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Refreshing Insights

Since its virtual collapse nearly a decade ago, the construction industry has experienced strong growth and is expected to be one of the fastest growing sectors in coming years. 

Consequently, the number of workers needed in the construction industry is growing, too, and so are the challenges. Changing labor laws, worker safety initiatives, rising workers’ compensation costs and immigration compliance are just a few. The greatest challenge, however, remains keeping your workforce fully staffed.

How can you recruit workers to meet the demand and overcome the skilled labor shortage? And how can you ensure you keep the good employees you already have?

Recruiting — Get the People You Need

There’s an unfortunate stigma associated with the construction field for many who are outside the industry. The perception that jobs don’t offer competitive pay or benefits and that the work is potentially dangerous needs to be overcome. Once those stereotypes are dismissed, making sure potential recruits have the required skills and experience also needs to be addressed.

One avenue is sometimes dismissed as a viable way to promote the great opportunities available in the construction industry: social media. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social channels are rich with opportunities to engage potential recruits and to show the exciting projects and people they can work with through photos and videos. It’s a great way to attract younger workers, but it’s also a valid way to engage more seasoned candidates. Facebook, for example, is used across a wide range of demographic groups, with its largest segment of users being men and women ages 25–34, followed by those ages 35–44.

Providing training opportunities and networking with teachers in high schools and trade schools are other important avenues for recruiting. Another consideration is participating in outreach opportunities related to construction, such as YouthBuild USA, Habitat for Humanity and Ace Mentor Programs. Having a presence in the community helps boost your brand, share your message about the rewarding career opportunities, address stereotypes and talk with those who already show an interest in the field. You may also need to look at ways to leverage outside help to meet demand, but make sure you take measures to vet your subcontractors.

Getting involved in a construction trade organization can help provide training and connect you to programs to connect with individuals looking to get into construction field. Organizations such as Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin (ABC) and Associated General Contractors of Wisconsin (AGC) both offer great programs for training and connecting your company to individuals interested in construction. ABC of Wisconsin has a tremendous apprenticeship program and training programs for things such as Emerging Leaders and Construction Leadership while AGC of Wisconsin has worked with local high school and technical colleges to setup their A.C.E Career Academics to teach and educate young adults about construction and they also provide leadership training for their members.

Once you’ve connected with people who may be a good fit for your team, it’s important to ensure you offer competitive benefits and have a robust safety program and healthy culture. If you want an ideal recruit to sign on with your team, you’ll need to stand out from the crowd, so consider working with an HR services firm to benchmark your salaries, benefits and employee programs to ensure they remain competitive with your peers.

Retention — Keep the People You’ve Got

When unemployment is low, the chances of another organization attempting to recruit your employees to join their forces increases. Mitigate the risks of losing your valued workers by improving opportunities for training and development. When new employees come on board, ensure they are properly equipped with the tools and equipment they need to safely and successfully do their work. Injuries can be more prevalent in the first few weeks on a job, and if workers feel like they have to fend for themselves and “figure it out” on their own, they’re more likely to feel discouraged and have higher turnover rates.

Comradery among construction workers is another factor that can increase retention. Ensuring a positive and engaging culture is often more important to workers than the size of their paychecks. Provide opportunities for workers to voice concerns, to share ideas and problem solve, and to keep communication lines open. Promote positive behaviors and encourage respect among your team. Most importantly, set the example for others to follow.

While the labor shortage shows no signs of slowing, these tips can help you address it head on and increase your chances of landing ideal candidates and improving your current workforce. You’ll find additional tips in our Construction Hiring Guide below, so be sure to check it out. If you’d like to sit down for a complimentary assessment of your needs and to develop a well-rounded HR strategy, simply reach out. We’d love to help.

Skilled Worker Shortage? Get Our Construction Industry Hiring Guide!

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A collection of articles from the McClone team with the helpful knowledge and insights to ensure your organization is well protected.