Redefining ‘Great’

Publisher Letter

According to the Federal Reserve, the so-called “Great” Recession ran from December 2007 until June 2009. LBM Journal was just four years old at that point, still operating on a shoestring budget, and from 2007- 2008, our revenues took a 65% hit. Many companies didn’t survive. Looking back, I struggle to see anything great about that devastating economic event.

Following that same model, in which Great describes something very, very bad, today we have the Great Resignation—which Editor James Anderson alludes to in his excellent Editor’s Note about the “new normal” in this issue. For the LBM industry, which has struggled mightily with attracting, hiring, and retaining good people, even the idea of a Great Resignation is about the least appealing concept imaginable.

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The question is what should a company do that’s in an industry already struggling to attract good people during a phenomenon that the media has termed a Great Resignation? Here are some thoughts:

First things first—focus on your people. A few years ago, Jon Vaughan from Brand-Vaughan Lumber spoke at an LBM Strategies conference about “How to make your company a great place to work.” As he shared, they believed that the people on their team were happy and engaged…until they used an anonymous survey tool and learned that they were dead wrong. Instead of assuming how your current team members view their work with you, consider leveraging a tool like employee surveys from Great Place to Work. Then do like Jon and his management team did, and put the results to work, implementing the changes necessary to make your company a great place to work.

Spread the word. When we place an employment ad, and describing the plusses of working for our company, we’re selling. But when we share the news, from an independent third-party, that our team members love working for our business, that carries serious weight with people choosing a company to work for. If you’re in an extremely tight labor market, and are really struggling to attract good people, news like this is gold. Plus, when you and your management team have done the work and made the investment in making your company a great place to work, your happy and engaged team members are going to spread the word as well.

We’ll never be able to control many of the challenges we face. Instead, the best we can do is navigate supply chain issues, mortgage interest rates, the weather, etc. Making our company a great place to work is something we can control, and will give us a proven tool to attract, hire, and retain.

Is your company a great place to work? If yes, we’d love to hear—and with your permission, share—your story. Contact me or

— Rick Schumacher
Executive Editor & Publisher

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