A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

C3: Doing The Right Things To Serve Our Industry’s Workforce

After many hours of hard work, it appears the discussions surrounding the principles of the Construction Career Collaborative (C3) have successfully shifted to the equally hard work of shaping the practices to deliver a sustainable workforce to the region. With the list of engaged owners, C3 projects and Accredited Employers continuing to grow, the collaborative is now focusing on increased time and energy on generating data and metrics that reinforce the need for craft workers who are skilled, safe and committed to the career they have chosen.

“What gets measured, gets managed”, is a phrase attributed to Peter Drucker, considered the founder of modern management. Another quote that he is credited with states, "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." Both quotes sum up what is necessary for C3 to realize its goal – a workforce that will serve our industry well into the future.

Over the last several years, many general and specialty contractors have done a good job of focusing on jobsite safety. It has allowed the industry to compile some really good data. Because construction work brings a certain level of risk, accidents – unfortunately fatalities as well – can and do happen. But recently released metrics reveal a significant decline in recordable incidents and lost time incidents on C3 projects. This can be attributed to the level of safety training C3 companies have instituted for their workers in following safety-related procedures and processes on construction projects.

However, gathering metrics on the value of a skilled versus an unskilled worker is another story. Historically, our industry has done a very poor job of benchmarking productivity. It would seem training someone to do something better, faster, smarter would pay off in the long run. But what gets measured, gets managed and that lack of metrics makes it difficult for an owner to truly understand the value of adding additional layers to their project.

Which brings to mind Drucker’s second quote, which at this point and time is more important than ever in craft sustainability, "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."

As the message of C3 continues to grow, along with the number of owners, contractors and projects, more and more leaders are needed to commit to doing the right things. Right things that not only include following the C3 principles, but leading in the areas of skills assessment and training and bringing C3 principles to more and more projects.

Throughout the decades, Houston’s commercial construction industry has been very fortunate to have had many outstanding leaders overseeing the built environment. And many more are forging a diverse and trained workforce. It is that leadership doing the right thing that will pave the way for a sustainable workforce in the Greater Houston region.