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Nov 29, 2021 IST Team

Construction Companies’ HRM: Solving The Big HRM Challenges

Human resource management (HRM) is a massive cog in an even bigger machine, especially in the construction industry.

With so many moving parts, HR attempts to balance excellent performance with constantly evolving workforces, meet a project’s demands, and keep all parties happy.

It has to navigate hiring, onboarding, training, safety, reporting on new employees, and keep open lines of communication between management and current employees across different sites. It’s no easy task.

Construction companies’ HRM can streamline processes and take some of the pressure off, providing human resources departments with the tools to manage their time and efforts.

Construction Companies’ HRM and 5 Ways to Better Manage Those Challenges

According to IBISWorld, there are almost 10 million workers in the construction industry, around 3 percent of the population.

At any one time, construction projects can have up to hundreds or even thousands of skilled tradespeople employed across various sites and on short or long-term contracts.

The following recommendations have been proven to streamline your business operations, cover the challenges of hiring new staff, and ensure the satisfaction of current employees.

1. Embrace Technology

Construction companies and HR departments no longer rely on paper forms, excel spreadsheets, and clunky email communication.

There is a push towards digitization and construction-specific software to help the onboarding process. Recruiters can manage positions, resumes, track applicants, and perform background checks and administer screenings.

Simple additions like interview scheduling apps can attract younger workers to a company, making the hiring process more manageable. It’s a win-win.

You might also use social media to attract younger workers through Instagram and Facebook profiles for your company, giving you the chance to position your workforce as a happy and fulfilling place to be. 

Utilizing social media platforms to full effect can showcase your transparency, highlight your processes, and help you engage with workers in comment sections and through direct messaging. 

You could also use Linkedin to recruit for management positions.

2. Be Transparent

Companies and HR departments must create accurate job descriptions. With so many mediums available to advertise a role, future employees are looking for transparency. You have a short window of time to grab their attention. 

Also, the application process must be easy to navigate. According to this report, 63% of workers were deterred from completing job applications due to a negative experience with the application process.

Why should candidates choose to work for your company, and how easy do you make it for them to apply?

The right tradesperson should know how they can contribute to the role, and roles are often highly specialized. If they see what you need, a robust application process will entice them to apply.

Desirable packages will help your offer stand out and show potential employees, many of whom are in demand, that you care about their well-being and job satisfaction. Consider including perks and benefits such as paid time off, health insurance, and contributions to their 401k as part of your job posting.

If you partner with an agency with a deep bench, you’re more likely to find the right people for your project.

3. Create and Monitor Your Onboarding Process

Your onboarding process is the crux of your hiring process. There should always be a formal application and interview process. Once a candidate makes it through the process, you can better assess their contribution to a project. 

Having this information stored and ready to use on an employee portal helps streamline training and safety processes. This might seem overwhelming, but with a technology-based system, like an employee portal, training can be provided and signed off on, so you always know the certifications each employee has without having to look through a filing system.

Some companies believe it’s enough to have programs mandated by your state or province, but generic video presentations about safety practices are often dull and won’t engage new workers. You also need detailed training programs that cover procedures and safety for different sites.

Ongoing site-specific training for workers shows you care about their continued health, safety, and wellness. There are plenty of ways to make it interactive. You can use apps to deliver the training, including quizzes, congratulate workers on completing courses, and give recognition when they hit targets.

Make sure to check in with new employees every 30-60 days to avoid accidents early in their careers–this process can be automated, but replies should be from an HR staff member. People want to feel valued and not just another number.

4. Employee Management

A central portal enables you to support analysis, compliance, and reporting for every employee at every project stage.

Centralized employee records provide a place where all employee records are stored and updated, making it easier to comply with standards and prepare for audits.

Central portals like this can organize the entire company into units, departments, and locations. A robust design lightens the load on HR team members by facilitating a direct line between workers and supervisors or managers.

Benefits are two-fold. Let’s say a worker needs time off. The old way would see them reaching out to HR, liaising with the manager, and returning to the worker. Employees can request time off with a direct line to managers, and managers can sign off and simply update the system.

Personal information is stored here, allowing employees to manage their work. Your company can set up FAQs to help employees navigate procedures without always calling or emailing HR staff.

5. Contingent Employee Management

Not every employee is full-time. 

Contractors and skilled tradespeople provide specialized work and often join projects when labor demands spike or at a certain point in the project when their skills are needed.

Often these employees aren’t on the payroll and won’t be eligible for benefits which means you might have to pay them more.

Make sure you factor this into your costs when hiring.

What a Great HRMS Brings to the Table

You can see the features a great HRMS provides, but the benefits, such as better insights, organization, and employee engagement, sell it.

Without one, employees and managers collect data in various places like spreadsheets, paper files, and apps, making it almost impossible to track project data and, more importantly, costs. With only a third of projects coming within 10% of their planned budget, you can see why IT systems could save you a lot of money in the long term.

An HRMS pools data in one place, allowing you to make more informed decisions and take appropriate action. A company can also assess its current workforce and consider future needs, including identifying skills gaps. This is especially important in project-based companies in the construction sector.

Improved employee engagement enables you to define clear career paths for individual workers, create and monitor extensive training, and gain insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your employees to match them with particular roles.

A Solution to Your Problems

Companies like IST (Industrial Skilled Trades) have skilled tradespeople on their ‘bench.’ They can take on some of the stress construction companies’ HRM departments face by working with contractors to fill roles for every stage of a project, ensuring you have the correct workforce levels throughout.

Published by IST Team November 29, 2021
IST Team