Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What do You Pay for Veteran Workers?

How Do Employers Continue to Compensate Skilled Workers in Trade Industries?

In the asphalt industry, as with most segments of the construction industry as a whole, veteran employees are worth their weight in gold. Unfortunately, employers in today's economic environment aren't always able to pay that price to keep the skilled, 20-year or 30-year worker in his or her position on the team.

John Ball is the proprietor of Top Quality Paving out of Manchester, N.H. He travels to asphalt paving sites around the United States to consult and teach others best paving practices. He has shared with me that our veteran employees who retire leave a knowledge gap that is difficult to fill. The last thing an owner or manager needs to do is let skilled employees leave the industry or--worse--leave the company to join the competitor down the street.

The younger generation employee with his lower wage requirement may look attractive at first, but his lack of knowledge, unfamiliarity with the industry, short attention span, different work and learning style than the older generation, and other qualities can make him more expensive in the long run. From mistakes to insurance premium hikes to training time, newbies of any age add to overhead.

What do we as an industry do to train up the next generation of veteran, skilled workers, and how do we accomplish that training while keeping current veteran workers well-compensated and on our team?
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