It’s no secret that there are currently more jobs available in construction than there are people to fill them. Meanwhile, across all industries, more people are leaving their jobs (or job-hopping) than ever before.1 Therefore, attracting and keeping employees has become more important than ever.
Recruiting and retaining high performers is no easy feat. This article outlines some key areas that could be warning signs for your company, along with best practices and examples to help proactively improve your company’s recruitment and retention culture.
To improve your culture of retention, bestselling business author Jim Collins suggests to “start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.” In other words, building the right team is integral to success. And if you cannot keep your team in place, all other well-intentioned efforts can be in vain.2
Just as a mechanic must diagnose why your car’s check engine light is on before beginning repairs, a company must diagnose why it has trouble recruiting and/or retaining employees before attempting to make changes. The following questions can help with this assessment:
- Why do employees stay at your company?
- Why do they leave?
- What attracts new employees to your company?
- Is your compensation range and benefits package competitive for your market?
- Have you laid out a career path for your people, and are they on board with your direction?
Common areas of improvement include work/life balance, compensation and benefits, undefined career paths, or unhealthy office environments. While compensation is often cited as a reason for leaving a company, contrary to popular belief, as long as employers are close to the market rate for their area, compensation often does not significantly drive employee job changes.
Focus on Retention
As recruiters, we have observed that the number one motivation for otherwise strong employees to leave a company is lack of career growth, which is often due to ineffective, unengaged managers.
Know Thy Team: Building Strategic Succession Plans
Referring back to Jim Collins, our industry is ultimately “a people business.” Knowing your team is essential to long-term success today and, most important, tomorrow. Further, implementing strategic succession planning for tomorrow can help many companies improve their “today.”
Succession planning is only effective if your team’s key members are aligned with the same goals. Take time to discuss career goals and future succession plans with your team to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Brad Ledford, President of DHG Search, asserts that when companies take the time to create cultures of trust and genuinely learn where employees see themselves in 2-3 years, it becomes easier to plan and invest in progression – even if that means some employees transition out.
Brad notes, “Career path conversations allow both the company and employee to have those critical conversations. Know what causes angst with their employees, or how to invest in ways that are the most meaningful for their growth. I find lack of conversations like these, and the apparent apathy or lack of career opportunities are one of the main reasons high-potential candidates work with us. Wouldn’t it be better if companies had these conversations and had more insight into timeline and process?”
Simply taking the time to get to know employees on a more personal level and showing appreciation for their work can be highly valuable.
For example, one notable heavy equipment group schedules weekly team meetings at their locations. During these meetings, attendees go around the room for a one-minute update, which entails each person talking for 30 seconds about their personal initiatives or how he or she spent the weekend and 30 seconds sharing appreciation of a team member or project. The company owner believes this simple activity has contributed great value to the groups by building deeper relationships and bonds of trust.