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Editor's Note

You and Your Employees Got Each Other Through the Pandemic

Now make sure you keep them.

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OUR BRAIN SQUAD reports business is booming. Surveys comparing March, April and May’s 2021 sales vs. 2020’s show the vast majority of our Squad’s sales as “up” or “way up — 20% or more.” Anticipated sales for months to come are similarly positive.

You can hear sign companies collectively rejoicing, “We made it!” But when it comes to the necessary work, some companies — indeed, many companies in various industries — are finding it difficult to hire new employees. Though not a new problem, recently the challenge has sharpened. What to do, what to do?

My suggestion: Before you worry about finding new employees, make sure you take action to retain your current employees. Maybe you understandably had to reduce hours or pay during the shutdown. Now, with business picking up, hours are surely back — but is the pay? What about raises, or “loyalty bonuses?”

Bear in mind that companies everywhere are hiring and although some think poaching employees from another sign company is a no-no, it does happen. Meanwhile, hardly a day goes by that I don’t read about employers moaning they can’t hire anyone for low-wage jobs, blaming augmented unemployment benefits or laziness. And yet, not long ago many of these rugged free-marketeers gladly accepted government funds to keep their businesses afloat.

Is it really so difficult to pay a little more to hire or keep people? When materials, fuel or other expenses rise, sign companies pay up. So why should your most crucial expense of all — human capital — be any different?

Yes, you will likely have to raise prices for customers. No, they won’t like it. But your employees stood by you during the last 18 months. Now it’s your turn to stand up for them.

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5 Smart Tips from This Issue

  1. Broaden your installation capabilities with a boom truck. (Tech Products)
  2. Don’t overload directional signs; go one zone to another. (You’ll Get Around)
  3. Help retail customers focus their branding. (Mark Kissling)
  4. Improve operations with sign business-specific software. (Dale Salamacha)
  5. Keep your cool during problems and learn from mistakes. (Maggie Harlow)

Mark Kissling is ST’s Editor-in-Chief. Contact him at [email protected]

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