3 Ways to Reduce Turnover in Construction
Clarify, Create and Celebrate
Like the healthcare, hospitality and transportation industries, the construction industry has a persisting labor problem. Construction HR managers face the challenge of high employee turnover along with the difficulties in making construction jobs attractive to new graduates and fresh talent. And as demand for more construction work continues to increase, construction business owners need to address employee turnover as soon as possible.
According to the Workforce Vitality Report by the ADP Research Institute, the construction industry has one of the highest employee turnover rates at 58.4%. Adding to this problem is the difficulty experienced by most contractors in meeting schedule requirements and submitting higher project bids due to skilled labor shortages. According to the latest Commercial Construction Index from the USG Corporation and the US Chamber of Commerce, 59% of construction companies report high difficulty in finding skilled workers to meet the demand.
There’s no question that in the construction industry, the workforce is a firm’s greatest asset. After all, their skills and expertise have the biggest impact on the success of a construction project. While losing one worker may not have a huge effect on your productivity, a pattern of increasing employee turnover may require you to take a step back and analyze what went wrong. Not only does a high turnover lower your overall productivity and workforce morale, but it can also lead to your business’s demise.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the construction industry’s turnover problem, there are several good practices that business owners can employ to address it. Here are some ways to reduce turnover and improve employee engagement.
1. Clarify your company’s values and culture
Your company’s mission and vision statements, as well as its values, serve as its guiding principles in achieving fulfilling business operations. All members of the company, from the executives to the rank and file employees, must identify with these values and aim to create a business environment based on your established mission and vision.
If there is a disconnect between your supposed company values and principles and the company leaders’ decision and actions, it will affect the workforce’s perception of the company. They will inevitably be disillusioned with the leadership and eventually look for greener pastures. The more frequent employees leave your company, the more difficult it is for your organization to shape company culture. This will then, in turn, make it harder to hire employees who are “culturally fit”.
The best starting point when addressing employee engagement is to consider your mission and vision statements as well as your company values within the context of your current style of work and workplace culture. Go to the field and observe workers as they go about their tasks on the construction site. Finally, ask how workers feel about their work environment and their suggestions for the things they want to change. Shaping your culture is not just something that passively comes to form but, rather, you can shape it consciously through consistent leadership.
When you listen to Webber’s VP of HR, Mitch Beckman talk about values, it’s not hard to see why Webber was 2018 Contractor of the Year for Texas/Louisiana and National AGC safety award winner for the past five consecutive years.
2. Create opportunities for professional growth
The high demand for construction services coupled with the skilled labor shortage makes for a competitive industry when it comes to acquiring skilled workers. Professional growth and career development are huge concerns for all employees–whether it’s for the back offices in accounting and lien management to field personnel–especially in a constantly changing economy and personal circumstances. Because of this, some of your employees will inevitably look for better opportunities in other firms if your company cannot provide the same.
So while you cannot deter employees from leaving, you need to provide compelling reasons to stay with your company. One of the best ways to do so is to create opportunities for career growth. Note that this does not simply mean promotions. You should also create an environment where they can acquire new skills and techniques through training and mentorship. Not only will this enrich their career, but it will also ensure a high skill level for your workforce.
3. Recognize employee achievements
Too often employees feel that their achievements in the workplace are unrecognized, resulting in demotivation and disengagement. This is even more so in the construction industry. The workforce faces very real dangers on the construction site and it would mean a lot if someone from the higher-ups appreciates their work. Everyone wants to be appreciated and to know that the effort and time they invested in the work are not for nothing.
For this reason, it is important to celebrate successes in the workplace to renew employee motivation. Put a system in place to reward their successes through both monetary and non-monetary benefits. But it doesn’t always have to be costly. One of the most effective ways to show your appreciation is to publicly recognize teams or employees with big achievements, say breaking a safety record or developing a new technique, and feature them on your website, social media or in the company newsletter. CSI STARS clients take this one step further by recognizing and rewarding employee and team achievements through an easy to use, mobile platform. Employees receive points for performance that can be redeemed points for cool stuff.
Click here for lots of FREE ROAR (Remind Others to Appreciate and Recognize) resources.
Employee turnover will continue to be a big issue in the construction industry. But with a willingness to act upon your company’s shortcomings and fortitude to make the necessary changes from within, you will be able to overcome this challenge and thrive in these trying times.