A different approach to the construction worker shortage

Published · 2 min read

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the construction industry will require over 7.2 million workers by the year 2022. Yet the primary working age group—those between 25 and 54—is projected to decline. Ouch!

Bottom line, it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any easier for contractors to find qualified employees, especially younger workers. The alternative? Make the most of what you have. Now’s the time to take a closer look at your current workforce to pinpoint and remedy skill gaps, retain key employees, and improve overall productivity and performance. That evaluation starts with these six basics:

  • Are your employees day-to-day tasks aligned with your business goals and strategy?  Nothing is more unproductive than having employees not executing on critical company strategies. Likewise, one of the biggest frustrations for employees is lack of direction. To avoid this, clearly communicate company goals and verify each employee’s written objectives can be tied to those high level directives.
  • What are the skill gaps that will prevent your company from reaching current and future goals? According to research conducted by BTS, a global leader in strategy implementation, making sure employees are equipped with the right skills and capabilities is the single most critical predictor of an organization’s success. By tracking employee skills, education, certifications, and other key training and career development, you can identify current skill gaps to more effectively target your training programs and better determine when you need to hire.
  • Who are your high-potential employees? Your next generation of leaders often comes from within the company. In 2012, Inc. Magazine wrote about the five traits of high-potential employees. Identifying these leaders and taking measures to retain them are critical to your company’s long-term success.
  • What is the age distribution across your organization? With an aging workforce, you need to assure you have a pipeline of younger workers who can take on the responsibilities of experienced employees when they retire. Succession plans, at all levels, are key here.
  • How engaged are your employees? Numerous studies show that engaged employees not only are more likely to stay with a company but they work more effectively and have a significant positive impact on business results. Consequently, when evaluating a workforce to better understand how to optimize current staff, you should also consider level of engagement.
  • Is your team bogged down with time wasters? It’s often surprising to see how much time employees spend on inefficient processes and activities—some which can be automated. Eliminating the time wasters and refocusing staff on more meaningful work can significantly boost productivity.

Ultimately, any evaluation of a workforce against a company’s current and future needs will uncover skill gaps, indicate exactly where you need to hire, and identify issues that can lead to high employee turnover. Having a good read on current staff will help you add new employees more strategically—critical when you are dealing with a limited labor pool.

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