One of the biggest challenges facing masonry contractors today is hiring and retaining masons and laborers who do excellent work. Residential masonry contractors must pursue new sources of labor and embrace creative motivational techniques. LOOK FOR NEW LABOR SOURCES Union contractors can simply call the local union hall whenever they need a well-trained bricklayer or laborer. But for the growing number of open-shop contractors, this is not an option. To find industrious young adults, make a greater effort to recruit minorities. Some masonry firms in cities and large towns find rural areas to be another good source of labor. Using a "third-party qualifier," such as a minister or parole officer, eases the task of finding hard-working job prospects. One of the best third-party qualifiers is a high school coach. INTERVIEW PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES CAREFULLY Once a masonry contractor receives referrals, the candidates must be interviewed and their references checked. A mason or tender claiming prior experience should be required to demonstrate his skill. TRAINING ENSURES CONSISTENCY, LOYALTY By hiring trainees or laborers and offering them opportunities to learn and advance, a contractor encourages employee loyalty, while developing workers who perform their jobs to the company's expectations. MOTIVATION CALLS FOR MORE THAN A PAYCHECK Once employees have been hired and trained, what keeps them interested in their jobs and the company? Opportunities for growth and advancement, recognition, concern, good compensation, and incentive bonuses all contribute to employee loyalty. Being visible and accessible to employees adds greatly to employee motivation.