It’s an age-old tale in the flooring industry: the work is there, but the labor to get the work done is not. Whether it’s finding qualified labor or retaining the qualified labor you’ve found, our industry has long dealt with a shortage that has in turn impacted the jobs we can take on, our productivity and our bottom lines. 

As the residential construction market continues to enjoy growth, and the commercial construction market is gaining momentum after several months of being stagnant, qualified flooring installers are needed now more than ever to help get these jobs done. So how can we find and keep qualified labor?

I asked this question in a recent discussion I had with a few industry peers—many who I’m sure you know as well. Association leaders Michael Martin, president and CEO, National Wood Flooring Association; Jim Hieb, CEO, National Stone Institute; and Bart Bettiga, executive director, National Tile Contractors Association, brought a wealth of knowledge to the conversation, as they highlighted what’s worked best for the members of their associations.

From recruiting locally at high schools and trade schools, to taking advantage of federally-funded resources like the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which provides wage assistance when employing the unemployed or the underemployed, the group offered recommendations that I’m sure you will find beneficial as you continue to grow and strengthen your installation teams and businesses.

Be sure to check out the takeaways from that conversation in this month’s Director’s Perspective and give some thought to the suggestions that might work well for your business and market. And if you’ve been successful at finding and retaining qualified labor, pull up a [virtual] chair and join the conversation; let us know what’s working well for you. We can all learn from each other!