Here’s the second installment of the how to’s from Staffing Power!

With Orientation Process in place, you’ll need Ongoing Training Programs that make true what you promised about helping them have a career with your company and not just a job. It is also how they move up the Salary Ladder.

Plus, with ongoing training, they feel invested in and they come to appreciate that investment you’re making in them. The old adage that haunts contractors is, “What happens if I train them and they leave?” The real question is, “What happens if you don’t train them and they stay?”

FYI, I know for a fact from my own years of training staff at my company and now other companies for 12 years that training is what makes them stay if you also tie it to the other resources like the Org. Chart and Salary Levels.

And there’s one more thing I want to share about retaining. For a long time, I used to wait for an employee’s knock on my door…sometimes at 5 o’clock. I could feel the tension rise as they began the conversation with, “We need to talk. I’ve got a job offer and they’re paying me…”


They’d be talking and my mind would be racing. I knew this was coming down to one of the two likely scenarios:

1.      They had already committed to go and nothing I could say could stop them at this point.

2.      I could offer to meet or beat the other contractor’s offer for probably what wasn’t a justified bump in pay and then I’d end up feeling like a hostage. And I knew the word would get around the company that I was easy game. Also, I just felt it was unethical to do this to other employees who didn’t come and hold me hostage.


What I do know is when I paid the ransom raise in salary and they did stay, it rarely worked out. That’s because I felt betrayed and even though I didn’t say it I acted that way and the employee sensed it. Or, they always second-guessed themselves for staying on after they said they were going.

Well, I had enough of this. I finally got proactive. I learned to not wait for the 5 o’clock knock. That’s when I created the Org. Chart and Salary Levels. I came to see it from their point of view and not just mine in that I was putting them at my door because they had to come and ask me for a raise.

Here’s what I also learned to do….test the waters early and often. I made it a goal to talk to each of my employees at least once a week and ask the following questions:

  • “What’s going right?
  • What’s going wrong?
  • And what should I know right now?”

I did this sometimes as we were passing in the hallway, out on the jobsite, in the parking lot or in their office.

Based on their answers I came to know a lot. Actually, I came to know as much if not more based on how they answered my questions. Their enthusiasm or lack of enthusiasm, their eye contact and smile or lack of eye contact and bad body posture all tied to cluing me in on who was happy here, just okay, or not happy at all.

It was a whole lot easier than I could have ever imagined to read the “tea leaves” on where these people were headed when it came to being all in with the company or already halfway out the door.

This allowed me to jump in proactively if something was amiss with someone I deemed a good team member I wanted to keep on. It also let me know to get ready for those who were edging their way out of the company. Time to prepare is critical.


Learn the secrets of finding, training and keeping the kind of employees you’ve always wanted

Don’t believe me? Read what just one client has to say:

“Every time we thought we were dialed in to start real growth, we would lose a

core tech and actually lose ground. We became so dependent on our core guys that we couldn’t enforce standards for fear of them leaving. The flow of the business suffered and the egos we allowed were no longer tolerable.

“More techs, more techs, and more techs.” This is what Al told us when he came to do our needs assessment a couple of years ago.

When we finally tired of beating our heads against the wall trying to break the stereotypical bad habits of the scarce, experienced, licensed guys that we could find, we adopted Al’s Staffing Power! program.

Now we have great success from the guys we “made,” who we can count on to do things the way we want them done, “the Precision way.” By having our customized Staffing Power! manuals in place, we have been able to hold the men accountable and also to train them in both the technical and customer service areas. Our in-house training center has allowed the guys to “show me” what they really can and can’t do. They no longer have to do their “learning” in the customers’ homes. Knowing that we have these systems in place for the new hire to advance makes their choice to work here an easy one.

We’ve created so much new talent in the first phase of Staffing Power! that we had Al come back to complete the second phase, which is Senior Tech-to-Field Supervisor .Now that we’re on track for putting more men in trucks, these Field Supervisors will be there to help me. This hub and spoke approach is the secret to finally growing the company the way we always wanted it to be.


Mike Borowski

Service Manager, Precision Plumbing Services

Carol Stream, IL


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Read here for How is staffing a company like filling a bathtub? — Part 1