Builders FirstSource Shares Insights into Valuing Employees

Industry News,

Originally Published by: HBS Dealer — November 30, 2023
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Attracting talent to the industry, along with retention, was the focus of the “Have We Got a Job For You” seminar.

Lea Allah and Cierra Calvacca discuss hiring and developing talent during the 2023 Top Women in Hardware & Building Supply Conference.

Held here earlier this month during the 2023 Top Women in Hardware & Building Supply event, the presentation also focused on how to guide talent once a new employee has been brought on board.

“You have to try and meet the needs of employees,” said Cierra Calvacca, director of human resources at Southeast Building Supply Interests (SBSI) with 11 locations in 5 states. 

But once the needs of the employee are met, a single program is not enough to meet the needs of every company employee; particularly when taking different generations into account. Calvacca also noted that the needs of today's workforce are far different from the pre-pandemic era.

Builders FirstSource, the industry’s largest prodealer and building solutions provider, is in the process of building a program that better understands the value proposition of its team while helping employees to succeed a enjoy career growth. The company operates more than 550 locations in 42 states.

Lea Allah, senior director of human resources at Builders FirstSource, shared a story about her career. Before joining the LBM community, Allah worked in the hospitality industry as a manager in training for Motels of America.

Allah recalled how she told an employer, “I don’t want to be at your counter forever.”

“You have to be prepared to have those discussions,” she told the audience.

Eventually, Allah drove to a nearby Builders FirstSource location to learn more about the company. And she received a job. 

During her 19-year career at Builders FirstSouce, Allah has risen up the ranks beginning in an entry-level position before holding inside sales, office admin, inventory control, safety coordinator, and human resources coordinator positions. 

“Sometimes you have to be willing to do something different and take a chance,” Allah said. 

The senior director of human resources also reminded those in attendance to ask themselves and their employer, “What’s my part to play here?”

“But there are a lot of parts whether its technology or automation. This industry is for women. There are opportunities here,” Allah said.

Both executives agreed that allowing job flexibility that helps meet the needs of employees’ personal lives is a must. It’s also a key to attracting new talent that bridges the gap between an aging workforce.

Calvacca noted that SBSI offers an internship program that draws students "from all walks of life." Builders FirstSource offers recruiting events along with internships at the yard level, which “have been successful,” according to Allah. 

Looking at women in the LBM industry, Calvacca said they make up about 17% of the overall workforce. While that might seem like a small percentage, it’s up from 11% just a few years ago.

“Women have the opportunity to contribute dramatically to the workforce, but we have to open that opportunity,” Calvacca said. “A lot of the opportunity is getting people to know your business.”