Construction is no longer a traditional industry, applying conventional methods and tried-and-tested processes. Much has changed over the years, with the pandemic driving innovation and technology adoption. The employment rate in the sector is impressive, with nearly 8 million Americans working in it as of early 2023. The number is the highest since the beginning of the pandemic.
Another exceptional statistic about the construction industry is the sheer number of firms therein. The American market has 3,787,470 construction businesses as of 2023, marking an increase of 2.5% from 2022. Considering these numbers, a labor shortage seems impending sooner or later. Recent data shows that the construction worker shortage already tops half a million.
If you run a construction business, getting top talent for your company and retaining the best people should be on top of your mind. Employee acquisition and retention require more than attractive salaries and incentives. A robust work culture is the mainstay of a solid team for all businesses, and construction companies are no exception.
Here are a few actionable measures to gain the work-culture advantage for your construction company:
Understand the Meaning of Work Culture
Culture refers to the cumulative personality of an organization, including its traditions, values, and mission. It may have a different meaning for contractors because these businesses differ from regular organizations selling products and services. Further, the industry has unique challenges relating to productivity, efficiency, and safety.
When it comes to the work culture of a construction company, here are a few factors business owners must pay attention to:
- Your new employee feel safe and stress-free at job sites
- Your experienced workers try to assist the newcomers and ensure their safety
- You have proper safety protocols in place
- Your workers have access to personal protective equipment
- Everyone in the company follows a common goal of delivering quality work on time
Adopt a People-First Mindset
The latest infrastructure package by President Joe Biden spells a massive boom for America’s construction industry. At the same time, it spells an acute hiring challenge for business owners. Surveys suggest that they will need 1 million new workers to address the demand. The catch is that 1 in 4 construction workers will likely retire by 2021.
These factors necessitate adopting a people-first mindset because workers will are spoiled for choice. They want to work with companies that truly care about their holistic well-being. You must align your work culture by offering robust healthcare and retirement plans, accommodating remote work requests, and implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Foster Professional Development for Employees
Providing professional development opportunities to employees brings dual benefits to organizations. It makes you an attractive employer, boosting recruitment and retention efforts. Additionally, trained and qualified employees empower your business with better performance and efficiency in the long run.
Consider supporting your employees in upgrading their education. An online engineering master’s degree is a win-win investment for construction employees. With these programs, learners can dig deep into specific fields such as construction design, civil engineering, or environmental expertise. The best thing about online degrees is that graduates can pursue them without taking a career break.
EducatingEngineers.com highlights the value of master’s degrees for professionals looking for career advancement. Likewise, construction companies can encourage employees to enroll in them for professional development, leading to a strong work culture.
Recognize and Reward High Performers
Surveys show that employee recognition is the most significant motivation driver for employees, with 37% of respondents stating it as the number one factor. Creating a culture of recognition and rewards can make your construction company a worthy employer. People have a good reason to contribute and stick around when they feel appreciated.
Recognition and reward need not always be a dollar amount. A word of praise or a complimentary leave can do the trick. Recognize the smallest effort to set an example for your workers and motivate them to give their best. Sharing complementary recognition from customers takes your work culture a notch higher.
Measure and Realign
Although work culture is more about a feeling of positivity and belongingness, you can find creative ways to measure its efficacy. The following factors indicate a positive work ethic for your construction company:
- Late arrivals and absenteeism are lower
- Employee retention is higher
- Minimal workforce issues and disputes
- Less rework and call-backs
- Profitability and on-time-completion for projects
If any of these factors seem amiss, you need to rework and realign the work environment and culture factors. You may not see marked improvement immediately, but working in the right direction can help you develop a positive culture in the long run.
The Bottom Line
A robust work culture is a game-changer for organizations looking to build an employer brand. It is even more critical in the construction industry, where labor shortage is a serious concern. By investing in these work-culture factors, you can build a company with a strong foundation and excellent employer reputation.