Employee turnover is a persistent problem in the construction industry. With many parts of construction highly specialized, the completion of a project will be at risk when even just a single field worker leaves their job. Confounding this is the high financial costs of and time investment in training new people to fill the jobs vacated.
There are plenty of things that cause employee turnover in construction. Construction site workers face very real dangers on the field every day and the stress can take a toll both on their bodies and their minds.
For this reason, it is important for construction business owners and human resources managers to employ strategies to improve employee engagement and retention. Showing appreciation to your employees can go a long way in reducing turnover. Here are five ways you can show your appreciation to your construction workforce.
1. Start an employee recognition and reward program
Recognizing the achievements of employees is paramount for any business owner or project manager. This applies to both back-office functions, field operations personnel, accounting, pre-lien management, and the crews working on your job sites.
Recognition improves workforce morale and directly affects productivity, helping your firm finish projects on schedule or even earlier. It also relieves the stress that is associated with construction tasks and keeps employees engaged in their jobs.
While employee recognition is an important contributor to employee well-being, few construction companies make use of a structured employee recognition program. Having such a program is beneficial not just to employees but also to companies. It makes employees feel good to receive recognition and, for employers, it’s a great way to reinforce company values, shape the desired culture and boost productivity.
An employee recognition program can be complex, and using a staff recognition software tool can be hugely beneficial.
2. Treat your staff
Small gestures can go a long way in keeping your employees motivated. For example, taking them to lunch can break up the day and provide a setting for you to connect with them on a different level.
Host a barbecue on-site, take them to a restaurant for lunch, or make it non-food related and give them an extra hour of at the end of a long week to say “thanks for the hard work.”
3. Feature exceptional employees on your website
Your website is one of the first things a potential client looks up when searching for your business. It is also a great opportunity to showcase your employees and let the general public know you value their work.
Write a content piece about your employee of the month, showing how they have excelled and what they are working on at the moment. While you are at it, you can pick their brain for insights to include on your company blog and put their expertise to even greater use. If one of your construction teams achieved something exceptional, such as beating a safety record or devising a more efficient construction technique, include that, too! They have a lot of stories to tell about their experiences on the job and many employees are passionate about the work they do and will be willing to share!
Featuring them on your website not only humanises your brand but also keeps your employees engaged by actively demonstrating how important their work is to the greater whole that is your business.
4. Create opportunities for career advancement
The skilled labor shortage is a persistent issue in the construction industry, making firms competitive when it comes to hiring skilled workers. This is why career development and professional growth are huge concerns for many construction employees, especially in constantly changing economic times. Some of them will inevitably look for greener pastures if your firm cannot provide an upward career path.
Creating opportunities for career advancement is one of the best ways you can retain employees. Promoting employees is one straightforward way to do so. However, this is not the only way. You can also start mentorship and training programs where veteran members of your workforce pass skills to inexperienced employees. Not only will this improve their career, but it also ensures the retention of skills in your own workforce.
5. Say “Thank you”
While actions do speak louder than words, it’s important to remember the simplest form of showing appreciation: saying “Thank you.” Words of appreciation and gratitude both in public and in private can go a long way in building the cornerstones of mutual respect and a healthy, productive company culture.
Recognizing employees’ successes and rewarding their accomplishments is crucial to any organization’s success. As the construction industry experiences challenges in hiring workers and retaining employees, it is doubly important for business owners to reach out and show their appreciation to their workforce.
About the author:
Patrick Hogan is the CEO of Handle.com, which builds software to help contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers with late payments. Handle.com also provides funding for construction businesses in the form of invoice factoring, material supply trade credit, and mechanics lien purchasing.