From a very young age, we are taught the importance of having a successful career. Whether it’s our parents or a teacher, we know that by the time we reach adulthood, we will have a job. But not every job is created equal. While money may be a driving force for some individuals, true enjoyment is created by different variables. If those variables are not met, it could quickly result in employee burnout.
Employee burnout has quickly become an issue in the plumbing and mechanical industry. There is an extremely high demand for services and an extremely low supply of professional technicians. There just aren’t enough individuals in the labor force to handle the demand. The pandemic has been a catalyst for this surge. More people are working from home, which means longer run times for HVAC and plumbing systems. These added hours at home mean more service calls for repairs and replacements.
More and more home service companies are getting backed up for weeks before having the opportunity to go out and look at a job. With so many service calls, it has become more difficult for technicians to find time to relax, enjoy the sunshine and spend time with their families. This not only decreases overall enjoyment with the job but can also create resentment toward the company or customers. That is why it’s important for companies to create a work/life balance for employees. If you neglect your employees, there is a large chance you could lose them.
Importance of work/life balance
Overall, employees want to be engaged in their jobs and build a career, but they also want to have a life outside of work. If a company creates an imbalance because of long work hours, that can begin to affect an employee’s life at home. While the employee may be earning more money, they will likely have no time to spend it. This type of business behavior can create bitterness or resentment toward the company, and it can ultimately affect their work. It will be hard to ask an employee to deliver a wow experience when you are not providing a wow experience in the workplace.
If you want your company to be known for providing an excellent customer experience, you must take care of your employees first. I can almost guarantee if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers. While I am a big fan of the customer experience, oftentimes I think we miss the boat on creating a real employee experience. Success starts with talented people, but, as a leader, you have to give them a reason to join your cause and stay engaged.
The workforce is changing daily. People want to enjoy coming to work and performing their job. They want to have a career that offers them an opportunity to have freedom and make those decisions of engagement while being surrounded by someone that has integrity. If you miss that opportunity because of a work/life imbalance, you will miss the chance to distinguish yourself as a company that delivers an excellent customer experience.
Steps toward creating a balance
While we have been discussing the importance of creating a work/life balance and positive company atmosphere for employees, it’s not as easy as rolling in a few arcade games. Engagement has to grow organically. It’s about providing purposeful work and showcasing trust and respect. When it comes to work/life balance, there are a few important things business owners need to know. First and foremost, you need to have a company purpose or core values. This allows each employee to understand why they perform the work they do.
Another important step is to ask the employees what success looks like to them and spend some time discovering how to achieve that success. If you can help an employee achieve their own personal success, they will become more loyal to you and not jump ship for an extra dollar on the hour. You are providing them with the success they desire and helping them become a better person in the process, whether that’s being a better family member, team member or creating financial freedom.
As an example, during my time managing a company, we realized that our guys were working 60 to 70 hours during the summertime. That was way too many hours. It wasn’t healthy for the employee, their families or the customers. So, we started looking at ways we could create a better work/life balance and improve morale. We created what we called the 8-day week, where we gave our employees four days on and four days off. It was a game-changer. They loved their time off with their families, and they worked extremely hard during the four days they were at work.
So, I believe business owners have to get creative when it comes to creating that balance. Your people are your greatest asset, from the CSR who is the voice of your brand to the technician who is the face of your company. If you don’t take care of your people in today’s world, someone else will.
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