The US labor force has been steadily declining for more than ten years now. Baby Boomers are leaving the market and millennials aren’t too keen on getting into the construction industry. Economists say that these negative trends won’t improve anytime soon, so you must take matters into your own hands if you want to find and retain quality workers.
Spread the Word to Local Students
Not all millennials and Gen Z’ers want to work in IT or study liberal arts, so you need to find the ones who want a trade career, even if their numbers are small. To find them, reach out to local high schools.
Offer to give a presentation to the students and talk to them about your experiences in the construction industry and why it is a good career choice. Is there a school job fair coming up? Rent a table!
To help them get a sense of the trade, offer internship opportunities or summer jobs. To get ahead of the competition, be the one who will help them start a career in the construction industry. To connect with young workers, you can join YouthBuild USA or ACE Mentor Programs of America.
Don’t neglect college students either. To spread awareness of your business at campuses and recruit workers, you can try offering co-ops.
Engage Current Employees
According to a 2017 FMI survey, just 39% of construction businesses measure employee engagement. If that goes for your business as well, you need to change something. You need to show your employees that you are willing to invest in them and that you care about their future. That in itself is a great recruitment tool.
Make sure there is room for growth within your organization. Take time to discuss career goals with each and every worker. Just like your future employees, your current workers also need mentorship. Help them figure out what further education or training they need to reach their goals. If you can, be the one to teach them such skills.
A company that helps employees reach their milestones will benefit greatly—and that goes for every industry. If you can afford it, offer in-house training or tuition reimbursement. The best way to build employee loyalty is by providing exciting career paths.
Reducing Employee Turnover
In this short, free online course get some advice on the importance that your company’s culture plays in reducing your company’s turnover.
Word of Mouth
It’s no secret that almost every experienced construction worker has a shortlist of colleagues they would recommend in a heartbeat. Still, it may be a good idea to grease things up a bit. You could set up an employee referral program. Let your crew do the recruiting for you.
When they bring suitable candidates, make sure to reward them. A proper referral program will turn your workers into brand ambassadors. Make sure to ask candidates if they were referred by a worker.
Include such questions in job application forms as well. This way, you’ll make it easier for everyone. Since your workers can vouch for the workers they bring in, it should make the vetting process easier.
Don’t Stop Recruiting
You may be in the habit of looking for new employees just before the heat of the season. Perhaps you’re not hiring new employees at all as you have just enough workers. Neither of these approaches works long-term.
Even if you’re a seasonal operation, hiring is a year-round job. This goes even if you have a steady arsenal of employees. Don’t stop recruiting.
You never know when you’ll need an extra pair of hands. You’ll be able to find better workers if you hire in the offseason before anyone else gets to them. Put them on payroll a month or two early if that’s what it takes to get them to commit.
Are You Setting SMART Goals for Your Business?
Improve your business culture, productivity, and quality by using SMART goals. SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and time-bound.
Even if you’re not able to pay better wages than your competition, there’s still plenty you can do. In fact, 4 in 5 workers prefer benefits over a raise, according to Glassdoor. If you can afford it, offer a comprehensive benefits package.
It won’t just help you recruit new workers, but it will also strengthen the loyalty of your current employees. According to the 2016 Aflac WorkForces report, 60% of workers reported that a benefits package is very important to their company loyalty.
If you are not a member of any business organization, try to find one that can help you secure a benefit program for your workers. For instance, the Chamber of Commerce offers affordable worker benefit programs.
Maintain Relationships with Previous Workers
Keep a list of all the people who used to work for you. Try to stay on good terms with everyone. Even if an employee stops working for you, they can help you spread the word that you are hiring (especially if you have a referral program). They may help you with single projects in the future as well.
Stay in touch with talented workers—call them every now and then. This way, you’ll be at the forefront of their mind when they’re searching for work in your area or when their friends need an employee recommendation.
The construction industry has given a good life to many families. It’s on you to show your prospects and your younger employees that they can have a nice future as a skilled construction worker. If you show your employees that you are invested in their future, chances are they’ll stick around.