Construction companies are facing a crucial time. An abundance of available projects is unquestionably a good thing, but the industry’s positive momentum is exposing one of its most serious issues – the lack of a skilled work force.
While manufacturers, distributors and company owners are beginning to invest in recruiting measures, keeping those new faces on staff will be the next challenge. So, what can your company do to ensure that new hires stick around to receive their five-, 10- or 20-year anniversary awards? One word: Culture.
According to Iluma Learning, Inc., Founder Amy Parrish, developing a culture helps attract and retain the employees you desire.
Why define a culture?
An organization has a culture whether it defines one or not. The way a company runs its daily operations, values employees and works with customers shapes its culture. Making a concerted effort to delineate and develop a positive culture goes a long way toward attracting and retaining employees. While rules and regulations can create the outline for a company, the culture colors, shades and highlights the areas that reside outside the lines. Policies and procedures may tell the what, but culture provides the who, why, and how.
Cracking the code that is the millennial work force will make or break businesses throughout the next decade. According to Parrish, millennials are looking to be a part of something; they crave a sense of community and belonging. The idea of working for a faceless corporation is not always appealing to millennials – they want to be welcomed and appreciated for their efforts, regardless of the industry. A company’s culture goes a long way toward helping it transcend a workplace and become something more meaningful that employees can really buy in and commit to.
Family is a buzzword that many businesses use when talking about their work environment. In construction, it’s more than a catch phrase; rather it’s the reality, according Parrish. The family firm is common in the construction industry, with children frequently inheriting the business from their parents. That’s a huge advantage for creating a culture as family values are also typically passed down through each generation. Employees don’t have to worry about learning a different management group, fitting into new roles or feeling uncertainty when they show up to work. There is an inherent comfort level built into the family environment.
Defining a culture isn’t the same as living a culture. One of the common mistakes companies make regarding their culture is not adhering it to. While buzzwords and inclusive phrases printed on letterhead or posted on a website might look great, that isn’t a culture – but merely a collection of words. The real culture is what happens at the workplace every day. If a company says it values employees’ opinions, then staff members should feel like their input really matters. If it says it cherishes time away from work, then an organization shouldn’t require 80-hour workweeks or shame workers into forgoing their vacation days. It is important for owners and leaders to monitor the real culture of their workplace continuously. Talk to employees and managers to truly determine if your company’s practices are matching up with