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Why Workforce Development Is Crucial in Construction Industry

A recent study released by FMI Corporation revealed shocking results in relation to how the construction industry handles workforce development – or rather, how it isn’t handling it.  

Some of the study’s highlights:

  • 89 percent of participants in this year’s survey reported talent shortages.
  • 75 percent of survey respondents have made changes to their training programs in the last two years, with mixed results.
  • 43 percent of survey participants reported that their firms don’t prepare a formal annual training and development budget.

Nearly 60 percent said their training, development and performance management efforts were not very effective.

Organizations with the highest employee retention have committed to rich professional development cultures and have effective performance management processes.

55 percent of survey respondents don’t have any formal processes in place for identifying and developing high-potential employees.

These numbers are staggering and clearly showcase the need for planned workforce development in order to better retain employees in a time when the construction industry is already short on labor.

Why is workforce development really important?

The initial reason is the labor shortage currently affecting the industry. Out of all times, now is absolutely essential to retain employees. With an already limited employee pool, retaining those you have could make or break your business.

Additionally, as the industry tries to attract new talent, an obvious target is the growing millennial population. It’s widely known that this generation isn’t just looking for a salary and benefits, but are thinking “bigger picture.” As a whole, they want to work for companies that are collaborative and communicative. Another element important to them is the ability to cross-train in their positions and to have personal and professional development opportunities.

Also important in relation to personal development is the chance to obtain a better work–life balance. This could mean companies offering a flextime program in which employees can adjust their start and end times to better accommodate their schedule. Boston-based Shawmut Design and Construction has noted that the flextime initiative has increased their company’s retention rates by three basis points.

Employees are also working more and more outside of the office setting, which provides more flexibility for them and allows businesses to downsize their office spaces.

Whether it’s technology or a new generation that’s shaping and changing the workforce, making adjustments to improve your employee retention is always worth the investment. Especially during a time when it’s critical to keep your best talent.


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