Construction businesses face a number of challenges as they work to deliver projects on time and within budget. One challenge that has impacted the industry for years is the qualified worker shortage. The 2023 Construction Hiring and Business Outlook, which Sage sponsored with the AGC, revealed that 80 percent of contractors are having a hard time filling all or some positions. While this issue may not be going away anytime soon, technology can play a vital role in helping construction businesses ease the effects of the labor shortage. Effectively utilizing technology not only helps increase productivity, but it can aid in employee recruitment and hiring, onboarding and training, job satisfaction, and retention.
Recruitment and Hiring
Technology, particularly a comprehensive human capital management (HCM) solution, can help automate many key HR functions, beginning with the essential steps of recruitment and hiring. This encourages greater visibility and collaboration throughout the process. Technology can sift through hundreds of resumes to find candidates with the right experience. The time saved by automating processes allows you to take a more strategic approach and concentrate your efforts on important aspects such as the interview process. This helps ensure your teams are finding candidates that are the best fit for your organization.
Utilizing technology can also help ensure the right candidates are finding you and widen the pool of talent. Younger generations that have grown up with technology as well as other more tech savvy workers are drawn to firms that are utilizing technological advancements such as 3D BIM modeling, artificial intelligence (AI), drones, and machine learning. Many of these workers value an opportunity to put their technical skills to use and lay a foundation for a long-term career path.
Onboarding and Training
It is essential to have a comprehensive onboarding process that prepares a new hire for a successful tenure at your company. A HCM solution can help streamline onboarding and training by guiding the employee experience from hiring through benefits enrollment and beyond. Many solutions include a single self-service portal for instant access to all HR related information to help manage day-to-day HR tasks, including time and attendance, pay slips, expense reports, company policies, updates, time-off requests, and schedules.
Training is another essential component of nurturing talent. While many businesses do not have the resources to hire a dedicated staff member to administer trainings, many HR technology vendors provide on-demand training modules and support with their software services. It is beneficial to take advantage of these resources because they help employees learn the ins and outs of the solutions and ensure that the technology investment is maximized. Don’t forget to set aside time for training as part of the onboarding process as well as regular trainings throughout the year so that employees stay current on the latest technology resources available to them.
Technology can also play an important role when it comes to job satisfaction. When employees have the tools they need to complete their jobs as effectively and efficiently as possible, it can reduce work-related stress and increase overall job satisfaction.
Preconstruction, which is arguably the most critical phase in a construction project, is an area where increased technology investment can have a big impact. Investing in preconstruction technologies such as a solid estimating solution or a building information modeling (BIM) solution provide a host of benefits. A solid estimating solution that seamlessly integrates with the other solutions you are using can have a big impact on the speed and accuracy of your estimates, while a BIM solution provides better visualization, faster and more accurate takeoffs, and increased project collaboration. It also provides a competitive advantage as clients are usually more impressed with a 3D building model, which provides an interactive, information-rich representation of a project, over a 2D drawing. The use of these technologies enables preconstruction teams to free up time spent on tedious processes to be more strategic about their bidding strategy.
Other technologies such as accounting and financial management and project management solutions can help ease employee workload by maximizing efficiency and minimizing error prone and redundant processes such as duplicate data entry. It is good practice to check in with teams to see which processes could be more streamlined and look for technology solutions that can help address their specific business needs.
While finding the right employees can be a challenge for many businesses, keeping employees can be just as difficult. Employee retention and engagement should be top of mind for businesses though, as employee turnover can be disruptive and costly. A recent Gallup report found that employees who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost the world $7.8 trillion in lost productivity, which is equal to 11% of global GDP.
While it may be impossible to prevent all employee turnover, many instances can be avoided. It’s important to gauge company morale and employee satisfaction. Consider surveying employees for feedback and have managers check in regularly to see how employees are doing. HR solutions can help streamline this process and hold teams accountable. Topics to focus on include major wins, frustrations, and career goals. If an employee doesn’t see a path for growth, they are more likely to check out and seek employment elsewhere.
Your workforce is your most valuable asset, so employees should be treated as such. Investing in the right technologies and taking the time to build and nurture your teams is essential in creating a successful and positive work environment. Plus, happy employees are more likely to stick around and can in turn help attract more top talent.