them better and building strong teams, and these ideas for recruiting just might help.
About the Author: Robert Naini has a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from the University of Texas in Arlington. With more than a decade of experience on the cutting edge of spray foam insulation, Robert has created Spray Foam Advisor to offer web-based training and education, with videos, articles, blogs and more, to help you get better. Watch his latest Building Science webinar for FREE at www.bswebinar.com
Direct any questions you have about statements made in this article to Robert Naini: 817-983-3544 firstname.lastname@example.org
*Spray Foam Magazine does not take editorial positions on particular issues; individual contributions to the magazine express the opinions of discrete authors unless explicitly labeled or otherwise stated. The inclusion of a particular piece in the magazine does not mean that individual staff members or editors concur with the editorial positions represented therein.