With construction labor accounting for up to 40% of a project’s total budget, there’s no wonder why the construction industry considers its people its greatest asset. The amount of time spent recruiting skilled workers and getting them trained is a costly endeavour for any general contractor, but often the emphasis on career development for most team members stops there. Continuing your team member training and development helps to keep your workforce engaged with your company, which in turn can have a positive impact on your bottom line.
According to this LinkedIn report, 94% of employees would stick with their current job if their employer was making an effort to invest in developing their career. Forbes has written about the high cost of employee turnover, indicating that even a mid-level team member can cost 125% of their annual salary to replace, and that’s only if your team member works out and remains with your company.
Developing your team will also play an important role in the coming years as millennials become the majority of the active workforce. A Gallup report has indicated that by 2025 75% of the workforce will be millennials, however the same report also indicates that millennials have a very high turnover rate with only 50% planning to be with their current company a year from now.
The time to start developing your team is now. Not just because of the eventual millennial takeover, but because developing your team internally and focusing on their career development can:
Help with employee retention
Increase engagement with your company and projects
Help to reduce skills gaps
Train future leaders
In this article, we’re going to explore a few ways you can make developing your team a little easier and ensure you’re putting your best foot forward to create a strong workforce that is excited about their future with your company.
4 Tips for team member development
1. Centralize your workforce data
Construction has a lot of moving parts, and that includes the workforce being assigned to different projects. Keeping track of your team’s skills, strengths, certifications, and experience working on different projects can be extremely tedious and time consuming when using spreadsheet systems, which can lead to it being deprioritized simply because it’s a pain to maintain.
Construction resource management tools that were built for construction, like Bridgit Bench, allow general contractors to centralize their workforce data for quick and simple experience tracking. Bridgit Bench is also fully customizable, meaning you can create and track information relevant to your company. Many of our clients create custom people fields to track:
Some of our clients will even create an employee rank (which can be kept private from users using our permission groups) which allow them to easily identify high-performing employees that might be suitable for further training and development when the opportunities arise. Read this guide for more information about construction resource management.
2. Outline a career path
Construction is all about planning. Every project starts with months of planning and designing before any construction starts. The same goes for your team. Whether it’s existing employees or new team members being brought on board, it’s important to create a foundation for career development that will keep your team excited about their future with your organization.
Outlining a career path will differ from person to person and title to title, but letting your team know where you hope to see them within your organization in the coming years and presenting them with opportunities to learn new skills and gain meaningful experience can go a long way if your team is considering alternative options for work.
Interested in engineering? Check out our best career path for construction project engineers.
3. Be proactive
There’s a big difference between your team members asking for opportunities to learn new skills to move up the company ladder and leadership proactively presenting them with opportunities for career development. That difference comes in the form of a more engaged team.
Employees can often feel as though they’ve hit a plateau in an organization. Whether it’s because of a lack of skills, experience, or certifications, team members that don’t see an opportunity for growth within the company will often begin to look at alternative employment opportunities to further their career.
Some people simply don’t know how to ask. Being proactive and creating opportunities for your team will show that you value their efforts within the company and provide a light at the end of the tunnel for team members that feel like they’ve “topped out”. Resource management tools like Bridgit Bench allow you to easily track your team’s experience and certifications to identify projects that can provide experiential opportunities for your team and allow them to progress their careers.
4. Identify Skills Gaps
This can be tricky depending on which tools you are using to track your team’s utilization rates. However, having that kind of insight will help to identify which positions are spread too thin and could use some support. This helps to reference the skills, experience, and certifications necessary to take on a new role, and proactively present those opportunities to team members you feel are a good fit.
As an added bonus: Apart from offering opportunities to your team, having insight into your workforce utilization will also help to identify trends in your workforce plan and allow you to create effective recruitment strategies. That means more time to recruit qualified candidates to build effective teams and reduce the risk of hiring the wrong people due to reactive recruitment. For information about construction certifications for your team, check out this blog.
Bridgit Bench was designed for the dynamic nature of construction workforce planning. That includes the ability to customize what information is being tracked to improve your team development. It also provides insight into your workforce utilization rates to create informed recruitment strategies, build productive and effective teams, and strengthen your team’s engagement with your company by identifying opportunities for growth.
Lauren Lake is the COO and co-founder at Bridgit. She holds a degree in Civil Structural Engineering and is well-versed in construction workforce management and resource planning processes. Lauren has been named to the Forbes Manufacturing & Industry 30 Under 30 and Best Of Canada Forbes Under 30 Innovators lists. Lauren has presented at industry events and conferences, including BuiltWorlds, Canadian Construction Association, Procore Groundbreak, and more. Follow Lauren on LinkedIn and Instagram.