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4 Ways to Attract and Retain Talent in Construction

By John Wright on June 24, 2020

The construction industry is experiencing a war for talent, and the pressure is only increasing. Global construction demands are growing with an estimated $94 trillion in infrastructure investment is needed in the next 20 years alone putting significant pressure on construction firms to find talent to deliver against these projects. However, acquiring talent is not the only challenge the construction industry faces. Currently, there is an estimated 21.4% industry-wide turnover rate, making it one of the highest across all sectors, with the average cost of turnover comprising up to 20% of the individual’s base pay

When you combine the challenges of not being able to deliver on timelines and contracts due to a lack of talent, coupled with a high rate and cost for turnover, it only makes sense for construction firms to make the needed investment into the employee experience. Here are a few suggestions on where a strategic initiative in workforce development can pay significant dividends on the employee experience that attracts and retains talent in construction.


Great Leaders Make All the Difference

Many of us can think of a time where we felt undervalued at work by our boss. You think you’re doing an amazing job, putting in extra effort, delivering results, however, your manager doesn’t seem to recognize this. Situations like these can severely impact employee engagement, to the point where these employees start looking for opportunities elsewhere. The unfortunate part is this could have been avoided if the leader was better equipped to recognize and motivate their team.

When frontline supervisors, foreman, and managers have regular opportunities for leadership development, they learn important skills such as delegation, coaching, feedback, communication, which all make a huge impact on the way they lead and the level of engagement they get from their employees. By providing frontline leaders with opportunities for leadership development, you are safeguarding one of the most influential aspects of the employee experience and retention - their direct supervisor.

Learn how to create a great employee experience in construction to attract and  retain top talent in this guide.

Show Your Top Talent There is a Future for Them

High potential employees have the potential to shape and lead their construction organization’s into the future. In fact, a study by Gartner found that high potential employees exert 21 percent more effort than other employees and have a 75 percent greater chance of succeeding at

roles that are critical to business performance and the future leadership pipeline at construction firms.

Though retaining high potentials takes intentional effort that goes beyond promoting them or an increase in pay. The key steps you can take to retain high potentials include the following:

  1. Recognize High Potentials for What They Are - Telling individuals they are considered high potentials brings transparency to the organization’s commitment to developing talent, and can also help to retain them.
  2. Understand What Motivates Them - High potential employees are often looking for their next big achievement and want to exceed expectations. To retain them, you’ll need to provide the tools, resources, opportunities, and knowledge that will keep them challenged and enable their continued high performance. 
  3. Offer Development Opportunities - High potentials typically already have strong business acumen but need the opportunity to develop the interpersonal skills necessary to be successful in leadership. This is why a truly relevant, challenging, and applicable leadership development program is key to the success and engagement of your high potentials.


Promote an Inclusive Environment

Inclusion goes beyond diversity practices, such as hiring, to focus on the behavioral and cultural aspects of the workplace and their impact on the employee experience. As one article for Glassdoor put it, “Diversity is used to put people in seats; inclusion helps keep them there.” 

Diversity and inclusion are becoming increasingly important considerations, with 67% of job seekers reporting that a diverse workforce is important to them when evaluating a job offer.

Also, nearly 20% of 24 to 35 year olds said a reputation for ethical behavior, diversity, and inclusion, as well as workplace well-being, were important when choosing an employer. Therefore, if construction organizations wish to reduce turnover, retain top talent, and attract the very best talent going forward, an emphasis on diversity and inclusion must be factored into the equation and efforts made.


Ensure Employees Feel Safe at Work

When employees in construction can work without interruptions caused by injury while feeling that their company leaders and coworkers value their safety, morale, and productivity are more likely to improve.

In addition to the benefits current employees gain from an investment in safety and compliance, companies with a positive safety culture are more likely to have better success attracting job candidates without the baggage of a poor safety record. In a study on hiring candidates, they found that 84 percent of job seekers say the reputation of an employer is important in their decision of where to work.


Conclusion: Investing in Employee Experience In Construction Pays Off

The path to winning the war on talent is possible when backed by a corporate strategy that focuses on the employee experience. From ensuring employees have great leaders, to training opportunities, and to an inclusive and safe culture, it is possible to be the construction firm of choice that attracts and retains the very best talent.Discover How to Improve Patient Outcomes Through Employee Retention,  Development & Engagement. Read the guide>>

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Since 1991, John has acquired extensive experience in the design and delivery of a diverse portfolio of programs. In addition to his executive responsibilities as President of Leadership and Learning Events, John is considered a valued partner to many executive teams. His insight and experience enable him to effectively diagnose, design, and implement complex culture change initiatives in a collaborative and engaging manner. Moreover, John’s experience in global implementations allows him to draw from a deep well of history to create unique and customized solutions. John’s passion for developing people makes him a sought after speaker, partner and coach and is evident in the high praise he receives from clients.

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Founded in 1988, Eagle's Flight has earned its reputation as a global leader in the development and delivery of business-relevant, experiential learning programs that achieve specific training objectives and lasting behavior changes.

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