President's Letter: August 2015
In one of my last letters, I discussed the need to attract talent to our industry. I solicited feedback from you, HARDI members and readers. Since then, I’ve had a few conversations with members who offered tips.
Among the feedback I got, one idea stuck: Recruiting needs to be a 24/7 mindset. If you only recruit when you need to fill a position, you’re pressured to accept the first “good enough” applicant. Always be on the lookout for top performers.
Right now we have the talent – just look at HARDI’s group of Emerging Leaders if you doubt it – but for how long will that continue? We have to be proactive and relentless in our search for talent. We can’t afford not to be.
If you ask people outside the industry to name some HVACR companies, you’ll hear the big manufacturers. You’ll hear the local contractors who advertise to the consumers. But as much as I would personally love it, you won’t typically hear wholesalers. It’s just not the nature of distribution to be top of mind for the general public.
That’s one of the reasons why, as distributors, the young talent isn’t knocking down our doors to see if we’re hiring. We aren’t the high-profile pick. But we are the right pick, and the best fit, for a lot of the young generation and their skill sets.
They just don’t know that yet. And the only way they will ever know it is if you talk with them. We have to go out and find them.
This is one of those times where we need to be united as an industry. The alternative is to watch other industries garnering that talent away from us. If we wait, what remains is reacting to an unpleasant future. Take action now. Action before reaction – sound familiar? (Hint: Annual Conference is just a few months away!)
If we can attract the talent and show them what we have to offer, they will stay in the industry. How many of us have moved from one company to another but stayed in the industry? Put me on that list.
This industry is not only economically strong, it also has a strong community – competitors with mutual respect for one another – folks who battle it out from 9 to 5 but celebrate with cheers during a cocktail hour.
I challenge all of you to find one new person, someone you’d want to stay in the industry. Go get them. Bring them into the fold.
HARDI just launched its first 40 Under 40 list; maybe one day we can have a 400 Under 40.
I’m always open to discussing this topic, so please reach out if you have ideas to share. For anyone heading to the Operations & Logistics Focus Conference, Sept. 20-22 in Baltimore, we can discuss it in person.
Remember, we are either growing or we’re dying.
Here’s to a good month; let’s keep moving it forward,