As many in the industry know, the annual AHR Expo is a marathon. You have to pace yourself to make it through three days of nonstop learning, networking and social events, and new product launches and awards. This year’s show in Las Vegas featured 2,000 exhibitors and crowds in excess of 60,000 industry professionals. And, when you combine those three hectic days with two full days of travel to the show and then back home to Michigan, it’s easy to see how exhaustion can set in.

My flight landed at midnight on Thursday morning, so I was incredibly thankful to be working for a company that offers its employees flexible work schedules. I spent most of Thursday morning catching up on some much deserved sleep before getting up and working the rest of the day in my cozy pajamas from the comfort of my living room couch.

It’s no secret the HVACR industry is facing a labor shortage — we’ve covered the topic quite a bit at The NEWS. However, offering good benefits packages can help companies attract and retain employees in this competitive industry. In fact, nearly four in five American workers would prefer new or additional benefits over a pay increase, according to a survey conducted by online job recruiter Glassdoor in partnership with Harris Poll.

The survey also noted the types of benefits and perks that are generally valued more than pay raises. They include health care insurance for employees and their families; vacation and paid time off; performance bonuses; paid sick days; 401(K)s, retirement plans, or pensions; office perks, such as free lunch or casual dress; employee training and professional development programs; tuition reimbursement; employee discounts; gym membership or wellness programs; stock or stock options; paid maternity and paternity leave; child care assistance; commuter assistance; and diversity programs.


It’s a well-known fact that when companies take care of their employees, the employees, in turn, then take care of the customers. The NEWS recently concluded its annual Best Contractor to Work For Contest and honored four of the nation’s best HVAC companies. We received nearly 100 applications submitted by employees from coast to coast. Each of the winners, located in our four different regions, had one thing in common: commitment to their staffs. These leaders offer lifelong employment that extends well beyond just a paycheck.

Classic Air’s One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning in Virginia Beach, Virginia, offers a one-of-a-kind family environment; Hunter Heat & Air in Ardmore, Oklahoma, is a faith-based organization with a successful culture; JD Swallow Heating & Cooling in Gloucester, Ontario, Canada, is devoted to personal and professional growth; and IC Refrigeration in Ceres, California, puts employees before the business, and even offers paternity leave to new fathers on staff.

While you certainly can’t allow your crew to sit on the couch in your jammies like I did last Thursday, I challenge you to take a good, hard look at the types of benefits you are currently offering to your employees. Now, think about all of the time, money, and effort you spend on not only hiring the right people, but then training them the way you want. Don’t let that all go to waste simply because your competitor offers a better benefits package. Now is the time to sit down, review, and perhaps revise your company offerings to remain competitive in the marketplace.