A company is only as good as its employees. Here are six tips from our Top Contractors on how to hire smartly and keep your team up to speed.
1. Hire Employees Who Align With Your Company Values
Every company has different values. Determine yours then find people who fit, even if it takes time. For example, Las Vegas-based Sol-Up wanted a team who worked well together, supported each other and cared about the success of the company.
“With a lean management team, it’s extremely important we have cooperative and ambitious employees,” says Mari King, the company’s office manager. “We hire people who are willing to fit into any role, to learn and to be flexible. We give our employees a lot of freedom and flexibility in their schedule, so if someone isn’t a team player it will quickly become apparent.”
King says her company also values trust and making sure employees know they’re appreciated.
“We pay out a month ahead of time (crazy, I know), give commission for sales and are flexible with time off,” she says. “Trust is empowerment and empowered employees take pride in their work.”
2. Consider Hiring Vets
Hiring veterans and displaced workers has been important to Caleb Arthur, CEO of Missouri Sun Solar.
“We find that many veterans and displaced workers are hungry to learn a new craft and get back to work,” he says. “We love their work ethic and the skills from other trades they often bring to the table. Veterans have provided an invaluable service to our country, and we want to support them in any way possible.”
3. Create The Right Company Culture
Portland, Oregon’s Elemental Energy embraces a progressive, “work hard, play hard” culture. The company promotes solar while still having fun.
“We install solar on our work trucks, cornhole boards, music festival charging stations, Mario Kart N64 video game stations — really on anything we can,” says John Grieser, the owner. “We’ve managed to weave our work into our play by putting in the hours, working diligently and making sure that we take the time off we need to come to work with fresh ideas and strong energy everyday. It’s our job to make sure employees are engaged in their work. When you’re engaged and passionate, it doesn’t feel like work. It’s fun.”
4. Hire Grads And Interns
Grieser also says that the solar industry is young, progressive and dynamic, so college graduates fit in perfectly because they mirror those attributes. He also loves their enthusiasm.
“Hosting interns and mentoring them is important because it helps keep the fire alive — not just for them, but also for myself,” he says. “Excitement is contagious, and it works both ways. We guest lecture at all local colleges to recruit young, educated, talented and passionate individuals.”
5. Take Time To Train
Due to the past limited market for solar in Michigan, Helios Solar says there are few trained solar installers and system engineers. But it is able to retain top talent by offering opportunities for solar equipment education and training.
Douglas Southard, president of Southard Solar & Construction in Missouri, says his company also keeps strong ties to the local training programs and tradesman associations.
“Training programs produce top new talent that we are able to draw from,” he says. “Much of our network efforts lead us to various placement directors and, in turn, provides us with new candidates.”
6. You Need To Network
Whether it’s looking for a new salesperson on LinkedIn, generating credibility through blogs, or connecting with its large Twitter and Facebook following, Pasadena California’s Run on Sun knows the value of networking on social media. But the company’s CEO and founder Jim Jenal says having a physical presence is important too.
“I regularly attend major industry events, like Intersolar and Solar Power International, as a way to meet people I might otherwise only know through social media,” Jenal says. “It is a great way to take those relationships to the next level.” SPW
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