Most businesses recognize employee engagement as a critical issue for any enterprise success. After-work activities and satisfaction surveys are a common practice in many organizations. Nevertheless, employee engagement plays an especially important role in the construction industry.
Why is it so important for the construction industry?
Understanding the dynamics of a business and its environment is essential for good productivity levels in any sector. Nevertheless, engagement is crucial in construction as businesses regularly rely on skilled workers such as engineers and specialized machine operators for its day-to-day activities.
Low engagement levels in the building sector can be costly as recruiting and training new employees can delay or interrupt other activities. However, employee’s turnover and the need for constant training are not the only drawbacks. Current employees who feel disengaged with the organization often show lower productivity levels and higher absenteeism, costing businesses in the U.S. between 450 billion to 550 billion dollars every year.
Employee’s turnover is extremely problematic in the construction industry. Without the correct workforce, projects can generate losses as operations are slowed down continuously. This situation is even more relevant to businesses operating in the United States as the country currently experiences a severe shortage of skilled craft workers, with 86% of employers facing difficulties finding suitable labor.
Low engagement can also bring other less obvious consequences such as poor work environment or lack of collaboration and support among employees. However, turnover remains the biggest risk of employee disengagement. The reason behind this is not just monetary as replacing employees is expensive, but also because workers walk away with critical information regarding the business’ operations, making it more vulnerable to competition.
What can we do to improve engagement in the construction industry?
- Favor leadership, team spirit & mentoring
- Allow for professional growth
- Offer all the necessary tools for smooth operations
In some occasions, construction companies show a lack of formal management strategies where task allocation and other procedures are not well documented and structured. This lack of direction can create confusion and cause errors thus, decreasing productivity. Nonetheless, the lack of leadership does not only cause productivity issues but also impacts the employee’s moral. Without proper guidance, employees can feel lost and more-likely to fail. Therefore, motivation levels drop.
Aside from creating well-documented and structured management practices to guide employees better, it is also important to establish an environment of trust and camaraderie in the business. Jealousy and excessive competitiveness among employees can hurt the business’ results as people will be less likely to collaborate and help each other. For this reason, it is important to show the importance of teamwork by creating an environment of equality and respect with practices such as the elimination of wage gaps or open communication channels with superiors.
Finally, mentoring is another strategy that managers can adapt to support and motivate employee’s growth. In addition to better relationships between staff and superiors, mentoring allows for knowledge transfer. This situation can potentially reduce training costs as mentors can replace some training while, at the same time, creating great bonds from the informal nature of the mentor-mentee relationship.
In today’s competitive world, professional growth is a priority for most working adults. Constantly changing economies and challenging standards can easily cause concerns about professional development from employees. In addition to this, people seem to be changing jobs more regularly as a consequence of all the new opportunities brought by globalization.
For these reasons, it is imperative to communicate to employees their opportunities for growth within the company. However, professional growth does not only come in the shape of promotions. Opportunities to acquire more know-how through training or mentoring are greatly appreciated by today’s employees as they offer valuable skills that enrich their professional careers.
Many times, employees are overcharged or stressed due to unattainable goals set up by organizations. This situation is exacerbated when the tools given to employees are not appropriate or are lacking in some aspect. The extremely high standards required in today’s world put immense pressure on workers. This situation alongside the absence of the necessary tools can seriously hurt employee’s moral and discourage excellence, finally leading to low productivity.
For this reason, it is vital for construction businesses to offer the proper tools to all of their employees. The correct classification of lower-priority tasks versus high-value responsibilities is fundamental in helping them target their focus and efforts efficiently. As a consequence, employees will improve their time-management, lower workload pressure, and ultimately, improve their productivity.
Tools such as BulldozAIR enable businesses to take the burden of task allocation, collaboration, and proper field documentation from project managers and other employees, allowing them to target the tasks that add real value to their work.
In conclusion, employee engagement is a critical issue for all construction companies. Organizations in this industry should not take it lightly as efforts to improve employee engagement levels can impact the business’ productivity levels positively.