Recruiting and retaining staff in the construction industry – Part 1: Being good to your employees and using referrals
Companies in the construction industry are struggling to hire and retain employees. According to the 2016 Construction Industry Survey 94% of BC construction employers say they were planning to hire in 2016.
It is projected that by 2025, BC will have 15,000 unfilled construction jobs mostly because right now, two-thirds of industry workers are over the age of 45 and not enough young people are trained to fill those jobs.
Staffing issues are constant issues.
In this 3 part series, we’ll be walking you through strategies you can use to not only find talented employees but also keep them.
It is all based around the idea of “being the company people want to work for”.
Some of the topics covered in this series you won’t like reading about. But if you truly want to solve your staffing problems, and keep growing your company, while maybe being able to sleep at night, it might be time to explore the possibility that it’s not them (your employee’s who show no loyalty), it’s you (the employer who gives them no reason to be loyal).
Part 1 of the 3 part series is on being good to your employees. This will encourage loyalty and allow you to ask for referrals.
Part 1: Being good to your employees and using referrals
Be Good To Your Employees
This is the most important part of the entire series. Ready? It’s the people that matter. Let me say that again: “It’s the people that matter.”
Your company wouldn’t exist without your employees, your customers, your suppliers, your people. If you want to continue to grow a successful business, be good to your employees and it will reduce your employee turnover.
If you are good to your employees, they will tell their friends. Just like good contracts come through referrals, so can good employees. After work, your employees go out for beers with their friends. They are going to talk about work. Usually, these guys complain about their day and the shitty company they work for because they’re treated poorly. What if, instead, they were bragging because they worked for you, the best construction company in town. After a few days, weeks, months, the guys at the other companies will be banging down your door for a job.
Ok, so hopefully we’ve convinced you how important this is, here are some things you can start doing today.
Pay them well
The average yearly wage of BC construction employees in 2016 was $57,700. That is roughly $28.85/hr. How much are you paying your employees? Can you prove that it is fair and competitive? When finding good help is hard, that competitive wage may be above the industry standard. You don’t want it to be only about wage, but offering competitive wages out of the blocks can save you lost money on subpar tradesmen that do subpar work.
Building out a compensation plan goes hand in hand with performance management. Dyggz can help with both of these, we do more than websites.
Reward them (performance management)
Having a performance management plan in place may sound like something only major corporations do. It’s not. It’s something successful companies do to continue to grow. It doesn’t need to be formal 6-month check-ins with a manager but having targets to hit and rewarding employees when they hit them is a strong motivator. Because, of course, you must be a current employee in order to receive the reward.
As previously mentioned, Dyggz can help you to build out a performance management plan. We do more than websites.
The 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study showed that 93% of people surveyed want to work for a company that cares about them as an individual. Take the time to learn about what your employees are working toward in their own lives. If your employees want to become foremen or own their own business one day, you should help them get there. Providing on the job training and mentorship means you are building better employees and building a relationship with them. All of these ideas will improve loyalty and help to train the next generation in the industry.
Be honest and transparent with them
If the company isn’t doing as well as expected, tell your employees. If the company is booming and they can all expect bonuses, tell your employees. If you are in need of more staff, tell your employees, they may be able to help. When you are transparent with your employees they will cut you slack and feel more ownership in the company. When people know the reason behind a decision they are more likely to accept it. You know they are going to jump to conclusions and assume the worst anyways. So next time you have a bad quarter and you won’t be handing out wage increases, tell your employees that you had a bad quarter and that’s the reason there will be no wage increases.
One way to increase honesty and transparency is with an open book accounting policy. That means, eventually, you are comfortable speaking with any employee about any number in the business outside of payroll. It may take a while to get used to but it is a great way to increase transparency. Dyggz can help you get there, we do more than websites.
We’ve been hinting at this one all along: once you’ve built loyal employees who brag about your company after hours, it’s time to ask for referrals. When you need more staff, ask your existing employees if they have any friends in the construction industry that would be interested in working for you.
Rewarding referrals will encourage them. We recommend paying your employee 3% of their yearly salary for every new referral they bring in that turns into an employee who stays for 1 one year.
For example, Dave is an employee of yours who is paid $57,700/year and refers his friend Raj to apply for a position. Raj gets the job! After one year, Dave and Raj are still with the company and Dave is paid his $1731 finder’s fee.
A referral program like this takes a bit of upfront time to set-up well. But it will be worth it, and we can help this, we do more than websites.
– Recruiting and retaining staff is an industry-wide problem
– It’s the people that matter
– Treat your people well by paying fair wages, rewarding and training them
– Build an honest and transparent company
– Ask for staff referrals and offer a finder’s fee for new employees
You’re not alone. Dyggz can help you put these strategies in place. Phone Chris at 250-895-1049 to discuss what will work best for your company. We can help you start implementing a strategy today so that you can sleep better at night.