Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

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President's Column: Who fits?

May 13, 2016

GuyGast_colorHow do we find employees who fit our organization?

I try really hard to listen to experts who lecture about the challenges of the workforce today. Or maybe it’s the workforce of tomorrow. Recently, I sat with a leader who bemoaned the nature of his younger employees. He desperately seemed to hope they would all come with their lunch bucket, show up early, work late, and live the job. In short—they’d be just like him!

Instead, experts tell us that many new young employees put high value on their families and friends, look for flexibility in the workplace, and seek a company with a value proposition that runs deeper than the bottom line. I wonder if some of us baby boomers are a little bit jealous of this generation’s different priorities. By the way, I’m sure our parents didn’t regard us as the hardest working or most driven generation, either.

Our industry has a challenge ahead, particularly in meeting expectations about flexibility in the workplace. Most of our jobsites are weekday jobs, with hours often defined by the rising and setting sun. And thus, our offices seem attached to that same workaday schedule. Going forward, though, it may be common for our fabrication shops and BIM modeling staff to work different shifts, for our service technicians to have flexible schedules, and for our project managers and leaders to remain connected outside of the workday instead of physically connected to a desk or regular hours.

So who fits? Maybe it’s less about finding employees who fit rigid expectations, and more about becoming companies that fit the workforce and meet theirs. Does your company have a purpose beyond the bottom line? Facebook's mission is to “give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” Habitat for Humanity’s vision is “a world where everyone has a decent place to live.”

I’m thinking about why we’re here—I encourage you to do the same. Your employees will appreciate it!

 

Sincerely

Guy Gast
SMACNA President