The COVID-19 pandemic has created a labor shortage in the United States, putting pressure on nearly every industry across the country, especially construction. CNN reports that America desperately needs 1 million more construction workers, but employers continue to have a hard time finding people to hire.
This is an interesting problem, considering that in the second quarter of 2021, 11.5 million workers quit their jobs, feeding what’s being called The Great Resignation — a mass exodus from the workforce.
As a construction business owner, what are some of the ways to attract and retain employees amid the labor shortage and Great Resignation? Here are some tips from my experience running a public relations agency representing several construction companies for more than
Create a Positive Workplace Culture
People want to work for companies that have a good reputation. Creating and maintaining a great company culture is the key to attracting talent. Make your company a place that values each individual and fosters teamwork between employees. When people feel empowered and connected, they’re likely to show perform better and be more committed to their job.
Set clear expectations for each position in your company so that employees can receive constructive feedback on their work. When they do well, promote them. Give them opportunities to grow and try new things. Consider setting up a mentorship program within the company so that employees can develop a strong relationship with a coworker that they can grow to trust.
Also, involve employees in business decisions. Although it may sound unattractive at first, hearing their ideas and feedback may spark a conversation that wouldn’t have happened without it. Your employees are the ones who keep the business wheels turning, and the fact that you want to hear their opinions will make them feel valued.
Live Out Core Values
A key part of creating a positive workplace culture is your core values — the fundamental beliefs and guiding principles of your company. What matters most to your business? What distinguishes you from your competitors? Be sure they are well-defined yet short enough to remember.
Core values are the backbone of a successful business, and they can help you hire the right people, too. Lead by example and embed these values into your company. Encourage employees to incorporate these values into their everyday work routine.
Stay True to Promises
As an employer, you need to live out your promises. If you promote a healthy work/life balance, consider being more generous or flexible with paid time off (PTO). Allow your working parents to work from home. Pay them a higher wage to show how much you appreciate their contributions.
The workforce is changing, and people are going to be more attracted to an open position that gives them what they want and need. Although these promises may not come cheap, you’ll have employees who feel like they are cared about — and that’s worth it.
Make Employees Feel Special
Treat your employees well by recognizing and rewarding them for their work. Schedule regular check-ins or reviews to discuss what is are going well for them, in addition to what is not going well. Positive reinforcement is the key.
Consider setting up an employee of the month program to show them how appreciated they are. Or go the extra mile and buy ads in a local publication to show the community what makes your employees so great. If people feel like they are valued, they’re more likely to share their experience, which can generate interest in your company from their acquaintances.
Promote Your Company
Good publicity doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. There are plenty of strategies you can use to promote your company — and its employees — at the click of a button.
Share strategic content about company accomplishments, employees or projects to social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. These networks make it easy for users to stumble upon your content if you are using them correctly. This gives your employees the opportunity to share your posts with their networks, spreading the word about your company and how much they like working for it.
Let local media know if you have a big announcement such as a new hire or project update. If they decide to cover it, this can help spread the word about how much you value your employees or what cool things you’re working on. Build relationships with media so that when you have something newsworthy, they’ll be interested in it and willing to share.
The labor shortage facing today’s American businesses may be one of the toughest times the workforce has ever experienced, but it doesn’t mean your business has to suffer. You can pivot and plan ahead by developing a welcoming company culture in which all employees can thrive. Attracting and retaining talent all depends on how you run your business — if your employees are happy, you likely will be, too.