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Perks in construction to recruit and retain employees 


February 5, 2019

In the United States, unemployment is at 3.7 percent with a reported 7 million jobs left to fill. The construction industry has been filling jobs at a faster rate than other sectors with 315,000 more construction workers employed now than a year earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The department also reported there were only 273,000 open construction jobs as of fall 2018.

“The construction industry added workers and increased pay in the past year at rates higher than the overall economy,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America. “However, the pool of unemployed workers with construction experience has nearly evaporated.”

Everything sounded great until that last part—experienced workers are gone. If you are trying to attract employees to your company or retain the skilled workers you have, think about the perks you offer and if they truly matter.

Perks of the Trade

Flexibility. Yes, Flex-Ability Concepts believes in flexibility. In the construction world, we are limited in the days and hours we can work based on general contractor schedules, building owner’s stipulations and city codes. However, there is wiggle room in terms of offering split shifts for employees who want to start earlier or later. You might have employees who want to work four 10-hour shifts instead of five days a week. Ending the workday at 3:30 on Fridays is a great way to start the weekend, as long as the work is done. Giving employees flexibility means they will enjoy their workday and work environment because they have some control over their time.

Delegation and trust. You hired employees because you need help, so trust them to do their jobs. People today are looking for a sense of purpose from their jobs, and you can give that to them when you trust them to use their skills. A Namely survey found that 57 percent of respondents desire “meaningful work” above all other perks. Meaning can come by orientating employees to your company and trusting that you hired the right person to do the job.

Shout outs. It has been proven that employees are more productive when managers acknowledge their work. During weekly or monthly meetings, recognize an employee for going above and beyond, highlight a good installation or review a new technique. Hold an annual awards ceremony to show your employees that their contributions matter.    

Offer financial wellness. You cannot ensure this for all your employees, but you can give them tools to become financially empowered. Offer a 401k, and provide retirement-savings communications about plan changes. Team up with your accountant or financial institution for lunch-and-learn courses. Employees are more loyal to employers who invest in their financial being—beyond a paycheck. 

Education. Consider chipping in when an employee wants to take a continuing-education class. Maybe that employee who won your annual award can get a paid trip to a national trade show for hands-on learning and networking. Call distributors, tool reps and manufacturers to visit your office or job site for learning opportunities. Workers value jobs that keep their skills fresh and current.

Pick the Right Perk

A survey by staffing firm Robert Half showed that 64 percent of respondents believe changing jobs every few years is good for their careers. This had many employers on edge, wondering how to retain people. The answer might be in perks, but knowing which ones will pique your employees’ interest is the key. 

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