As the owner of an HVAC contracting business, you know the importance of teambuilding. But the secret to building the best teams isn’t about finding the “perfect” fit with your company’s culture. It means recognizing the power of building diverse teams.
To some people, diversity sounds like an exercise in social or political correctness. What it’s really about it, when it comes to running your business, is setting you up for more success.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Let’s talk numbers first. One important aspect that diversity represents for your HVAC contracting business is a foremost matter of simple math. You need skilled technicians, and it’s become harder than ever to find them.
The home service industry as a whole has had trouble filling its ranks with qualified workers. The most experienced technicians have been aging out and retiring, and there have not been enough young people in the pipeline to replace them.
Those skilled workers have to come from somewhere, and the bigger the pool of potential applicants you can draw from, the better. So, it makes sense to look for candidates from groups that haven’t traditionally been drawn to the industry — like females.
According to Women of HVAC, the U.S. Department of Labor indicates, while women make up 47 percent of the workforce, only 1 percent of women are mechanics or installers in the HVAC industry. Meaning, there is untapped opportunity for businesses willing to do the outreach.
Diversity Leads to Success
Beyond just the need to hire enough workers to run your business, there are some universal truths about the benefits of diversity in the workplace. These truths can be applied successfully to any business, regardless of industry sector size or scope. In case study after case study, it’s demonstrated that there is a link between more diverse teams and better business performance.
The best ideas come by putting people —with different experiences, from different walks of life, who look different and sound different — in one room, focused on one mission.
And if you’re trying to build your small business, it’s important to surround yourself with people whose voices and perspectives are different from your own. This can lead to improvement in back of the house operations, as diverse teams provide ideas that you wouldn't otherwise get in terms of how to tweak workflows and schedules.
… And More Opportunities
Diversity brings the opportunity to connect with a bigger customer base. For example, if you’re a shop here in Los Angeles and nobody on staff speaks Spanish, guess what? Half of your potential upsell opportunities have disappeared. You're not going to have an ability to communicate effectively with a chunk of customers who might really want to give you their money.
Being able to effectively serve more population groups and communities means more opportunity to generate revenue. Ultimately, the primary benefit of having diverse teams is going to add to the top line and the bottom line of your business. It means better ideas and access to more networks. Both of those things are fundamentally very powerful in business.
So, how can HVAC contractors encourage more diversity in their recruitment? You have to make a conscious effort right from the start. As a leader, your job is to build the best business that you can. And if you accept that the best teams are usually less homogenous and more diverse, then it's your job to diversify your team and bring in those different perspectives.
So that means you’ve got to be very intentional in your recruiting efforts. You need to look for a qualified person, who doesn’t just fit your existing business culture but adds to it. Consider hiring a person who would add a new layer of perspective to your business that you don't already have. You can make your team stronger than if you make the wrong hire.
Surround Yourself with the Best
It’s been an uncertain time for businesses the past few months as the coronavirus has transformed daily life. After the pandemic fades, it will be more important than ever to have every competitive advantage you can muster. The opportunities that encouraging diversity in your company represents can’t be ignored. It’s about finding the best tools for your toolkit. Good luck.