Keeping Employees Engaged in a Tight Labor Market

In a tight labor market, construction business owners are looking for more ways to keep employees engaged.

It is no secret that skilled laborers and experienced construction professionals are hard to find.  Candidate searching can be competitive to say the least, and it is not uncommon to face high turnover which can be both time consuming and costly.  According to an article posted by Forbes last year, the cost of employee turnover can be much higher than most business owners expect: “Off-the-shelf estimates are available, which might set the cost of an entry-level position turning over at 50 percent of salary; mid-level at 125 percent of salary; and senior executive over 200 percent of salary.”

While actual costs of employee turnover are specific to each business, it is important to know that the impact is real and ultimately affects the bottom line.  For this reason, here are a few ways to keep your current employees engaged, and perhaps open the door to attracting new talent:

  1. Invite Feedback – Nobody likes negative criticism, but constructive criticism and feedback are essential for a growing business, especially from employees.  Employees are the heart of every business, and it is important to create a company culture where team members feel safe (and welcome) to provide feedback about working conditions, new programs, peer performance, etc. Get in a regular habit of asking your employees for feedback, what’s working and what’s not. If you want to keep employees engaged, you must keep your finger on the pulse and communication open.
  2. Set Goals – Without direction, short and long-term goals, your team is just moving, not progressing.  It is important that every department and individual have clear and defined goals.  A company and crews cannot possibly pursue excellence without a clear idea of what they are seeking to achieve. By setting well-defined workforce goals, you will establish the foundation for organizational success. While goals should engage, motivate and even inspire employees, they should be realistic and attainable and help every employee reach his/her own personal potential.  Individual goals should align directly with the overall company goals so that all team members are working to achieve the broader goals of the company.  When employees reach milestones, they should be recognized, and everyone should have an understanding for how their personal successes contribute to the overall success of the company.  This can be done through recognition at team meetings, reward programs, bonuses and awards.
  3. Let Them Grow – Beyond a career, many employees are seeking new opportunity.  Such opportunity can come in the form of new responsibility, education, or promises of a higher position or department.  Don’t shy away from exposing employees to new responsibilities and educational opportunities.  By empowering your employees, you will empower your business.

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