How Can the Construction Industry Overcome HR Challenges? A Guest Post

This is a guest post from Megan R. Nichols, STEM Writer. She offers advice to HR professionals in the construction industry.

The construction industry has made significant advancements within technology and management practices in the past decade. Machines are becoming easier to work with — even to the point of self-operation — and newer, safer building materials are rising in notoriety. It’s safe to say these advancements will continue well into the next decade, bringing an abundance of even more fantastic inventions.

However, the construction industry faces a complicated set of conditions within its human resources operations. HR managers often have to seek high and low for skilled applicants while keeping their current employees on the job. They also help devise rigorous safety standards for countless manual tasks to avoid injuries and higher premiums. All of these tasks present issues common to operating a construction business. How do you appeal to and protect workers while keeping expenses reasonable?

Fortunately, these problems have practical solutions. Here are some ways to boost worker morale and combat technical and monetary concerns.

Extensive Training

New-hire training is essential for developing well-rounded, skilled employees. They’ll need a wealth of information on equipment use, proper communication and reporting strategies and safety procedures. Consider what positions your company needs to fill and what current training methods you use for them. How have these techniques worked for past employees? Where can you make improvements in your current strategy?  Everyone learns differently — develop methods for various learning styles.

Education should continue throughout one’s career for even the most skilled workers. There’s always something new to learn, and each construction project comes with unique specs and requirements. If a new tool or technique is involved, everyone must know how it works. Many trade organizations offer classes for earning additional construction certifications, such as concrete management, welding, corrosion and more.

You may even consider instating a mentorship program. A mentor system would allow newer employees to learn from their more experienced colleagues — or the around way around, as with a reverse mentorship program. Mentorships can be a boon for new construction professionals who need guidance in navigating the industry.

New Hiring Practices

Offer competitive pay to applicants and emphasize the advantages of working for your company over others. When appealing to applicants, keep in mind what they expect from a business. Each generation of workers is different from the next in their work preferences. Though they share core values, they communicate and approach their positions differently.

Research has shown that baby boomers like a reserved, traditional work approach while Gen Zers and millennials are all about technological advancement. People of these younger generations will prefer to work on construction sites with newer technology and streamlined communication methods. They respond well to collaboration, but they also want to take charge of their role. What in-company changes will you need to make to not only appeal to candidates but to make job operations smoother?

Consider reaching out to potentials on social media and increasing your use of tech-based communication. Branding matters, too — relate to applicants through genuine efforts. Reach out to the local community and give back or add sustainable initiatives to the company goals list. Most people want to feel like they’re working for a human employer rather than a cold corporation.

Improved Workplace Safety

Workplace safety is essential in the construction industry. In 2017, 917 deaths occurred in construction, with most of them being due to falls and jobsite incidents. Employees want to know they can work in an environment that prioritizes their wellness and gives proper consideration to injuries. Companies that provide the best safety plans and workers’ compensation will attract more employees.

Construction managers should always train employees for standard safety protocols, like handling machinery and hazardous chemicals. Out of the construction industry’s most common injuries, being struck by or caught between objects are in the top four causes. Everyone on site should know how to operate the given equipment — as well as manage malfunctions should they happen. Create a retraining policy for those who haven’t used specific tools in a while, whether due to injury or absence.

Workers should also know how to perform first-aid. This training will prove useful if someone is injured and needs help before the medics arrive.

Reduced Workers Compensation Fees

If your employees are frequently injured, you’ll have to pay higher fees to provide workers compensation. These expenses can cause a strain on any business, but smaller ones usually take a bigger hit — and many construction companies fit this bill. The fees your workers’ comp insurance charges you depends on various factors, like your state laws and claims history. Reducing these expenses ties into providing high-quality safety measures — create a comprehensive plan for preserving employee health.

When your workers’ comp provider sees your company responsibly handles employee safety, they’ll charge you less to compensate workers. It’s like any standard insurance plan — you receive lower expenses for fewer damages. You can use the money your company saves to implement workplace improvements like upgraded safety gear and educational materials.

Job Loyalty and Employee Retainment

Job turnover is something many HR professionals stress over, but the solution is often straightforward. Many companies, whether corporate or construction, don’t keep their employees satisfied after hiring them. They offer promises and plenty of training at the beginning, but this tapers off once the worker settles into their position. The worker then becomes bored with their job and frustrated with their duties, feeling underappreciated and overworked.

Once you get an employee, keep them interested in their job and the company by offering benefits and additional education. Many people seek engagement and continual learning at their jobs — education stop once college or high school is over. Integrate an employee assistance program to assist workers with personal issues like injuries or mental wellness. Your workers will be more likely to stay an organization that values their wellbeing as well as their labor.

Transforming HR in the Construction Industry

Using these methods to reinvent your company can do significant good in improving current HR challenges. The employees are the business’s foundation — without them, it would be impossible to complete projects and serve clients. Prioritize their needs when revising workplace operations, and request feedback from them as necessary.

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Writing portfolio: https://schooledbyscience.com/about/

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