Since the Great Recession, the United States construction industry has experienced a major shortage of skilled workers. During the financial crisis, there were approximately 1.5 million professionals that left the industry and never returned. Although it’s been a challenge, as the economy improved over the years, the industry recruited new professionals. However, despite these efforts, the labor shortage issue persists. According to JOLTS data, there was still a shortage of 350,000 workers in September 2019.
As another potential recession looms in the summer of 2020, many construction employers could face the same predicament they experienced in 2008. In this article, a Houston construction lawyer will cover five effective ways construction business owners can ensure their most coveted skilled workers don’t leave their business this time around. Remember, for employment law advice and contract review services, consult the Houston construction lawyers with Cotney Law.
1) Focus on Benefits
Although many construction employers may be struggling to meet their financial goals this summer, they should not lose sight of the things that employees value most: salary and benefits. If raises aren’t an option in the foreseeable future, companies should focus on attracting and retaining top talent through their benefits package. Health insurance tends to be a crucial factor when candidates evaluate job offers. Companies that offer comprehensive benefits packages, including a health savings account, vision, dental, and life insurance will be the most competitive on the job market. Furthermore, providing health insurance is a way of showing your employees you value them. Although money may be tight, health insurance is a great tool to utilize to attract and retain valuable employees and build a strong work culture.
2) Communicate With Your Workforce
During challenging times, employers that are transparent with their employees will be more successful at retention. Unfortunately, recessions make it more likely that employees will be discussing negative topics around the workplace. They could be discussing potential workforce reductions, budget cuts across branches, or rumors of a merger or acquisition. Naturally, any of these potential rumors can lead to stress, anxiety, and employees panicking. During uncertain times, employers need to discuss the steps the company is taking to mitigate any issues and what their game plan is moving forward. Taking the time to discuss the steps the company is taking will instill confidence in your workforce while also showing them that they are a valued member of the team that deserves to know the state of your company.
Related: Combating Labor Shortages
3) Communicate One-On-One
Along with communicating to the entire team about what steps you are taking to combat issues impacting the company, it’s equally important not to lose sight of the one-on-one conversations that employees will value the most. Keep in mind that the majority of millennials prefer monthly or quarterly review meetings rather than an annual meeting, so employers that spend their time listening to their employees’ concerns and finding solutions will see a higher rate of retainment.
4) Focus On Career Development
Due to the spread of COVID-19 and the increased likelihood of absenteeism, public health organizations have instructed employers of all industries to cross-train their workforce to ensure essential operations remain intact. Cross-training can also be a result of massive layoffs as employees will need to learn new skills to meet the demand. Employers that encourage their employees to learn new skills and provide proper training in these areas will have employees that are adaptable. As your company moves forward, these employees can be promoted internally, as the skills they learned during the recession prepared them for the next step in their career.
5) Consider Non-Monetary Rewards
If salary increases are ruled out for the time being, employers should consider other ways they can reward their best employees. Although flexibility in the construction workplace is always a challenging task, there are some creative ways construction businesses can accommodate their workforce. Whether it’s offering alterations to shift times, allowing in-office employees to telework on occasion, or offering assistance with any family related needs, there are a variety of ways beyond compensation that employers can implement to show their employees they value them.
As companies around the world return to their workplace this summer, employers will need to consider ways they can implement employment practices that benefit their employees and their business. As part of this process, employers should review their employment manual and make certain that the policies within their handbook align with the policies they are currently enforcing. For employment law advice, employee handbook drafting services, and contract review, consult a Houston contractor attorney with Cotney Law.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.