High Employee Retention Rate Helps Company Develop Family-Oriented Culture

Idaho’s Treasure Valley Plumbing and Drain Service puts an emphasis on developing a career when making hiring decisions

High Employee Retention Rate Helps Company Develop Family-Oriented Culture

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National and international companies work hard to retain employees. They must create a sense that management and employees are on the same team. They must strive to establish employee loyalty to a brand and a product.

Small, family-owned companies are no different.

“In the hiring process, I talk about joining our company as a career choice,” says Jerry Robinson, an owner of Treasure Valley Plumbing and Drain Service in Fruitland, Idaho. “Once I hire someone here, I have to register them as a plumber apprentice, so I would hope that people I hire are making a career choice.”

Not everyone he has interviewed and hired through the years has stayed with the company nor continued in the trade elsewhere, and Robinson is OK with that.

“Some guys just can’t handle the work,” he says.

But many have. His careful culling of applicants and emphasis on becoming a careerist has meant that turnover at the company is low. One indication: Some hirees have completed full four-year apprenticeship programs and become certified journeyman plumbers. Others are one, two or three years along in their apprenticeships.

Robinson says he has not calculated in dollars and cents what having long-term employees has meant to the company’s bottom line, but he instinctively values the stability.

“I think for us to have experienced guys leading the team and teaching the apprentices and going out there and performing the work as they do, I think that’s priceless,” he says.

The careful hiring process is helped by the business being located in a relatively small community. The population of Fruitland is about 5,000, which means an underlying familiarity usually exists between applicant and company.

“It’s a pretty small community and a lot of times we get employee referrals, either from outside the company or from within. I really like that, to have a connection like that,” Robinson says. 

And the commitment goes both ways. Plumbing apprentices, for example, receive company support as they move along toward certification. Once certified, the employees are expected to sign up for continuing education courses every two years. Employees in the company’s backflow prevention service, which installs and inspects devices that prevent contamination of water distribution systems, are separately trained and licensed. 

At least once a month, often twice, Robinson assembles his team of drain and plumbing specialists for training. The meeting might be to learn a new repair technique or master an old one or become familiar with a new piece of equipment. Sometimes a job the company has taken on has brought a challenge that calls for an exchange of ideas among the team.

“We train on all kinds of different things,” Robinson says.

Since the company is a small, family-owned business, it tries to function somewhat like a family.

“We have found over the years that we like to grow our leadership within the company,” Robinson says. “We like to instill our family-oriented culture in our employees. It just seems to work better if we grow from within.”

Read more about Treasure Valley Plumbing and Drain Service in this full profile featured in the April 2020 issue of Plumber magazine.



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