Word on the street is the installation business delivering the connected home is up and that’s great news. But there’s an additional story I often also hear — it’s a challenge finding technicians to perform the work. Are you facing the same problem? Can you find skilled or trained individuals in your market? Do you see your corporate culture not matching the millennial lifestyle? Would your business benefit from diversity on the team with minority and female members? Let’s take a look at solving the challenge.

There’s good news coming from the education world. In the academic channel, vocational and technical schools are establishing one- and two-year curriculum and certificate programs around electronics systems design, installation, and management. Non-academic channels, such as industry associations, manufacturers, training companies, and workforce agencies, offer live instruction, online training, apprenticeship programs, and industry recognized certifications. Industry players and academic/training institutions are establishing formal partnerships and are working together to teach the needed skill sets and develop trained professionals.

There are even funds available to help with training, and upon completion employment opportunities abound. For more information and a robust list of resources, check out the whitepaper titled, “Development and Training of a Knowledge-based Workforce for the Intelligent Buildings and Smart Home Industries” being released early this fall by CABA, the Continental Automated Building Association, at www.caba.org.

For more immediate results, let’s explore some ideas you can use right now to get the word out and discover potential new hires. Go ahead with the traditional methods of posting job openings in newspapers, online, and listings on job boards. There even are employment placement firms focused in our industry. Word-of-mouth along with incentives for current employees often helps produce results.

But there’s so much more you can do so let’s get creative and think outside the box. How about visiting your local high schools and trade schools? Chat with the guidance counselors and IT instructors to identify the “cream of the crop” that will be graduating soon. Don’t forget to share the amazing installations your firm does; take along information to leave behind to gather curiosity.

Offer to speak at schools or to student groups such as Skills USA, to share the industry and opportunities. Participate and sponsor events for young people such as career fairs, Future Farmers of America, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and robotic clubs. Keep in mind one-third of the workforce looking for a job are millennials and use social media, so leverage it to gain interest and excitement. Share on Facebook the cool projects you work on and installations you do, along with your company’s open positions. Consider hosting an Open House to raise funds for a cause, get the local press to attend, and share about the benefits of technology and your services, along with your commitment to the community to help build the workforce delivering 21st Century experiences.

Look into having a Google phone number in your ads so you can text them back. Advertise on Pandora radio. Verify your firm has a responsive, user-friendly website and content is relevant, compelling, easily digestible, and worthwhile. Showcase your brand, culture and post available jobs, explain the hiring process, and share growth career development paths on the website. 

Here’s to making good things happen. Get involved in your community, become more active with social media, expand staff and — most of all — enjoy what you do. Keep me posted and let me know what crazy ideas you might do that weren’t mentioned here. And when you try some of these tactics, let me know how they turned out.