5 Strategies to Retain Your Best Employees – Part 3

Treat your construction employees well when you desire to retain them.

Treat your construction employees well when you desire to retain them.

This is the third in a 5-part series about specific strategies you can use in order to retain your best construction employees. You can find the first installment here and the second here.

Treat them well

Some years ago, I heard an axiom which went like this, “Treat your guests like family and your family like guests.”

There are guests. We welcome them to a clean house, offer them refreshments, encourage them to tell us more about themselves, give them a good seat at the table, and never expect them to join in the clean-up of the after-meal mess.

Then, there is family. Family knows where the drinking glasses are and gets their own drink. Family knows the “inside jokes” and laughs in unison even before the sentence is complete. Family rallies for celebrations as well as for times of mourning.

With guests, the strong point is, we’re polite. With family, the strong point is we’re comfortable. It is my contention that employees should receive the best of both worlds. It boils down to being respectful, courteous, and thoughtful.

For quite some time now, our family has used the “red plate method” of singling out a particular family member who has accomplished a difficult task, overcome an odious obstacle, learned a new skill, gotten a promotion, participated in an act of kindness, had a birthday, or in one way or another deserves to have their achievement (or longevity) called out.

Reminders of “job well done” are a great way to let your construction employees know they are appreciated. It has the added benefit of letting them know which behaviors (such as – accomplished a difficult task, overcome an odious obstacle, learned a new skill) you want to see from them. Plus, just like birthdays, longevity with the company is a thing to be celebrated. Here are 101 ways to reward your employees.

Guests as Family

Being respectful of your employee’s opinions, courteous concerning their needs, and thoughtful about the best ways to allow them to progress in both their personal and professional lives is an impressive formula for maintaining team members who want to stick around. After all, they’re part of the family.

Your turn

Plan ways to make sure your construction employees know they’re appreciated. From pats on the back, to hand written notes, to meals “on the boss,” to bonuses, there are many ways to show your appreciation. Treating them well is key to maintaining a long-lasting and fruitful relationship.

5 Strategies to Retain Your Best Employees – Part 2

Training your employees helps retain your team.


This is the second in a 5-part series about specific strategies you can use in order to retain your best construction employees. You can find the first installment, concerning passing on your vision here.

Train your team

Construction company owners who receive passion as well as performance from their employees are the ones who hire teachable people, train them well, and then give them the autonomy to make decisions.

In order to engage your people there must be ongoing training and education. The different areas which you should address include:



  • Teaching practical skills which keep up with the newest tools and best practices in your particular piece of the construction pie.
  • Instruction concerning up-to-date supplies for your industry.
  • Guidance concerning the use of computers as well as the systems and apps your company uses.
  • Training for building leadership and supervisory skills.
  • Coaching about the newest safety guidelines and paraphernalia.

Additionally, you may wish to consider developing a program concerning team building.

For your sake

Brad Humphrey, writing at For Construction Pros has a well thought out message concerning why you must take or make time to train your people. He gives plenty of examples concerning sources for obtaining training materials or classes, as well as suggestions about the various people who can provide the hands-on training.

Typically, people will comply with rules, policies, and requests when they understand the reasons as well as the expected outcomes.

For their sake

Showing your employees that you care about their personal as well as professional growth, giving them a roadmap to advancement and success will cultivate an atmosphere of trust and confidence. Training provides career pathways. You are giving them tools to improve themselves. Training that helps employees grow their skills and knowledge to better perform their current job is appreciated as a benefit. It is seen as a gesture that the company cares about their employees. Employee training creates a full-blown, all-out environment of support from your company. It empowers your employees to deliver more and be more confident. Employees who are valued feel more satisfaction concerning their jobs.

Coming full circle

Better trained employees leads to increased rates of success on projects.

Success breeds general satisfaction at work.

Satisfaction leads to more commitment.

A committed employee will be willing to do his or her work when adversity strikes, when there is a last-minute push, when searching for a better way to accomplish a task, when someone needs to step to the plate, when there is an opportunity for more responsibility.

Your turn

Develop a plan which includes the various areas in which your employees need further training, a way to accomplish each type of needed training, and a way to follow-up to be sure the training has been effective.

5 Strategies to Retain Your Best Construction Employees – Part 1

First strategy is creating and passing on the vision.

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.