Azione Unlimited Spring Conference Stresses Interaction, Growth
Productivity and Personnel
On the afternoon of April 11, breakout sessions were held for dealers that addressed two topics of vital interest to any business owners: staff productivity, and recruiting quality employees.
Consultant Steve Firszt of Fast-Forward Business Coaching, spoke on “Managing Labor Productivity,” offering the dealers the following productivity targets they should strive to reach in their businesses:
• Labor should account for around 30 percent of total revenues (less for retailers).
• Labor should yield approximately $100,000 per BEE (billable employee or equivalent).
• Labor margins should account for at least 50 percent of labor revenues (including subcontractors).
How can dealers achieve these goals? Improvement strategies offered by Firszt included:
• Increase labor allocations.
• Raise labor prices.
• Reduce costs.
• Develop ways to more efficiently utilize labor.
Firszt also encouraged dealers to “stop selling time”, meaning stop estimate labor based on hours worked—rather, they should provide estimates per project, which will increase profits.
He also offered “The 4x Rule” as a good means of determining labor rates. Under this rule, dealers should multiply their employees’ hourly wages by four. This formula yields 50 percent gross margin based on 50 percent utilization.
“Developing An Employee Pipeline” was the topic of HR consultant Laura Cornille-Cannady’s presentation, which focused on creative recruiting strategies. Cornille-Cannady listed seven steps of a well-run hiring process:
• Identify your company’s staffing needs
• Develop job descriptions
• Post/advertise position openings
• Screen candidates
• Conduct interviews
• Select the employee
• Close the hiring process
Cornille-Cannady suggested that, when in a hiring mode, businesses build up a “pipeline” of potential employees they can draw upon when workers leave the company or new job needs come up.
“Fill the well before it dries up,” she told the dealers, stressing that doing so would prevent lost productivity due to lack of qualified employees, and would minimize stress and the burning out of staff. She suggested social media, job fairs, internal posting, intern programs and aggressive networking as effective ways of publicizing openings and building up the pipeline.