3 Workforce Planning Steps to Take Now
Early progress toward a post-pandemic economy is leading to a hiring surge across the country. Between rebounding residential construction and the massive federal infrastructure investment, builders need to be ready for a demanding year in 2022. What can you do to gear up? We’ve outlined three steps you should be taking right now to prepare your tradespeople — and sustain them throughout the months ahead.
Step 1: Engage your current construction workers
- Evaluate commitment and satisfaction.
Before the season gets into full swing, take the opportunity to check in with your tradesmen and women. Work Institute’s 2020 Retention Report showed that three out of four employee turnovers were preventable, so the time and effort you invest can pay huge dividends in retention. Gather feedback with one-on-one or small group meetings, and be sure to ask your team about important topics like training, resources and jobsite safety.
- Ensure competitive compensation.
In December 2021, Wall Street Journal author David Harrison reported that companies were looking at the steepest wage increases since 2008. If it’s been a while since you compared your compensation to industry averages, now is a good time to ensure your rates are competitive. Losing employees due to below-market pay or compensation is a real threat to businesses today — especially in the construction industry.
- Invest in employee upskilling.
Upskilling is a proven way to increase employee engagement and commitment. Start with an inventory of your construction workers’ current skills and certifications. If you have rock solid employees who are willing to learn, provide them with a clear path to training and advancement. For larger companies, this can take the form of reimbursement for relevant courses and certifications. Smaller companies may choose to build skills through less formal mentoring and on-the-job training. Regardless of the structure, upskilling can increase employee morale and commitment to the company throughout the season and beyond.
Step 2: Identify talent gaps, along with contingency measures
- Kickstart recruitment and onboarding early.
Based on your current employees, committed projects and anticipated timelines, identify gaps in your workforce or skillsets. Of course, experienced tradesmen and women or those with specialized skills will be hired quickly, so don’t delay your recruitment efforts. If you missed the pre-season hiring window, a skilled trades staffing expert like PeopleReady Skilled Trades can supplement your workforce when you need it most.
- Prepare for likely turnover.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry-wide turnover rate was 21.4% before the pandemic and Great Resignation upended the workforce. Having a contingency plan ready — like offering part-time work to semi-retired construction workers or partnering with a reputable skilled trades staffing provider — can help you avoid costly project delays.
- Be ready to scale up when needed.
With market fluctuations and supply chain issues, the year ahead is tough to predict. Consider building your labor plan around a core group of tradesmen and women, with the option to scale up with temporary workers when needed. A supplemental workforce can alleviate stress for your employees and help your company complete more projects on time and on budget.
Step 3: Support your workforce throughout the season
- Recognize stellar workers.
Do you have outstanding tradespeople you know you can count on every single time? Make sure they know they are appreciated! From a simple recognition or “thank you” to company-wide acknowledgement, a little recognition can have a big impact on engagement and retention. Formal programs, such as Respect the Craft by PeopleReady Skilled Trades, are a great way to recognize workers for their contributions.
- Create a healthy work environment.
Encouraging work-life balance and mental health can benefit your workforce as well as your bottom line. During a labor shortage, it may be tempting to push construction workers for as much production as possible, but stress and burnout can lead to increased turnover and safety issues on site. Managing workloads and allowing flexibility where your workers need it can help.
Proactive workforce planning can go a long way toward ensuring a more productive construction season. If you need skilled laborers and tradespeople to supplement your workforce, contact PeopleReady Skilled Trades. Our skilled trades staffing solutions will help you scale to meet project demands this construction season!
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