The number of commercial construction and infrastructure projects continues to grow in number and – whilst positive news for the economy – this trend is exacerbating the existing skills and labor shortage that lingers in the industry.

Amongst the hardest to find workers are project managers (PMs), with four out of five construction organizations reporting that they are struggling to find qualified PMs. The fact that 20% of PMs are nearing retirement age further contributes to this talent shortage and means that companies are doing everything that they can to keep hold of their current employees. Counteroffers are becoming more common; a last chance for firms to keep an employee once they have received an offer elsewhere.

So, how can you attract candidates to your business when other companies are fighting to hold on to their employees? Here are six key elements to consider:

 

1. Streamline your interview processes

The hiring process is your first opportunity to show candidates how you operate as an organization. It showcases your style and quality of communication and will indicate to them how you treat your employees.

As such, a long and convoluted hiring process will give a poor impression to candidates and up your chances of dropouts throughout the process. Identifying the key job criteria in advance and interview planning can help to eliminate unnecessary steps and ensures that each stage of the process matches your business needs. In addition, operating open and clear communication, respecting candidates’ time and efforts and keeping response times to a minimum can all contribute to a more successful process.

 

2. Showcase your projects

Every construction site brings new and interesting challenges. To attract employees, it’s worth considering how you can highlight and showcase the projects you are working on and position these in the most effective way. This can also help ensure that the employees you hire are genuinely excited to contribute and get stuck into the projects they will be working on.

 

3. Sell the company

As well as showcasing your projects, you also need to sell your company. In their haste to assess a candidate’s suitability, some firms neglect to effectively communicate to candidates why they might want to take the position in the first instance. What is it that is different about your company? How does your employee value proposition match what candidates are looking for?

Candidates are far more likely to take a role when they feel assured that the firm is well managed, financially secure and in a phase of growth; when they feel confident that they will be equipped with the tools, resources, and autonomy they need to succeed in their role and when they’re excited about the company’s work and its future. It’s key that you communicate these elements throughout the hiring process by sharing progression plans and strategy documents as well as by being transparent about the opportunities, benefits and challenges associated with the position.

For example, project managers will expect access to the tools that help them communicate effectively and meet or exceed expectations set for schedules and budgets. Showcasing the technology and processes that will support them is crucial to attracting people to your business and investing in these elements will also benefit your current workforce through increased collaboration, improved communication, and streamlined efficiency.

 

4. Prioritize progression

At CrimsonXT, we have seen an increase in counteroffers at all levels of seniority and although salary increases are usually a part of this, we have found that the most common reason for someone to hand their notice in is a lack of progression in their current role.

Many firms are now proposing promotions as part of counteroffers to employees; however, by the time someone has handed in their notice it’s often too late. Even though counteroffers are sometimes accepted, candidates can have resentment that it has taken handing in their notice for their progression to be taken seriously and they can still be tempted by other companies that offer training opportunities, have clear progression plans and a culture of personal development. Build these into your company and ensure you also communicate them externally.

 

5. Build bespoke and flexible working packages

With hybrid and remote working now commonplace, offering increased flexibility where possible is another important way to attract talent. Whether for easier childcare, less commuting time, or improved mental health, hybrid working is undeniably allowing employees to establish a better work-life balance. It’s also proven to improve motivation and productivity.

Depending on the role, it’s worth assessing what flexibility you can provide. I would advise firms to focus on what candidates are looking for and build an employee value proposition to match. Finding out exactly what your candidate is looking for and being adaptable within reason may be the difference between securing your candidate or having your offer rejected.

6. Put your best figure forward

When it comes to the offer stage of the hiring process, it’s tempting to put forward a more conservative salary in your initial offer, in anticipation of negotiation. Whilst it may help to minimise your costs going forward, this practice risks disappointing your candidate and pushing them to favour other, more generous offers.

Conversely, offering your candidate a competitive straight away indicates your confidence in their skills. It tells them that you recognise their expertise and are keen to have them join your team, leaving them feeling valued rather than uncertain, and you are more likely to walk away with an accepted offer.

With a shortage of talent in the industry, offering the right salary is crucial. However, it is not just about wage increases, and bonuses. Particularly in the US, other elements of remuneration are fundamental to ensuring your firm stands out as a potential employer. Post-pandemic, mental wellbeing and work-life balance are considered more valuable than ever; candidates are looking at how a job can provide the lifestyle as well as the pay check they desire. Paid-time-off, sickness entitlement, maternity leave and medical insurance are all remuneration elements you should be considering if you want to attract and retain talented employees.

Offering these benefits can not only attract new talent, but also cultivate a happier, healthier, more productive workforce and reduce your staff turnover.

 


 

To conclude, my advice for construction business owners during this talent shortage is not to wait. The earlier you begin reviewing your current process and building a strong employee value proposition the better placed you will be to attract and hire the best in the market.

Hire the best talent in construction for your firm with our support. Email me at jlevenston@crimsonxt.com to find out more.