Ways to Ramp Up Your Workforce During Peak Times
As the busy construction season gets underway in many states, a number of exciting developments may have an impact on your workforce planning. The recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act includes tax breaks and incentives which can help increase the number of residential and commercial construction projects. Additionally, funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) has started to spur construction activity across the country.
The ongoing labor shortage means construction staffing is still an issue for many construction firms — even without this influx of funding and incentives. So, what can you do to ensure you have the workers you need for your upcoming projects? We’ve outlined three steps you should be taking right now to prepare your current workforce and attract new construction workers and tradespeople.
Step 1: Engage your current construction workers
- Evaluate commitment and satisfaction.
Before your busy season gets into full swing, take the opportunity to check in with your tradespeople. Work Institute’s 2022 Retention Report showed that many causes for turnover are preventable, so the time and effort you invest can pay huge dividends in retention. Be sure to gather feedback with one-on-one or small group meetings and ask your team about important topics like career development opportunities, flexible scheduling and work-life balance.
- Ensure competitive compensation.
While the construction industry posted higher than average wage increases in 2022, Construction Dive recently reported that 80% of contractors are having a hard time filling their open positions. That’s why, now more than ever, it’s important for you to take time to compare your pay and overall compensation package with other local companies. Looking for additional ways to stand out from the competition? You might consider things like health and wellness options, signing bonuses and flexible schedules.
- Invest in employee upskilling.
Upskilling and reskilling initiatives are another proven way to increase employee engagement and retention. If you have rock-solid employees who are willing to learn, provide them with a clear path to training and advancement. For larger companies, development 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 programs are good for employee morale and company loyalty.
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 skill sets. Of course, experienced tradespeople or those with specialized skills will be hired quickly, so don’t delay your construction staffing efforts. If you need further assistance, a construction staffing agency can provide comprehensive support. PeopleReady Skilled Trades will supplement your workforce with highly skilled workers while PeopleReady offers entry level and general laborers.
- Prepare for likely turnover.
The BLS reports that the industry quit rate was 2.5% in 2022, far above the decade-long standard of 1.8%. Having a contingency plan ready — like offering part-time work to semi-retired construction workers — can help you avoid costly project delays. You can also partner with a construction staffing agency to supplement your current workforce with temporary staff.
- Be ready to scale up when needed.
With market fluctuations and supply chain issues, your construction staffing strategy needs to be flexible. Consider building your labor plan around a core group of tradespeople, with the option to scale with temporary workers when needed. This supplemental workforce can alleviate stress for your employees and help your company complete more projects on time and on budget. A construction staffing agency like PeopleReady Skilled Trades can help you build a staffing model similar to this, sometimes referred to as a core employee staffing approach.
Step 3: Support your workforce throughout the season
- Recognize stellar workers.
Do you have outstanding tradespeople that you can count on every single time? Make sure they know they are appreciated. From a simple recognition or “thank you” to companywide acknowledgement, a little recognition can have a big impact on your hiring strategy. 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 supporting mental health can benefit your workforce as well as your bottom line. During a labor shortage, it may be tempting to rely heavily on your current workforce to meet new challenges, 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. Meanwhile, your commitment to a healthy work environment can also increase your pool of candidates. Gen Zers prefer jobs that offer work-life balance and have made it a top priority in their job search.
- Promote your safety measures.
Safety should always be top of mind for your construction company. Investing in PPE and advanced safety training shows your workers that you’re committed to their safety. You can also use job postings and social media to highlight your safety procedures. This could prove to be a differentiator that attracts more job seekers to your open roles.
Workplace Planning with Support from a Construction Staffing Firm
Proactive workforce planning can go a long way toward ensuring a more productive busy season. Our construction staffing services will help you scale to meet project demands at any time. If you need general laborers, skilled laborers or tradespeople for any of your current or upcoming projects, our team is here to help.
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