In the construction industry, it pays to retain your best and most experienced employees. Not only does this reduce costs associated with employee turnover, but it can also improve safety, boost morale, and even make onsite training easier.
The question is, which strategies are most effective in retaining your top construction employees?
The Value of Employee Retention in Construction
Employee retention is valuable in any industry, but it’s especially valuable in construction. These are some of the most impressive benefits you can expect from higher employee retention in this space:
· Experience and safety. The longer an employee stays with you, the more experience they gain. They learn new skills, they make mistakes and make adjustments to prevent them in the future, and they pick up tips and tricks that can help other people. This makes them your most valuable employees, even if they don’t have the strength and stamina they once did. In addition to potentially performing better, more consistent work, they also boost safety within your job site. More mature, experienced workers are less inclined to take stupid risks or break safety rules – and they serve a valuable role of setting an example for younger workers.
· Mentorship and education. Similarly, your older workers function as mentors and educators for your newest recruits. Having more experienced, wise employees on the job site means you’ll be able to accelerate the training and onboarding process for all your future employees.
· Morale. Employee retention is also good for morale. Familiarity and bonding are crucial for everyone to feel like they’re part of the team, and retaining their top employees helps to keep things consistent. Plus, having people around who have worked for your organization for years, or even decades, is a sign that you reward hard, loyal workers.
· Savings. It usually costs about a third of an employee’s salary to replace that employee – and sometimes more. Replacing an older employee requires you to recruit, hire, onboard, and train, and all of these things cost time and money. It’s much simpler and more effective to simply retain your best employees.
How to Retain Your Best Construction Employees
What steps can you take to retain your best construction employees?
· Make safety the top priority. Nobody wants to work in an environment they view as unsafe. Even a single injury on the job site can call your integrity into question and make your employees second guess whether they want to be involved here. Accordingly, safety needs to be your top priority, and you need to do everything possible to maintain a safe, healthy working environment.
· Create and maintain a healthy workplace culture. It’s also important to create and foster a healthy workplace culture. Obviously, safety is a component of this, but you also need to think about team building, camaraderie, and communication. Healthy work environments are open, transparent, and respectful. No one should be worried about voicing an opinion that’s going to cause retaliation, and no one should feel disrespected or dismissed. Everyone on your team plays a role in shaping the environment, but your leaders are especially important.
· Offer rewards for exceptional performance. When people are rewarded for doing something, they tend to be more likely to do it in the future. If you consistently reward your best employees for their hard work, they’ll be much more likely to continue working for your organization and achieving similar feats. As an added bonus, rewarding your most experienced employees sets a standard for even your freshest hires; it’s a standard that shows you notice and care about your best workers.
· Handle conflicts diplomatically. Conflicts are an inevitability in any workplace environment. What matters is how you address and manage those conflicts. Ideally, you’ll be able to handle workplace conflicts as diplomatically as possible, allowing all parties involved to state their case directly and respectfully. In conflicts between workers, peaceful mediation is a must. In conflicts between bosses and workers, mutual respect and consistent judgment are prerequisites.
· Encourage more autonomy and flexibility. People feel more fulfilled in their work when they have more autonomy and flexibility, so offer these features however you can. Allow your most experienced workers to make more decisions and give them more leniency with things like scheduling, breaks, and approaches to work.
· Collect feedback (and listen!). Always collect feedback from your employees, and don’t wait for year-end reviews or exit interviews to do it. Actively listen when your employees are talking to you, and if they have complaints or concerns, address them appropriately.
No matter what you do, there are going to be motivating factors that push some of your employees to leave. They might want to retire early, they might find new job opportunities, or they might move away. But all the efforts you make to retain your top employees are going to make an impact – and your organization is going to be stronger, safer, and more productive as a result.