The risks that are currently facing companies in the construction industry include financial, market stability and workforce hurdles that involve the availability of jobs.
There is a human side to construction; thus, the workforce is the core of a business. It can also be a limiting factor as companies need to grow, become more efficient and increase the pace of their project delivery. Some companies find they can’t grow fast enough because of cost challenges, and talent impacts many company objectives.
With a shortage of skilled labor, hiring for the industry has become challenging. Fortunately, it’s possible to find and translate construction skills in other areas. Rather than hiring, it’s often more efficient to make the most of your existing labor force. Investing in “human capital” improves employee retention. There are ways to optimize and maximize the talent you currently have on staff. Fitting workers into the right positions is important. Failing at that can be expensive.
To optimize the workers you currently have on staff, your company needs to:
- Acknowledge that your people are your biggest asset. They are working hard to build the world.
- Clarify and focus on the specific talent you need and when you need it.
- Determine the source of your best talent. Where did your high performers come from? This will enable you to hire more precisely, and employees are likely to stay longer as a result.
- Learn what skills your current workforce has. Make a skills map. When you know the full range of your staff’s abilities, you have more freedom to shift people around to another project when required. This also enables you to focus on skillsets you need to hire.
Your employees deserve respect, from workers in the field to top management. Most of them love their work even if the rest of the world doesn’t understand how or why. The stigma of not going to college is subsiding. And other countries have set the example of two-track labor pipelines.
Preparing to hire requires an investment of leadership time, which is always at a premium. Despite day-to-day emergencies, you must make time to think through and plan a hiring strategy.
A system that represents a skills-based economy is not strong in the construction labor marketplace. In some ways your strategy may need to be unique to your company’s situation. Even if your existing hiring process is not optimal, at least you have one to build from. It takes time to make changes, and change management is key to innovation.
As you develop your strategy, you’ll recognize that construction has public relations and marketing challenges. It has historically been difficult to reach people outside the industry and attract them into it.
Part of that challenge arises from a perception problem. Many people don’t understand yet how much technology has become part of the industry. Today, that is empowering lots of problem solvers and innovators. A system shift is taking place market-wide that is changing perceptions.
Join myself and guest Katie Hall on the Bridging the Gap Podcast as we discuss workforce perceptions and challenges, AI development and securing buy-in for new technology.