Construction Best Practices

How to Hire Good People During the Labor Shortage


We’ve been discussing the construction labor shortage here at Surveyor for a while now. Many contractors are struggling to find skilled workers, which is especially challenging during a time when there’s no shortage of work to do. Construction also faces high turnover rates, so even when contractors do find good workers, retaining them isn’t always easy.

So how do you make your company stand out to attract good workers? We’ve compiled a list of tips for hiring and keeping the best construction employees.

Know What You’re Hiring For

This may seem obvious, but having updated job descriptions that actually reflect your current needs are incredibly important. Generic or outdated job descriptions won’t help you find a good match for your current needs. They can confuse potential applicants, and if you do hire someone, a lack of understanding about what that person’s job would actually entail can lead to complications. People want to know what they’re getting into, and they usually want work that matches their career goals.

To prevent this problem, make sure you always have current job descriptions on file for all the positions at your company and set a schedule for updating them regularly — perhaps annually or semiannually. Include the skills, competencies and education the positions require. This way when you do have an opening, you’ll already have the foundation for a good job posting ready, and you can adjust to fit any details of your specific employee search.

Always Be Recruiting

Many contractors make the mistake of only thinking about hiring when they suddenly need people or right before they expect to enter a busy season. But only hiring when you desperately need people won’t yield the best employees.

It’s wise to be on the lookout for potential new employees all the time. This doesn’t mean you need to post jobs constantly, but it does mean you should make connections with organizations in your area that can help you find good employees. Try partnering with local trade schools or community colleges. You can even set up an internship program. Having these partners to reach out to will give you a solid place to start when you do need to hire.

It’s also worth maintaining a presence online and in your community where potential applicants can find you. Consider using social media, having a solid career section on your website and participating in local events.

Take the Interview Process Seriously

Once you’re actively hiring, don’t rush through the interview process. Ensure the person conducting interviews knows what questions to ask applicants and accurately portrays the company and the position you’re hiring for. You’re trying to find out if applicants are a good fit for your company, but they’re also trying to see if you’re a good fit for them. To find a good employee and retain them, it’s important both parties are happy.

It’s also important to do your research. Really look at resumes, listen to people’s responses during interviews and follow up with references. Contacting references shouldn’t just be a formality. You might actually learn something useful about the people you’re considering hiring.

Embrace Technology

Many industries have gone digital, incorporating technology into their day-to-day work. Construction, unfortunately, has lagged in this area. And while many leading contractors are modernizing their operations, far too many still rely on manual processes or outdated technologies. Young workers have come to expect a modern workplace that uses the latest technology. Will job applicants see your company as modern, or will they be turned off by old-school methods like pen and paper? That’s a question worth taking seriously.

Technology investment can pay off not only in efficiency improvements, but also for employee retention. For construction, technology investment often means mobile technology in the field, but also software systems that improve collaboration and efficiency. Contractors are also leaning on modern technology to streamline HR processes, including employee recruitment, onboarding, training, evaluation and succession planning.

Make Your Company a Place People Want to Work

To attract skilled workers and good employees who will stick around for the long haul, you need to make your construction company a place where people actually want to work. This means offering competitive pay and benefits, supporting employees when they need flexibility and offering training and career growth opportunities.

You want your company to be a place employees would recommend to others. In an industry where the labor market is tight, employees who are unhappy with some part of their jobs can easily find work with one of your competitors. Finding and training new workers is an expensive endeavor, so keeping your good people around is critical for the success of your business .To learn more about how collaborative software tools can improve how your business functions and make daily work easier for employees, watch our recent webinar, “Team - Viewpoint’s Collaborative Project Management Application.”