3 Ways to Retain Your Employees in a Competitive Market
The construction industry has gone through a roller coaster in the past decade. Rise, sharp fall, and now it's rising again. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for construction laborers and helpers is set to rise 13%, which is almost twice the rate of other occupations. This is great news, at first glance, for many construction firms. The recession has been particularly difficult on them, so this period of increased business represents vital recovery. However, now many are faced with a new issue: a shortage of qualified labor.
Employers were forced to let many workers go during the recession, but are unable to find someone to fill their spot now. Those workers have moved on to another profession, and young people aren't filling their spots. This is leaving a skill gap in the construction industry, exactly the sort of phenomenon that seemed impossible eight years ago. Especially if you're a small business, this can be the difference between sink or swim. In order to help keep your business on the up, you need to get ahead of the problem.
Survey Your Employees
The only way to really know what conditions are like for your employees is to talk to them. Are they satisfied with the benefits and vacation time? Do they enjoy the company culture? Do they think they are appropriately valued? Are they bored or overworked? If only one or two of them have a problem, then it might just be that individual, but if several employees have the same complaint, then that's a red flag. You'll have the change your policies or be prepared for a stack of two-week notices.
It can be difficult to get your employees to talk to you, but it's important that you get a from-the-ground perspective. Ideally, you should talk to someone who believes their job to be safe. Whether this is because you have a personal relationship with them or because they are integral to the business's success, it doesn't really matter, as long as you can trust their opinion. While you should talk to your lower, newer employees too, you can't trust everything that they say. They might be curtailing their responses to avoid upsetting you.
This can be a huge perk that keeps your employees from looking for jobs elsewhere. Plus, in the long run, this will decrease the amount of labor that you'll have to hire. Instead of searching for someone who can install central air-conditioning, train one of your existing employees on how to do it. Not only will your employees be happy to learn a new skill, you won't have to worry about their new marketability. The training serves as an investment, and shows that you care about your employees' careers. Plus, once word gets around, this will draw in new employees. While there is definitely a line here, since you can't train everyone, offering training to a select few can be a huge benefit to your firm.
Don't Take More Than You Can Handle
It might be tempting to say "yes" to every job, but the reality is that you can only do so much. If you commit your employees to too many projects, they will be overworked and unhappy. Additionally, you won't be able to do a quality job if you are too rushed. Pushing the limits is good, but there is a point where you can't push anymore. Realize your limitations and don't over-commit. Keep the job flow as steady as possible, look for local equipment rentals to avoid expensive maintenance costs, and prioritize who gets what training and what type. It's a lot to keep in mind, but it's better to be busy than bored in business.