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6 Key Construction HR Management Issues — And How Technology Can Help
Taking a closer look at the challenges of Human Resource management in the construction industry
Construction companies deal with thousands of moving pieces daily. None, though, are more critical than people. Whether working with a handful of employees or managing hundreds of workers moving from one job to the next, a human resources manager must ensure everyone is informed, trained, paid and have their specific needs served at all times. Thankfully modern technology like cloud-based software solutions and mobile applications make these challenges of human resource management in construction easier to handle, and keep work—and workers —moving fluidly.
As we explore six key HR issues in construction, we’ll show you how having a modern construction software platform that includes an integrated HR solution like Viewpoint HR Management can help turn those issues into efficiencies. By streamlining real-time data and automating critical HR workflows, technology is removing the headaches and burdens from strained construction HR teams. And, it is boosting communication and collaboration across the organization, leading to happier, higher-performing employees, more productive projects, and higher-performing companies.
Issue #1 - Recruiting: Expand Your Appeal
The construction industry has enjoyed annual growth for nearly a decade, which may lead to new avenues for work and projects aplenty, but it has also created a significant challenge in sustaining a skilled workforce. The construction industry still has not recovered from the loss of talented workers during recession of the mid-2000s, as many moved on to other industries and construction’s appeal among younger workers has waned. Still, contractors who appeal to women and younger workers are finding success in building a more diverse and highly-talented employee base. Attracting these workers, though, begs the use of the latest technology. Younger, tech-savvy professionals want assurances they can stay on the cutting edge of technology while growing in a career.
Leading contractors are pitching tech-savvy professionals by touting the use of drones, wearables, artificial intelligence, BIM and tech-connected jobsites. These technology-driven enticements also makes it easier to attract talent from other sectors. Once they get professionals’ attention, solutions like Viewpoint HR Management are making the hiring and onboarding processes even easier by streamlining processes and providing online portals to apply, check job status, complete documentation and more.
Issue # 2 - Managing PTO: Make It Easy — and Beneficial — For All
Employees rank personal time off as the number-two benefit when it comes to employee satisfaction, just after healthcare, but how employees handle time off and how a company manages requests vary widely. Make it easy for you and simple for them. Create a PTO plan that works for both parties by merging sick leave and vacation into one PTO umbrella and then use an online system so that employees can request PTO via a smartphone or tablet. This is a significant benefit for construction employees that spend most or all of their time in the field on jobsites. And allowing them to self-serve needs like time off requests, acquiring documentation and more through mobile devices means they’re not waiting on others within the company to fulfill needs.
Streamlining processes like time off requests also ensures supervisors receive all PTO requests digitally and can then approve them directly within the software program, forwarding the request to HR for timely processing. According to Glassdoor.com, 84 percent of managers report that employees return to work with improved focus and creativity following PTO. So, why not create an environment that rewards work-life balance and then make gaining that balance stress-free.
Issue # 3 - Drug Testing: Simplify, Streamline the Process
Because of the number of public safety and worker safety touchpoints, the construction industry is closely watched and regulated. Contractual stipulations, federal laws and more often dictate that routine drug testing take place in construction. Stats show that drug use in construction is heightened compared to other sectors, with more than 20 percent of construction workers between 18 and 49 reported to have used an illegal substance within the past year, and 12 percent reporting use within the past 30 days.
Of course, drug testing is a sensitive topic, and few enjoy the processes behind it. So, make it less cumbersome by streamlining those processes. Software like Viewpoint HR Management can stores and track testing results — and plenty of other employee documentation. It can help alert managers when drug testing is due, provide simple workflows for workers and new hires to follow and ensure all parties have access to the same results at all times.
Issue # 4 - Training: Better Manager Certifications and Professional Growth
To help employees grow in their construction roles — and careers — continual training and skills education is needed. Providing this on a regular basis and making it easy for employees to facilitate their own growth is vital to success. Using modern construction HR software to not only store documentation like certifications, but also track upcoming training and certification needs takes the guesswork out of deadlines. Viewpoint’s HR Management solution manages all employees’ documentation and certification in one location, accessible by anyone who needs the visibility.
Turn what could prove a jumbled mess of paperwork into an easily navigable digital library, complete with notifications to alert you of that impending certification renewal. And when new training courses, educational materials or other documentation employees need to accelerate their learning curve becomes available, employees can self-serve through their own personal portals, allowing them to manage and track their own progress.
Issue # 5 - Disability Management: Give Employees the Support they Need to Remain Productive
A recent study conducted by The Standard found a unique correlation between an organizations' approach to disability management and employee productivity. It makes sense that when employees feel their organization is supporting them in the right ways, they feel motivated and are able to remain productive. The study listed several ways an HR department can prepare to support employees with disabilities. Naturally, there is no one size fits all, and employers need to be prepared to support a range of health conditions within their organization.
One key insight from the study is that employees need to know where to go to get help and support for their health condition. This is where the right technology comes into play. Having a tool in place that allows employees to access the right resources and submit requests will empower employees with the information they need to know where to go to get help when they need it.
Issue # 6 - Employee Retention: Happier Employees Keeps Turnover Down
Make your construction environment a career opportunity for employees, not just a job. The turnover rate in the construction industry remains high and makes hiring and training new workers a costly venture for contractors. While you can never eliminate all turnover, take steps to lessen the challenge. By placing a focus on construction as a career, employees take a new focus with them each day. Create pathways for workers to acquire new skills, develop new leaders and managers and build deep levels of industry experience. And make these clear paths.
Utilizing technology to simplify everything from onboarding to training and educational opportunities to everyday employee needs like adjusting schedules and workloads removes layers of stress than manual processes like pen, paper, email and the reliance on busy supervisors can cause. Also, support innovation by allowing those interested in new facets of the industry, such as drones, AI and connected jobsites, to explore and advance those aspects of the company, both creating new efficiencies for the organization and building new skills and buy-in for the employee.
Want more? Read about how Viewpoint clients are swooning over Viewpoint HR Management or contact us today for your own demonstration.