The ability to be successful in the construction industry is often directly related to the quality of your work force. From project managers, supervisors and heavy equipment operators to general laborers, each one plays a vital role in the process – and their longevity on the team often equals enhanced skill and efficiency. Unfortunately, the construction industry faces unique HR challenges, including high employee turnover, a lack of qualified candidates to fill open positions, safety concerns and the need to comply with employment and immigration laws. Along with a low overall unemployment rate nationwide, which means there is simply a shortage of individuals looking for work, there is also an increasing lack of skilled workers as new generations choose different lines of work. To change the tide of high attrition, construction companies must implement new and improved recruiting and retention methods. To help our clients, prospects and others, Barnes Dennig has provided some recruiting and retention ideas below.
Construction Recruiting and Retention Strategies
- Smart Recruiting – Recruiting has changed dramatically in the past several years, and it’s important to advertise where your potential employees are looking. This means turning to social media, which also requires a suitable online presence. Ensure that your company’s website and social media sites are up to date and include a good representation of your company culture, job benefits and current projects to show how the potential candidate can be part of a bigger picture. In addition, consider participating at events, speaking or taking advantage of sponsorship opportunities at high schools and community and technical colleges to attract younger generations. Veterans are also great candidates for construction positions. Seek out organizations like vets.gov, which can connect your company to hard-working individuals who are looking for new careers.
- Individual Motivation – Certain advantages of having a job are commonplace, like a company-sponsored health care plan and retirement benefits, but do you really know what motivates each of your employees individually? What matters to a new Millennial hire versus an individual with a young family or someone near retirement can vary widely. Consider creating segmented motivational plans that may include more flexibility, educational benefits, variety of work, career growth or company buy-in options and monetary bonuses, depending on what your staff desires. Understanding the benefits that matter to employees can help you avoid costly turnover and attract more talent.
- Management and Formal Mentoring – For better or worse, managers and supervisors set the tone for the staff they direct. Putting the right people in those positions is only part of the battle. It’s also vital to create an environment with open communication so employees can voice concerns over issues on and off the job site. This empowers staff at all levels to resolve conflict before it leads to turnover. In addition, a formal mentoring program can be a powerful recruiting tool along with motivating existing employees. Having a skilled role model guide new or younger employees helps them acclimate to the position and master skills more quickly.
- Fair Wages – While money is not the only reason employees stay with or leave a company, paying a wage consistent to competing companies is vital. Anything less leaves your company open to having your top performers recruited away and can negatively affect productivity for the ones who aren’t. Also ensure that you pay equal wages among male and female workers with the same level of skill. Consult the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to see how your pay rates compare with others in the construction industry.
- Safety, Health and Wellness – Investing in your employees’ health and wellness is not only a solid retention strategy, it has also proven to make them more productive on the job. In addition to standard health benefits, consider other perks to improve their work life quality, like benefits that cover massages or physical therapy for muscle strain and repetitive motion disorders. Also be sure your staff has access to a cool, covered place for breaks and ample water.
Low unemployment rates nationwide and the perception of construction jobs being low paying and dangerous have created additional stress on recruiting and retention for many. However, with the right approach, you can change the conversation and attract and retain the skilled workers to grow your business. If you have questions or need assistance with an audit, tax or compliance issue, Barnes Dennig can help. For additional information please call us at 513-241-8313, or click here to contact us. We look forward to speaking with you soon.