Construction Industry: 7 Tactics for Solving Your Skilled Worker Shortage


The following is an excerpt from the full blog post written by David Secunda for Construction Informer. To read the full post, click here.

It’s no secret that the construction industry is facing a skilled worker shortage. The recent recession saw many construction workers leaving the industry, and now with the retirement of the baby boomers, finding quality, skilled workers is an up-hill battle for many human resources professionals in our industry.

But, it’s not just a skilled labor shortage that’s contributing to a perfect storm of unfilled positions and causing costly overtime to meet deadlines.. Most human resources executives in construction are over extended. They are often responsible for performance appraisals, compensation and benefits, training and development, employee and labor relations, and safety and health. Sometimes they even handle finance in addition to staffing and recruiting.

we-oneil-copy Social Media Support

It’s time for the construction industry to realize that we are no longer doing someone a favor by giving them a job. Rather, the employees and contractors we hire are fundamental to the overall company’s development, and we should have an increased focus on attracting top talent every day.

Even if you employ a staffing firm to help recruit contractors and employees, there are ways social media can support those efforts by differentiating your company from others who are bidding for the same skilled workers you are.

Now that we’ve outlined the issue, let’s get tactical about how your human resources department can work independently, or with your marketing team to fill your recruiting pipeline using social media.

Strategic Considerations

The first issue to address is “who owns what.” If you have a marketing department, they likely manage all of your social media and are a big help in shifting your recruiting process into high gear. As an industry, best practices we say if you are hiring 50 people or more per year then the recruiting process truly becomes a marketing process. One where you can no longer rely on “just enough potential employees coming through” your portal without really focusing on this as a clear marketing effort. At 50 of more hires per year, you need to look at marketing channels for employees like you do for customers. How much do you spend on each new employee? What is the conversion that you get from each channel you are using?

allen-rogers-construction-copy Start Solving Your Skilled Worker Shortage

In the construction industry, you are often hiring well over 50 employees not just per year but per project. So now, you must shift your focus to how to work with your marketing team on this joint recruiting effort that will solve your skilled worker shortage. This pretty much encompasses three things:

  1. Gain buy-in from all parties by holding meetings with stakeholders and talking through the objectives. Then allow the team to contribute to the best approach.
  2. Agree on ownership and deliverables – Our suggestion is that marketing focuses on the applicant generation and getting applications into HR, while also providing feedback on which channel the applicants came from. HR is then responsible for everything post application. Qualifying, interviewing, and hiring, while providing statistics on conversion from application to hired employee.
  3. Create a feedback loop – Ensure that at the end of the day the feedback comes full circle so you can turn your efforts in to a long-term strategy.

Once you’ve decided on a process and divided up responsibilities, it’s time to agree on the tactics that you will deploy through social media to draw in potential candidates.

Getting Tactical

All of the tactics we outline below surround two best practices for modern day recruiting. The first, is to provide transparency. One of the best things you can do to reduce churn, especially in the first 90 days of employment, is to transparently align expectations with reality. Yes, this applies even in some of the less glamorous jobs you may be hiring for.

I know many times there’s a hesitancy to be fully transparent because there’s a fear that the sheer number of candidates will drop. That may very well be true, but the quality of those candidates should increase, and the churn in the first three months should decrease, saving your organization thousands.

Using social media is a great way to provide transparency. But instead of just talking about yourself, you want to create an interaction with the potential incoming employees. You want to ask questions, tell stories, show REAL employees.

The second best practice is to provide acknowledgment and feedback. Using social media to publicly acknowledge your employees is going to work double duty for you as it reduces churn and promotes overall job satisfaction while at the same time providing transparency and insights into your workforce which will attract the best-skilled workers to your next project.

Tactics to Try Today

Hop on over to Construction Informer to read the 7 tactics we outlined to achieve these goals…