It’s a tough market for labor and more aggressive business practices are coming into play to ensure there’s enough bodies on the frontlines when winter kicks in. With regard to overall labor retention from the last 12 months, just over a third of respondents (34%) indicated they retained between 70% and 89% of their hourly employees, with 31% carrying over a complete or near complete (within 90%-99%) winter workforce. Only a small percentage (6%) indicated they witnessed a near complete turnover in personnel.

When compared against the size and scope of the winter ops (based on winter revenue), companies doing less than $500,000 in winter revenue were more successful at keeping the majority (90% or more) of their team together over the last year, as compared to 19% of companies doing $500,00 or more in snow. In addition, a quarter of smaller-scaled snow ops indicated they were able to retain 100% of their winter staff.

So where are these workers going? The research would seem to indicate a game of human resource musical chairs may be underway between companies. More than half (53%) of respondents indicated their direct competitors were actively recruiting their key employees, and 59% said companies from other industries were poaching their talent, as well. However, survey participants we’re no strangers to this practice, with just less than half (48%) actively recruiting winter labor. In fact, 41% confessed to having poached as many as five employees over the last year.

Interestingly enough, the majority of smaller-sized snow and ice management companies (61%) were less apt to poach employees from their competitors, compared to 64% of larger-sized snow and ice companies that indicated they had been recruiting from other companies over the last year.