Some simple changes could make the biggest difference to your workforce through mutual respect, understanding and equal development
Traditionally, the construction industry has focused on ensuring physical safety and compliance with regulations, often neglecting the emotional wellbeing and engagement of its workforce.
High turnover rates, absenteeism, mental health issues and low job satisfaction have been common challenges faced by construction companies.
Given the growing skills gap the industry faces, as well as an increasingly ageing workforce, it’s clear that construction companies face a turbulent future if something doesn’t change.
Many feel the answer to strengthening construction’s workforce is through more apprenticeships, education and training. But they are only part of the solution and take up valuable time – that many companies do not have.
A more effective, immediate first move might be for construction management teams to take steps to boost their ‘employee engagement’.
Employee engagement is a human resources concept that refers to the level of enthusiasm, dedication and commitment that employees have towards their work and employer.
In the construction industry, employee engagement is crucial because it directly affects productivity, safety and overall business performance.
An engaged worker has a sense of purpose that motivates them to perform and go above and beyond their minimum job requirements.
It also encourages loyalty, helping companies retain their workers while attracting new potential hires who recognise the business as a great place to work.
To boost productivity at your construction company, it’s all about building solid relationships with your workers. Take the time to get to know everyone on your team, connect with them, learn their goals, and show that you care.
Regular coffee breaks, work events and one-on-one meetings can build strong, loyal relationships and bring a variety of benefits to the business and its workers.
To boost productivity at your construction company, it’s all about building solid relationships with your workers. Take the time to get to know everyone on your team, connect with them, learn their goals, show that you care
These small gestures of care can help establish a positive, motivated and collaborative work environment, leading to increased job satisfaction and employee engagement.
When you communicate well and keep your crew happy and engaged, the results will speak for themselves.
Get on the same page
When it comes to construction, there is more emphasis on getting the job done and winning contracts than talking about the bigger picture. But that’s not always the best approach.
Many business owners can get bogged down trying to develop and grow the business, doing everything themselves, instead of delegating and trusting their team.
Construction businesses need to be clear about their goals and make sure each member of the team knows their role and how they impact the business.
Regular team meetings are a great way to keep everyone informed and singing from the same hymn sheet. They give everyone a chance to discuss what’s working well and what’s not, and what each person can do to help the business grow.
Upskill your workforce
Often, training opportunities are the first on the chopping board in terms of budget cuts. However, to grow and turn a profit, it is not only in the best interest of the business to attract talent; it is also essential to retain, nurture and grow talent.
Nurturing talent in construction will help to close the existing skills gap and ensure a sustainable future for the industry.
Offering opportunities for upskilling and investing in your team, will not only attract skilled individuals but also motivate existing employees to stay, develop as professionals and grow within the industry.
If you want your workers to be engaged and loyal to the company, then investing in their skills and career progression is a no-brainer.
Create a positive workplace culture
It’s important to make sure workers feel appreciated and engaged at work. Regularly showing gratitude can go a long way towards creating a positive workplace.
It doesn’t have to be a big deal – small gestures such as a cold pint at the end of a hard day’s graft or even just a simple "good job" or "thanks for all your hard work" can make a huge difference.
When people feel valued, they’re more likely to work well together, be open to different perspectives and feel comfortable and safe at work.
This creates a culture of appreciation and value, instilling confidence, loyalty and respect between the boss and workers.
Michael Doolin is managing director of Clover HR