Over the past two years, the number of jobs in the construction industry has increased by at least 20,000 a month, which means that just last year alone, about 300,000 new positions were created. In spite of these promising statistics, contractors often complain about the shortage of skilled workers and the effects this has on their businesses.
Here’s the problem: the construction industry is growing at a fast pace. The abundant job prospects, high income, and opportunities for advancement attract more and more people. In a rush to expand their small business, builders too often race through the hiring process, frequently ending up with employees who can’t fulfill their responsibilities as they should.
So, how can you attract good workers and keep them in such a competitive market? The eight ideas below will help you avoid some of the most frequent mistakes construction companies make when hiring.
1. Hone Your Interviewing Skills to Avoid Poor Human Resource Choices
The purpose of a job interview is to obtain as much information about a prospect as you can without leading their responses in any way. Some interviewees can be extremely skilled in picking up signals and then showing themselves in a positive light. Pay attention to both body language and paralinguistic features when asking questions about skills, experience, and past performances.
Learn a few interviewing tricks from HR specialists, or hire a professional to conduct interviews if you’re not sure you can do it yourself. In that way, you can avoid hiring someone who is not the right fit for your company.
2. Improve Your Corporate Culture to Avoid Losing Valuable Employees
Now, this is not a matter that more money, i.e., better wages can solve. You may pay your employees the stars and the moon, but if they don’t enjoy coming to work, sooner or later, they’ll leave.
Keep in mind that your competition is always on the lookout for the best ways to lure good workers with various incentives. Why not employ the same tactics to make your most skilled workers more loyal?
Ask yourself this question. If you were a hard-working, motivated and career oriented employee (rather than the owner) what would you want from the company you would be working for? What would that company offer? Also, and most important, what would you have to see from the owner (as far as strategy and where the company is going) to see the company as “going somewhere” and worthy of a career rather than just a job?
3. Hire Throughout the Year to Avoid Hasty Decisions
The worst period of time to hire workers is when you need them most – in the busy season. Every other construction company in your area will be fighting from the same pool of skilled workers, and you will be left with whoever wasn’t already picked. It’s true that this solution may help you through an emergency, but you can’t build a good business by running from one crisis to another.
Even if your business is mostly seasonal, the best time to hire is when the market is stalling. You can then be more selective and be sure you make the right choice for your company.
4. Don’t Always Fish in the Same Pond
Improve your outreach by attending job fairs, talking to your friends and neighbors, as well as visiting tech schools and community colleges. Don’t forget to also check newspapers and online ads, since this can help you find skilled workers from different age categories.
Another excellent idea is to find workers from other industries, such as oil and gas, where there have been layoffs in recent years. You can also use the Helmets to Hardhats program and look for military veterans who are skilled in this line of business.
5. Offer Enough Hours to Workers to Make It Worth Their While
The best people don’t like idle times. If you want to keep them on, then you should keep them busy. If there isn’t enough work for their specializations, offer them training programs and help them acquire new skills and become “cross-trained”. Alternatively, you can add more services to your portfolio or subcontract list.
6. Always Ask for References
Before deciding if a potential hire is the right fit for your small business, make sure to ask for recommendations. Review the references carefully and call past employers to verify the prospect’s credential. Although this may seem like a waste of time, it can serve as a breaking point in your decision making.
7. Expand Your Hire Pool by Using New Tech
Think about the digital generation and then about your business. Would a millennial like to work for you? Specialists say that younger professionals don’t even consider construction as their career path because it’s not technological enough. You can change that.
8. Train Your Employees to Avoid Routine and Frustration
People like to be good at what they do, but that’s often hard to achieve, especially if for a young employee just getting started in the construction industry. Make sure that newbies understand what their jobs are and what skills are required, then provide them with opportunities to improve and advance.
Developing your small business is crucial, so take the time to choose the best employees and retain them. Avoid these eight mistakes construction companies often make when hiring workers and you will soon reap the benefits.