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Survey Results: What You Told Us About Hiring and Training Project Managers

Survey Results: What You Told Us About Hiring and Training Project Managers

Finding, hiring, and training great employees is critical to your success. But it’s hard, and getting harder. I hear it all the time when I’m working with remodeling companies.

I’m supposed to have some of the answers to those problems. But it’s been a while since I’ve hired and trained anyone myself, so I wanted some real-world data from a range much wider than my experience. With help from the RA team, I created a survey to find out what’s going on now in the remodeling world. The survey focused on hiring and training for the Project Manager role, but what we found can also be applied to the Lead Carpenter position. By the way, I also found out how hard it is to craft a survey!

The results are fascinating. 

I wanted to find out what character traits — not skills — everyone looks for when hiring a Project Manager. I identified 19 traits and asked people to rank their top five (I thought it was 20 traits, but it turns out I only gave 19 choices!).  

Communications skills came up as the clear favorite in my list of 19. There are about seven other choices that rank close together, telling me there’s a wide variety of opinions on what’s needed for this role. But it also made me wonder how much emphasis is paid to communication skills during the interview process. My guess is not enough — even though a majority say those skills are critical.  

We also wanted to find out where remodeling companies find their Project Managers. One of the options for the source was Trade Partners (Subs). This actually received 17.5% of the responses. However, it didn’t tell me if they were referred by a trade partner or whether the company hired a trade partner. Again, I need to polish my survey skills to get more clarity.  

The survey shows 33.4% of those responding found their Project Managers from online sources. (Yes, I do have the details of which ones!) But 35% of those hired were from direct contact with people involved with the company. These were referrals from trade partners, clients, and employees.  

I’m always curious about where your Project Managers were before taking the job — whether they worked in the remodeling business or came from outside the industry. I wasn’t surprised to find the majority, 70.9%, had been in either remodeling or new home construction. The rest were pretty evenly distributed across commercial, the trades, and other project manager roles. Trade partners were cited by 8.9% of the survey responders 

Obviously, I’m interested in what kind of training Project Managers get before they’re let loose on the job. The data says there’s not enough training is going on for these pivotal positions. Thirty percent say they train their Project Managers only in the office, with nothing in the field. Twenty-two percent conduct a “ride along” and some office training, and 8% say there’s no formal training.  

I’m using the findings of the survey to help me prepare a seminar on hiring and training at the Purple Production Conference in September. This study shows me three clear results. 

No. 1: More attention needs to be paid to the character traits someone brings to the job, not just their knowledge of the trades. Pick your top five character traits, and then conduct an interview process that will find the person with those traits. 

No. 2: Companies need to be more assertive in reaching out to find Project Managers. You can’t just hope the right people will find you. Things have definitely changed from when I was in the position of hiring — there are so many more sources, and you need to explore all of them.    

No. 3: It’s clear our industry isn’t training our Project Managers enough — more time and attention needs to be spent on it. Too often, the people in these roles may get training on things like policies, office procedures, and technology, but not about the details of actually managing in the field. This kind of training can only be done on the job, and over a period of time.  

Positions like Project Manager and Lead Carpenter are critical to your business — but getting the right people, with the best skills, is only part of the process. There has to be more emphasis on training — you need to give your people, and your business, the support and skills to succeed. 

Want More About This Subject?

Join us on Thursday, August 30th for a FREE Webinar on this exact topic as Tim dives deeper into the results of the survey.

Tim will walk you through the results we received and talk more about how they can help you build out an effective team. Some of the survey questions you will hear answers to include:

  • How have you found successful project managers?
  • Top 10 qualities you look for in project managers?
  • Basics for selecting the right people for the job?
  • Once on board, how do you ensure success?

Click Here to Register for the Free Webinar

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