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High Turnover? 5 Ways to Improve Employee Retention in Construction

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High employee turnover is one of the most challenging issues construction HR managers face. A similar issue is a difficulty in making the construction industry appealing to fresh graduates and new talents.

According to the Commercial Construction Index from the USG Corporation and the US Chamber of Commerce, 58% of contractors report a high level of difficulty finding skilled workers in the last quarter of 2018. The issue worsened from the same quarter in 2017— it shows a persistent problem in the industry that HR managers need to address.

Employees are a construction company’s greatest assets. Losing one employee may not affect your business that much. Still, when you lose several employees in a pattern of increasing employee turnover, you need to address the problem immediately. If it continues, it will reduce your company’s productivity and workforce morale, And worse, threaten the existence of your business.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to addressing the construction industry’s employee retention strategy. Every company has a different set of factors to consider dealing with workforce woes. Yet, several practices prove effective in addressing high employee turnover. They improve employee engagement and retention. Here are some of them.

1. Be clear about your company’s values and culture.

The mission and vision statement and its values are the guiding principles. By these values, the company conducts its business. We can identify these early and provide a starting point for company culture to develop. But with frequent employee separations, it will be hard for your organization to shape its culture. In turn, this will also make it difficult to find new employees who are “culturally fit.”

It’s important to note that a disconnect between company values and the company leaders’ actions and decision-making will inevitably affect your employees’ perception of the company. If they feel that the leadership does not “walk the talk,” they will walk away.

Visit construction sites for a culture check. And observe your organization’s current style of work and overall workplace culture. Ask how workers feel about their working environment and what they want to change. If there is a disconnect between the company’s values and its perceived culture, do something about it immediately. Remember that you can shape the culture with consistent leadership.

2. Focus on improving teamwork and mentorship.

Camaraderie is vital in construction work. Workers face many challenges and genuine dangers while they are on the construction site. Hence, they must have one another’s back while working. Because of this, it is important to foster an environment that values equality, trust, and respect.

There are several ways you can approach this.

  • First, you need to have a well-structured management system. This will put employees on the right track and prevent confusion and work errors.

  • Improve transparency by creating open communication channels to superiors.

  • Finally, having a mentorship program can further improve the relationship between workers and their superiors. And allow the transfer of knowledge and skills.

3. Provide opportunities for professional growth.

Because of the increasing demand for construction services, the industry is quite competitive in acquiring skilled workers. Uncertainty in the constantly changing economy and living situation brings a vast concern about professional development to all employees. Some will inevitably look for new and better opportunities elsewhere if their company does not provide them from within.

Given this, it is crucial to discuss opportunities for growth with your employees regularly. Professional growth does not simply mean getting promotions. You need to provide opportunities for them to acquire new skills and techniques. It can be through training and mentorship to enrich their professional careers.

4. Celebrate employee achievements.

All people want is recognition for their achievements in the workplace. It means that their effort and time invested in the work are not for nothing, and someone higher up appreciates their work. Celebrating successes in the workplace sparks employee motivation. The renewed disposition will show in their work.

For this reason, it is important to have a system in place to reward these successes. It doesn’t have to be costly either. One of the simplest ways you can write about a particular employee or team with a significant achievement is meeting safety goals or developing new techniques. And then sharing it in a company-wide newsletter.

Such employee retention factors goes a long way in curbing the issues of high employee turnover.

5. Include employees in the decision-making process.

A huge part of improving employee engagement is making them feel that their perspectives and opinions are valued. Getting input from employees in the construction industry is doubly vital. Being on the field means they have insights that management-level employees may not possess.

Including employees in the decision-making process will instill in them a sense of responsibility. When employees see that their input brought a beneficial change to the company, it will make them feel that they are making a difference.

Conquering high turnover in construction starts with the willingness to look at the current situation and the desire to change from within. Looking at the latest employee retention statistics will also help in deciding the best way forward. But the most important thing is to trust and invest in your employees. As Richard Branson once said, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don’t want to.”

This article is written by Aki Merced. Aki is the Content Manager at Handle, where they build software that helps contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers secure their lien rights and get paid faster by automating the collection process for unpaid construction invoices. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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