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Workforce retention is important for any business, but in the construction industry, with a serious skilled trades shortage, it's vital to understand how to keep talented employees on the payroll to keep your company going in the right direction.

For a construction company, losing a highly skilled worker (or even worse, multiple workers in one go) can be devastating to projects. It can derail work for months and causes a whole load of hassle for project managers.

So what can you do to stop your workers from leaving? How can you retain employees in such a competitive industry?

Luckily, there are many things you can do to retain your best workers. Here are five simple ways that you can keep your employees happy and with you for longer.

1. Remember It’s Not All About the Money

It doesn't matter whether you're a small, large, national, or local construction firm; you should always be trying your best to satisfy your employees' needs. If you want to retain your workers in this highly competitive market, then you'll need to figure out ways to keep your employees happy, and we're not just talking about money.

Nowadays, employees are looking for a lot more than just a large paycheck. They're looking for a good company culture that they can rely on. They're looking for a company that cares, and they're eager to be something more than a number to you.

If you want to retain your employees, then the first thing you have to do is foster a company culture that:

  • Listens to employees;
  • Promotes employee input; and
  • Values what they have to say.

By becoming the company that your employees can rely on, they'll be more inclined to stick around longer.

2. Improve Your Health Benefits and Safety Standards

Construction industry jobs include a lot more physical labor than other jobs, and with that comes more injuries and accidents than many other industries. You can get injured at a desk job, and anybody can slip and fall on a freshly mopped floor, but those risks pale in comparison to falling off a roof or getting hit by moving machinery.

This is why providing your employees with better-than-average health care benefits can help improve employee retention.

From personal experience, I’ve seen workers stay with companies when their bosses offered to cover expensive medical bills and ongoing medication costs. I’ve also seen good talent leave a job for another position that would cover their medical needs.

Make your employees aware that you’re there to support them if they get sick or hurt while working for you. This could be the difference between a great employee choosing to stay with you or leaving to find a job elsewhere.

You should also develop and enforce a decent employee safety program that strictly adheres to the OSHA guidelines, or the CCOHS for my fellow Canadians. By making sure everybody follows the rules, you'll be able to not only reduce your liability, but also show your employees that you have their best interests at heart.

The OSHA/CCOHS guidelines may feel a bit excessive if you’ve never looked into them properly before, but if you want to create a safe environment for your workers, you should follow them. They're thorough for a reason: They work.

Following these guidelines and sticking to them long term will help you build a reputation as an employer who takes no nonsense when it comes to their staff's safety. This type of reputation is invaluable in the construction industry, and it'll set you apart from other employers.

Another tip for improving your company's health and safety is to make sure there is a place where your staff can safely take their breaks while on jobs. You should also regularly provide them with access to clean water to ensure they're operating at their best while on the site.

3. Tackle Any Language Barriers

Improving communication and breaking down language barriers is essential for retaining employees. If one of your employees doesn’t understand what you’re saying or can’t figure out what they’re meant to be doing, they won’t feel confident in their job.

To solve this common problem, you should look into ways to minimize miscommunication on your team. Try to work on being super clear with your instructions to help anybody who might have difficulty understanding what you’re saying.

If members of your team don’t speak fluent English or if it’s their second language, make a commitment to improving communication with them—you’ll make their workday a lot easier, jobs will get completed to a higher standard, and everyone on your team will feel appreciated.

If you’re a larger company with more available resources, then it’s a good idea to have bilingual training personnel on your roster. Training is an essential part of construction work, so if you have staff members who can speak multiple languages you’ll be able to give effective training to all your employees.

4. Offer Training and Learning Opportunities

If you want to keep your employees long term, you're going to have to start making your construction company a place where they can learn, hone their skills, and progress in their field. Nowadays, workers don't just want a job. They want a career. They want to get better at what they do so they can work better for you.

The best way to do this is to create a training system in your company that enourages your employees to advance in their careers. By providing them with more training and learning opportunities, you'll increase productivity, and retain employees in the process.

The more skills your employees learn, the more confident they'll become in the workplace. They'll feel more productive when they start applying these skills when working.

You can even set up an advancement structure to help them progress higher up in their field. This will give them the encouragement they need in their job, and make them want to stick around with your company for longer.

5. Put People in the Right Positions

Take a look at the current team you have right now. Do you know what each of your team members is good at? Do you understand what each person's skill set is and what area they excel in? Do you know what they really enjoy doing?

By knowing exactly what position suits each of your employees, you'll be able to put them in a position that they can excel at. The more a person excels at something, the more confident they'll become and the happier they'll be.

If your employee is in a position that they're not too good at, or they simply don’t enjoy, they might struggle to have any interest in it and might even think of leaving to get a job elsewhere.

We hope this has helped you understand how you can retain more employees for your construction company. By using a combination of these five points, you should be able to make your business a desirable place to work—and see your best workers stay with you long term.

If you found this information helpful, this is the third blog in a three-part series. Part one covers how to write the perfect job description to attract top talent to your company, and part two shows you how to attract top talent with a strong company culture.