5 ways to retain great tradies in your team

Earlier this year, Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek told Sky News: “We went into COVID-19 with a tradie shortage. This has gone from being a problem to being a crisis.” You know there’s a shortfall in skilled tradespeople. That’s why you’ve got to retain great tradies in your team.

In this article, Andy Smith shares his top five ways to retain great tradies in your trade business. Having long-term employees is important because they’ve got considerable knowledge of your business’s culture and services, it reflects a stable work environment, and is cost effective for you.

1. Create camaraderie and culture 

Consider your trade business objectively — would you say you’ve created a culture of camaraderie, where there’s friendly banter and fun? Your trade business has to appeal to millennials (Gen Y) and Generation Z. Younger crew love social activities, flexibility and real-time feedback. Importantly, when the chips are down, camaraderie and culture is like glue in a team.

2. You gotta pay the moula 

You could be providing all the employee benefits in the world, but when it comes down to it, you have to play in the higher dollars and cents range. One of the most effective ways to attract these people is through high pay. Plus, your employees drive your business forward, so if their income impacts their stability in some way, that’s going to impact their productivity.

3. Your employer brand matters

Your business’s reputation matters more than ever. Employer branding is about how you’re viewed as an employer. You spend plenty of time creating brand awareness to promote your services. How long do you spend cultivating a powerful employer brand to attract and retain top talent? Remember, you have an employer brand whether you’ve put effort behind it or not.

4. Uniforms, vehicles, and equipment

Following on from the previous point, do you provide your tradies with quality uniforms, vehicles and equipment? You know what? This is what they want. Are your tradies proud to be on your business team? You’re never going to ‘wow’ the right tradies — and retain them — if you’re not paying attention to these three things in your trade business. 

5. Upskill your tradies

Give your tradies another feather in their caps with opportunities to upskil. You can offer your tradies education options to upskill. If you’re a trade business owner who is concerned about your tradies taking this newfound knowledge and leaving your business – you’ve got to change your way of thinking. Show your tradies you believe in them, and genuinely care.

Retaining top tradies is a struggle for many trade business owners. However, there are many reasons it’s important to focus on what you can do to reduce turnover and position your business as an employer of choice.