5 Strategies to Retain Your Best Construction Employees – Part 1

First strategy is creating and passing on the vision.

Create a great place to work!

This is the first in a five-part series. Find the other posts by clicking on Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5

Everywhere you turn there is another call concerning the lack of qualified construction workers. It is a problem. Many people and organizations are taking steps to try to change the situation for the better. Some examples can be found here, here, here, and here. Yet, the effort isn’t going to be easy and it won’t happen overnight. In the meantime, holding on to the qualified hands you now have will give you a buffer and allow you to weather the storm while the newest guys and gals are attending classes, being trained, and getting up to speed.

It’s time to think about retention in a strategic way. The old “dime a dozen” rule doesn’t work in this day and age. It isn’t as if you have people knocking on your door throughout the day hoping to find a job. It is more likely you’re hard-pressed to keep good construction hands from one job to the next. There are 5 main areas which need to be addressed if you want to hang on to the good folks you already have in your employ.

  1. Passing on your vision
  2. Training your team
  3. Treating them well
  4. Having fun at work
  5. Paying them well

The first strategy is passing on the vision.

Pass on your vision

Don’t be short sighted! Helping your crew understand the vision for your company is worth the effort and it means much more than just a “that’s how it is done around here” speech. This article from Forbes gives much insight into how your company vision can create highly motivated and strongly committed employees. It is well worth the time it takes to read.

Writing and passing on your vision is the first step in creating a great place to work.

Some examples:

“Kitchell is committed to impacting our communities by delivering innovative services through dedicated people and loyal relationships. We provide design, development, construction, facility planning and maintenance services to fulfill the vision of our customers. Together, building value every day.” Kitchell

“Shook is committed to being a construction contractor that is known externally for quality, integrity and resourcefulness, and internally for profitability and employee satisfaction.”Shook Construction

“To be the world’s premier engineering, construction, and project management company. Customers and partners will see us as integral to their success. We will anticipate their needs and deliver on every commitment we make. People will be proud to work at Bechtel. We will create opportunities to achieve the extraordinary, and we will reward success. Communities will regard us as responsible—and responsive. We will integrate global and local perspectives, promote sound management of resources, and contribute to a better quality of life.”Bechtel

“Building Enduring Relationships and Strong Communities”Kraus-Anderson

“To build environments where our clients, employee-owners and communities prosper.”Sundt

Write your vision

The best visions tend to give both an outward (customer) focus as well as in inward (employee) focus. If you don’t have a written vision now is the time! If you do have a written vision, be certain you’re passing it on to those in your employ.

Share your vision

Your vision for your construction company should make it easy to explain business decisions to your employees. Employees tend to do what they think is best according to what they think the boss wants. By telling them what you really want, you give them a means to focus their behavior in ways that benefit themselves as well as the company. Here are a few examples of how other businesses are engaging their employees through their company vision.

An additional benefit is your employees see you as a better leader if you can communicate your vision effectively.

Your 3 step plan

  1. Take time now to write your vision or review and refresh it.
  2. Determine the means you’ll take to begin passing it on.
  3. Begin giving your employees the information they’ll need to follow your vision

P.S. Remember there is a big difference between laying a few bricks and building a cathedral. Be sure your employees know what they’re really doing.

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