Every contractor wants a solid staff that makes them proud and profitable. In an industry with a shortage of technicians and a high turnover rate, it’s critical to hold onto quality HVAC employees for the long haul. So, how do you ensure they won’t stray to the competitor down the road? Positive reinforcement.

According to a study on employee engagement by Make Their Day, an employee motivation firm, and Badgeville, a gamification company, “83 percent of respondents said recognition for contributions was more fulfilling than any rewards or gifts.” That number speaks volumes to me. The majority of people prefer a pat on the back or an attaboy over a raise. So, you should be capitalizing on this if it’s your aim to staff high-quality, productive people.

HVAC contractors who acknowledge their staffs for jobs well done are not struggling to retain quality techs; they’re flourishing. How do I know this? When interviewing HVAC technicians for The NEWS’ Tech of the Month column, veteran employees have told us time and time again that the No. 1 reason they like working for their companies, and have stayed, is due to the encouragement and support their superiors have provided. Be it with continuous training, a friendly email, or monetary reward, techs tend to stick around when they know their bosses are investing in them. 

Paul Sammataro, president of Samm’s Heating and Air Conditioning in Plano, Texas, is an example of just that. Sammataro’s policy is to continuously praise and give back to his technicians throughout the year.

“The finances and benefits can be found anywhere, but what I want, and hope, is that my employees know I truly care about them,” said Sammataro. “Nothing makes me prouder than being able to give others opportunities to grow. I want to share the benefits of our company’s profitability with them and help them be the best they can be.”

Be it with bonuses, seasonal parties, or even a simple, ‘You did an excellent job,’ Sammataro is adamant on recognizing the hard work his technicians put in on a daily basis, and his technicians appreciate it.

“[Management] always tries to help more than hurt us; they encourage us,” said Karl Pankyo, HVAC specialist, Samm’s. “Paid days off, a ‘great job’ phone calls, bonuses — we’re rewarded [for jobs well done.]”

It’s from owners like Sammataro that we can learn something, especially in terms of employee retention. His top techs rarely leave the company, and he is proud of that. By giving back, continually providing training, and consistently praising and rewarding hard work, Sammataro is able to retain a strong team of techs.

Pankyo has been with Samm’s for over 10 years, and he doesn’t plan on going anywhere. It’s the positive environment at Samm’s that continues to motivate him to work for the company. Sammataro honored Pankyo’s hard work by nominating him for The NEWS’ Tech of the Month, and he was bestowed the honor in June. You can do the same. Visit http://techofthemonth.achrnews.com and nominate one of your hardworking techs to be featured in The NEWS. If you feel you may be lacking when it comes to recognizing your staff’s exemplary work, acknowledging one or more of your technicians in this manner is an excellent place to start. The message is clear: Employees want to be recognized for their hard work. In order to keep those superstar techs around for years to come, make sure you’re adequately praising everything they do on your behalf.

Publication date: 11/21/2016

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