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Labor Shortage? How to Attract and Retain Your Workforce

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It is a question asked by safety leaders from all industries. Currently the construction industry is enduring an ongoing shortage of skilled workers. This is impacting the entire industrial industry and affecting employee wellness. Project costs are being maximized while timelines are getting pushed behind. Even worse, the quality of work is being minimized and the safety of workers is being jeopardized.

The key concern the construction industry is facing is how do we attract and retain a labor force that prioritizes safety and quality work above all else? Here’s the truth — there is no one-size-fits-all solution for creating a strong team of skilled employees. There are, however, proven methods construction hiring managers can follow to enhance the quality and safety of their workforces.

Understanding the Recruitment Process

When construction hires are interviewed for jobs, they have two main concerns — the pay and the corporate culture. Without the right pay, they will take their skills somewhere else. Even those who don’t prioritize safety above all else can make a decent living doing construction work. The industry is extremely lucrative for almost any type of worker. Corporate culture impacts how well the workers will fit in with the rest of the crew as well as how trustworthy the company is for paying its workers on time. A strong culture translates into a more productive workforce.

High pay was not always a luxury for the construction workforce. In 2008, during the industry collapse, construction wages plummeted. Skilled workers made one of two choices — they either retired early or chose to leave the industry; this resulted in a major shortage of skilled workers. Now, however, the collapse has recovered nicely, and wages are hitting historical levels. If you’re going to attract and retain skilled workers, you must be willing to pay them well. More so, you must be willing to sustain a corporate culture that makes workers feel appreciated and safe. Your leadership must be strong and personal growth opportunities for your employees must be present.

Drug Testing Regularly Should Be Top Priority

Even with competitive pay and a strong corporate culture, you may find it difficult to recruit skilled workers who prioritize safety. The drug epidemic among constructions workers has always been a problem. According to recent studies, a mind-boggling 15.1% of the construction workforce abuses drugs. This means for every 30 applicants that you interview, there’s a good chance at least four of them will have a substance abuse problem. Drug and alcohol abuse among the construction workforce is extremely dangerous and regular drug testing should be a top priority for your company, even if leaves you struggling to find new workers on an ongoing basis.

Make an Offer Too Good to Be Refused

To attract skilled workers who prioritize safety, you must set your company apart from the competition. In addition to competitive pay and a strong corporate culture, consider offering the following:

• New hire and ongoing safety training
• Health benefits
• Vacation days
• Sick days
• Promotions

Workforce and safety training is of the utmost importance. Don’t view it as an expense. Instead, view it as an asset. For every $1 you invest in workforce training, you will likely garner a $3 ROI. Training is not a done-and-over-with process. For each new project you take on, some type of training should be offered, especially if it is a project your workers are not familiar with.

Strategizing your hiring process is crucial to recruiting and retaining a strong workforce. With the right strategy in place, you can increase productivity, optimize safety, and bring young workers aboard who become valuable assets to your team. IMPROVLearning can help you today!