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“We have a great core of key personnel, but the biggest problem I’m facing is finding newer hires who are willing to work. The labor pool is non-existent. Where did all the workers go? Some new hires know how hard it is to find employees and they purposely perform sub-par, knowing full-well they are safe in their employment, because letting them go is not an option… we need bodies. The others want the same pay as our experienced team members.”

Sound familiar?

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Since the “Real Issues. Real Answers.” feature launched back in 2011, we’ve received tens of thousands of responses to our surveys. But the one issue that’s been a chronic challenge from the beginning—and one that never strays far from the number one spot—is attracting, hiring, and retaining good people.

Here at LBM Journal, we know how rampant this challenge is, and we also know there are no quick and easy answers. There’s a Chinese proverb that says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” That’s why we seek out and feature dealers who have discovered some answers along their journey and share them in the hopes of sparking an idea for you and your team. For example, in his Editor’s Letter, James Anderson spotlights Hamilton Supply Company, a New Jersey dealer that stands out by incorporating fun into the day-to-day.

Looking for more “single steps” for your journey? In the LBM Dealer of the Year profiles, James shares how top performing dealers attract and retain talent. This issue features 2023 LBM Dealer of the Year winner with sales of less than $10 million, San Antonio Lumber. In this profile, you’ll learn how this century-old company, now in its fifth generation of family ownership, leverages work-life balance to keep its team happy and productive. And if you haven’t read the other three 2023 LBM Dealer of the Year profiles featuring Koopman Lumber (sales of more than $100 million), Walker Lumber (sales of $50–$100 million), or Henry Poor Lumber (sales of $10–$50 million), I urge you to explore them in our January, February, and March issues or online.

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On the compensation side of the labor equation, we’ve been working with The Farnsworth Group to develop an updated version of our Sales Compensation + Benefits Survey. We’ll do a deep dive into the results in our August issue, and companies who participate will receive a full report for free once it’s completed (probably by early summer).

I’m also genuinely excited about our upcoming inaugural 40 Under 40, which will recognize and celebrate young pros who are in the process of leading our industry forward in our June issue. And, for those of you who questioned if we’d find 40 young pros, the nominations for this first year have far exceeded our goals, and we very much look forward to shining a spotlight on this impressive group.

And for those of you who enjoy and appreciate connecting and learning from other LBM pros in person as part of your journey, this all comes to life at the LBM Strategies Conference coming up October 11–13 in Charlotte.

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— Rick Schumacher
Executive Editor & Publisher


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Registration is now open for the LBM Strategies 2024 Conference