The qualified worker shortage has weighed heavily on contractors for years. New challenges brought on by the pandemic including supply chain issues, material shortages, and project delays have only exacerbated the issue. The 2022 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and Sage found that 83% of contractors surveyed are having a hard time filling some or all positions.1
And, most don’t expect things to get better anytime soon, as 75% think it will continue to be hard or become harder to fill positions this year.2 A strong workforce is vital to business success, especially in the current environment, so it’s no surprise that employee retention and recruitment are top-of-mind for many contractors. While turnover cannot be completely avoided, companies can create a supportive environment to help employee retention.
This article will take a closer look at some best practices to help contractors improve employee retention, including utilizing human capital management (HCM) software, addressing field and office needs, providing training and career development, planning for business disruptions, and prioritizing employee mental health.
Utilize Human Capital Management Software
HCM solutions help contractors effectively manage their people resources and easily react and adapt to the changing needs of the business. The efficient use of HCM software and other HR technology tools can help streamline HR functions and reduce time spent on administrative tasks.
While many construction companies dedicate some resources to HR technology, most are not using the available options to their full potential. Technology can help make all aspects of HR more efficient, from managing remote employees to right sizing the business.
A comprehensive HCM solution can automate many key HR functions beginning with the essential steps of recruiting and hiring. Using the right technology encourages greater visibility and collaboration throughout the recruitment process, helping teams find the best fits for their organization. The time saved by automating processes allows companies to take a more strategic approach and concentrate efforts on other important aspects such as the interview process.
Streamlining Personnel Processes
It is essential for companies to have a proper onboarding process that prepares a new hire for a successful tenure at the company. HR solutions can help ensure new employees experience a smooth transition into their new roles. “Organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.”3
With HCM software, employees can manage their own day-to-day HR tasks and information (e.g., time and attendance, pay slips, expense reports, company policies, updates, time off requests, and schedules) using a single self-service portal. Streamlining personnel processes helps cut costs, saves valuable time, and provides employees with a greater sense of autonomy.
Cloud-based HR technology and workforce management apps further encourage collaboration and make it easier for teams to share goals and remain in sync. Apps such as time capture can further enhance HCM solutions while helping to free up employee time and ease frustrations for both field and back office teams. These solutions can also provide accurate and reliable analytics so businesses can make smarter people decisions that benefit the entire organization.
Provide Training & Career Development
LinkedIn Learning’s 2021 Workforce Learning Report found that upskilling and reskilling were the top areas of focus for learning and development programs in 2021.4 When building a solid workforce, consider investing in more training for both the current and future workforce. Contractors have an opportunity to recruit workers who are exiting other industries with skills that translate well to construction, especially with some additional training.5
Technology can aid in connecting with and developing new employees. But while technology can deliver a wealth of benefits, if it is not used properly, the full potential may not be realized. New technology training must be built into the job just as an employee would be trained to use new machinery or heavy equipment. Unfortunately, many construction businesses are challenged with finding the time needed to implement and train employees on new technology, with 41% of survey respondents identifying it as their biggest IT challenge.
Luckily, some vendors include on-demand training modules and support with their software services. It is crucial for businesses to take advantage of these resources because they provide essential training, help ensure that the technology use is maximized, and don’t require a dedicated staff person to administer all trainings. However, businesses do need to build time for this technology training into the onboarding process and project workflows to ensure that all employees are taking advantage of the latest technology resources available to them.
While training is essential, providing career development opportunities is arguably just as important. Career development can help increase employee motivation and productivity and provides a greater sense of loyalty. Workers care more about their job when they feel that they are valued and are building a career with the company.
The 2021 Workforce Learning Report found that employees at companies with high internal mobility stay almost two times longer compared to those at companies with low internal mobility.6 Employees who move into new jobs internally are also 3.5 times more likely to be engaged employees than those who stay in their current jobs.7
It is essential for managers to discuss long-term goals and support their employees in planning and navigating a career path. Open communication helps businesses identify what their employees are looking for in their jobs. With proper training and support, employees can work smarter and grow with the company.