A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

Recruiting, Training, and Retaining the Workforce

Across all fields of construction, the industry is seeing a severe labor shortage during a time when it should be flourishing. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, the construction field is one of the few industries having consistent growth in the number of jobs and contracts available, however, the number of employees is quickly dwindling. Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston and its members are working to spread the word about how the construction industry is one that is promising, rewarding, and provides a great alternative to college.

“At Performance Contractors, our training and recruiting department share the positive message about careers in construction throughout the communities we work in at middle and high schools, community colleges, and community events,” says Brandon Mabile, Business Development Manager and 2019 ABC Chairman. “We also have a nationally recognized veteran’s program where we work with dozens of organizations and military bases throughout the country to recruit and train potential workers. Performance partners with organizations like Construction and Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF) and East Harris County Manufacturers Association (EHCMA) to provide craft training for new recruits and upskill training for current employees.”

Below are some ways that companies to help retain their employees and provide them with opportunities for growth and development.

If companies want their employees to stay long-term, they need to help employees see there is a path to their professional success. It’s widely known that the younger generations entering the workforce are eager for a career that will enable them to grow in the company. Set those expectations early in the hiring process by telling them the different avenues their career could take with the business. Companies should also set up a mentor program for those veteran employees to work with the newer, younger employees and coach them about the company and guide them down a path to success.

“We need to recognize that there are several generations working, and the differences each generation brings is the strength that is helping to create one of the most dynamic, rapidly changing, growing, and successful business environments in history,” says Linda Carter, President of Resource Management Associates and Instructor of ABC’s Leadership Forum. “Each generation also brings something valuable to the table. Never in history has there been so many generations actively working side by side to change the corporate culture dramatically, especially in the last ten years.”

Employees don’t just need access to construction tools; they also need training tools. Good employees will want to constantly strive to build their skillsets. Help them do this by giving employees access to proper training tools. This could be training the business has put together internally or external training that is realistic for employees to attend. Training doesn’t just have to take place in a classroom setting; nowadays, training can be set up online. For example, participating in industry webinars can be a less time-consuming and more cost-effective away to receive training from knowledgeable companies throughout the industry and across the globe.

Member companies are also participating in the ABC/CMEF Schools Training Division and unlocking the door to great potential in a robust industry.

Transparency is key with new hires and existing employees. Professionals shouldn’t mislead either party into thinking the business is going in one direction or another. Being direct about how a new employee will fit into the mold and how the responsibilities of his role will contribute to the business is essential. This also goes for the corporate culture at the company. Sharing the type of atmosphere at the business and gauging the potential hire’s mindset on the importance of company culture will help businesses better determine the right individual for the job.

Companies should have an active presence in their communities for multiple reasons. Not only does it keep the business engaged with those living in the area to help cultivate a positive reputation, but it also makes people aware that there is an organization in their area that is potentially hiring. Those living in the area might not know about all the local companies, so an active presence is key for attracting new talent to the business.

There are no better recruiters for a company than those who already work for it. Businesses should involve their existing employees to act as ambassadors for the company. Businesses can even offer employees a referral program, meaning they could receive a bonus or some other benefit if they recommend someone who is hired.

Using salespeople in the company is also a smart move. Take advantage of their biggest talent and send them to networking events and job fairs to better position the company among the job seeker pool. Companies should also take a look at their existing employees and where they came from. Was there a platform that brought in more than others? Companies should review previous efforts to see what was most successful and then optimize that strategy.

“It’s all about ensuring your company brand is clearly defined and recognizable in the market,” says Jon Parow, Vice President of Comfort Systems USA – South Central. “We have embraced several social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to highlight our company values. Likes and re-tweets from our existing employees help spread the word that we have a lot to offer potential employees if they are considering a career move to join our company.”

Businesses need to reevaluate their approach to recruiting and retaining employees. The industry has changed and the ways companies can reach job seekers has changed too. With the current shortage, it doesn’t hurt to try out some new techniques to determine whether they produce results.

“Dedication to providing employees a path from recruitment, employment, assessment, training, and certification through NCCER is an essential part of our culture that develops a safe and productive workforce,” says Chris Newton, Manager of Workforce Development at Cajun Industries. “These tenants combined lead to high morale, retention and ultimately retirement.”

Harrell, Lauren. Reprinted from BuildHoustonOnline.com, April 9, 2019, a publication of Associated Builders and Contractors of Greater Houston. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.