How can construction business owners combat the labor shortage?

Michelle StedmanMichelle Stedman

Michelle Stedman

Vice President of Operations

A company’s main asset is its employees. Without an engaged workforce, businesses cannot remain successful. It’s difficult when leaders are wearing many hats, but human resources should be one of the top priorities, with a focus on attracting and retaining top talent. We coach our clients about the importance of having an online recruiting presence, even when you aren’t in the process of hiring.

Also, keep in mind, many job seekers are using their phones to find jobs through social media or Web career pages. So, on top of having a Web presence, your website’s career page must be mobile-friendly for potential employees to research and apply to your company, even when they are on the go.

Another strategy to combat the labor shortage is to retain your current workforce. Developing your current employees’ skillsets to prepare them for future positons within your company is one way to do this. Provide relevant training that paves a career path within your company. When you invest in your employees, they will invest their skills and loyalty in your company. Knowing this, retention will become a compliment to your recruiting strategy.

Michael SmithMichael Smith

Michael Smith

Executive Director
Colorado Construction Institute

The industry can support pre-apprentice training both in high schools and for underemployed and unemployed adults. The Colorado Construction Institute (CCI), is a nonprofit workforce development organization in Colorado that has partnered with our local Home Builders Association (HBA) to do both of these.

CCI offers programs that teach the soft and hard skills necessary to bridge the middle-skills gap. CCI also offers a 
federally-funded YouthBuild program focused on serving high school dropouts and several industry-supported construction training classes for unemployed and underemployed adults that lead to careers 
in residential construction.

To learn more about what CCI has accomplished, visit and CCI also partners with the Home Builders Institute (part of NAHB) to support its pre-apprentice training curriculum with a Construction Training Toolkit, available at For more information about how CCI accomplished this in Colorado, contact me by email at

Sabine HooverSabine Hoover

Sabine Hoover

Content Manager

Findings from FMI’s recent Talent Development Survey and Millennials in Construction research indicate that construction firms might be missing the mark when it comes to engaging and developing employees in the workforce. The problem is that many companies go through the motions and only offer training as a means to keep people up to speed on skills. Such training is commonly offered within a vacuum, and isn’t tied to a comprehensive career plan or long-term performance goals. To overcome these obstacles, companies need to start developing formal learning and career plans. Here is how you can get started:

  • Define critical skills and behaviors.
  • Develop ways to assess and measure current competencies and skill levels within the workforce.
  • Define processes to support and build new skills for younger or less-
experienced employees.
  • Develop well-thought-out career plans that allow employees to understand the knowledge and skills they will need to progress through the organization. Without clear career plans, millennials in particular may feel like they are stuck. This could lead them to look for their next opportunity outside of your company.
To submit a question, email Managing Editor Elizabeth Manning at