How to Hang on to your
© 2000 Construction Experts, Inc.
This article was originally published in Exterior Advantage
magazine, Summer 2000 edition.
Hanging onto your employees in a tight labor market
is important to the success of your company and not as difficult as you
Here are a few low cost things you can do better
than your competition that will generate employee loyalty.
Provide career guidance and encourage life-long
learning among your workers. Your employees are ambitious and want
to advance in their chosen profession. Once they reach the
journeyman stage there is little advice available to help them continue
their professional growth. Let your workers know what skills
to develop, what classes to take, and what they can do in the workplace to
achieve that next step up the professional ladder.
Helping your employees reach professional
goals will show them that your company cares about them and at the same
time will provide the company with increasingly qualified and professional
employees. Find out what your worker’s goals are and help them put
together a plan to achieve those goals.
Provide training programs for all employees.
This employee benefit is the next natural step to career guidance.
It can be very difficult for ambitious workers to find needed training in
the market place. You can make your workers aware of supervisory
courses currently being offered over the Internet (http://Www.ConstructionClasses.com
) and offer to pay for them. You can encourage your local
university to offer extension courses for construction professionals.
Let your employees know about currently available courses. Paycheck
stuffers are a great way to inform your employees about educational
Company sponsored training programs are viewed as
one of the most desirable benefits a company can provide to workers.
Training can be held in-house or out sourced to training providers.
Companies can bring in professional speakers for in-house seminars and
they can offer tuition reimbursement for classes directly related to job
Many of your employees are looking for craft
classes to fill gaps in their experience and previous training. They
are looking for classes to help them make the transition to foreman or
lead person. Your senior workers are looking for classes that will
help them advance to superintendent and your superintendents may be
interested in classes to help them take on the responsibilities of project
Training you provide for supervisory personnel will
improve working conditions on the jobsite and help create a culture of
loyalty among employees.
Only very large companies can offer all training
in-house. Smaller companies should look for qualified training
providers, classes at community colleges and online courses that can be
offered as part of the company training program.
Companies who offer comprehensive training programs
have found the programs help with employee retention, increase employee
morale and make recruiting easier as potential employees are attracted to
your training programs.
Provide good leadership
Your employees enjoy working on well run, efficient projects.
They want to be a
part of a winning team and they want to take pride in the accomplishments
of that team. The essential
ingredient to well run projects is leadership.
Your supervisors can provide this good leadership by:
- Understanding and applying the principles of human
- By being competent problem solvers
- By making good and timely decisions
- By being open to communications with their subordinates
- And by being a technically competent supervisor.
Technical competence involves more than just
knowing the trade. Technical
competence involves planning, scheduling, cost control, productivity
enhancement, and efficient material handling. When all of these supervisory components are in place, your workers
will have a sense of job satisfaction that will keep them excited about
being on your team.
Communicate with your employees
All construction companies look the same to the worker in the
field. Communicating with
your workers will give them a sense of actually being a part of the
company rather than just another disposable cog in the wheel.
You should communicate a wide variety of information to your
them know how the job is going from a management point of view. Tell them about other current projects your company is working on
and how those jobs are doing. Brag
about new equipment you have purchased, spotlight employees, announce new
hires, and announce promotions.
Inform your employees about the new foreman you
have just promoted or about the journeyman who just completed the
apprenticeship program. If it
fits your company’s
culture, you can even announce new babies, marriages and birthdays.
All of this will allow your employees to feel
ownership and belonging in your company.
They will participate in your victories and share your pain when
things do not go right. They
will feel a part of the big picture - and they will want to continue working
constructive feedback to the workers
Our workers often learn of their mistakes too late or not at all.
We should be providing honest, straightforward feedback at all
times. Let them know what
they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. Provide the feedback in a positive, non-threatening manner and
provide suggestions or training that will help them improve.
Be sure to tell them the good things as well as the bad.
Well, there you have
It is really very simple. If
you want to keep your people, treat them well.
In construction, treating your workers well means that you:
- Provide career guidance
- Offer training to everyone
- Lead them well
- Keep the lines of communication open at all times, and
- Provide feedback on both good things and corrective items.