I recently conducted an online survey of over 1200 home building employees. The survey asked the question,” If the US market was good today, would you strongly consider leaving your current employer”?
The options in answering this question were;
1. In a Heartbeat
Not surprising to me, the survey answers point to an enormous problem that is facing the US housing industry.
43% responded that they would leave their current employer in a heartbeat. 29% answered yes to the question and 28% responded maybe.
So 72% of the sample indicated they would leave their current employer if other good options existed for employment today. No-one in the survey indicated they would stay with their current employer definitively. That is a frightening statistic.
We have all gone through hell since 2006. Anyone who is still in business in our industry has had to change almost everything we do and say in order to survive this depression. In making these changes, we have shifted from being a consciously competent model of how we manage our employees and subcontractors to an unconscious incompetent model. Specifically, prior to 2006, most builder leaders were purposely creating a motivational, highly developed, tactically focused workforce. We were aware that by having certain people practices in our business that promoted fairness, adequate communications, compensation equality for work achieved and leadership behaviors that demonstrated people centric ideals, we would not only be able to retain and recruit the best employees but our balance sheets would be positively impacted by those decisions and behaviors.
Since 2006, our focus has had to be on reduction of force, cutting every variable expense, minimizing fixed cost and being less than democratic in our day to day decisions and behaviors. Situational leadership models would support this leadership style change stating it had to occur to get through our largest industry challenge in the history of recorded homebuilding.
That being said, I believe we all need to start paying attention once again to the people that will represent the backbone of our industry in the coming years. This is truly a wakeup call and I believe we can no longer afford to ignore this issue.
Begin putting the people strategy back into your business. It’s time to re-engage the people leadership principals we so greatly discussed in our trade magazines and trade shows in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. To ignore it could place your organization in peril.