Five Ways to Make Your Company a 'Best Place to Work'

By Brian Binke and Katie Dragicevic

The project-based, cyclical nature of the construction industry presents unique challenges in presenting your firm as a “Best Place to Work” to both current and future employees. In a recent survey conducted by the AGC (Associated General Contractors of America), 87 percent of construction firms looking to hire reported having difficulty filling professional and craft worker positions.

With 51 percent of firms reporting they had to increase base pay to retain employees, it’s essential that companies create enjoyable cultures and environments that keep staff looking forward to coming in to work. Large and frequent pay raises are not a sustainable retention and growth strategy, therefore companies must identify areas in which they can grow and set themselves apart from the competition. The following are the top qualities that construction professionals value in a company:

  1. Family Atmosphere – The No. 1 reason employees consider making a change is because they do not feel they are appreciated. They feel like they are just a number or a profit center. Not all firms can be family businesses, but being treated like family can go a long way toward keeping workers happy and invested in the success of a company. Open-door policies and engaging with workers and their families makes them much less likely to leave a company.
  2. Professional Growth Opportunities – Employees want to know there is room for growth and will consider leaving a firm if they feel they have reached the ceiling in their current position. Developing a plan for an employee’s future and ensuring they are aware of opportunities available to them can help keep them invested in their work and the future of the company. A defined career track with a progression of titles and responsibilities is an attractive element to both current and potential employees.
  3. Stability – With so many factors affecting a firm’s ability to keep their employees working (project load, seasonal slowdowns, weather, etc.) workers value a company’s ability to keep them consistently busy. An absence of work can make employees feel uncertain about the stability of the company, and ultimately their role. Try to get ahead of work by anticipating slow periods and coming up with assignments and even training opportunities that can be accomplished during this time.
  4. Large and/or Interesting Projects – New and challenging work is a great way to keep employees engaged and growing within a company. It not only exposes them to other aspects of the business, but also provides them with experience and expanded skillsets that they will see as valuable to their long-term career growth.
  5. Promises, Promises – Broken promises are one of the fastest ways to sour a relationship with an employee. It additionally sends the message that if company leadership isn’t expected to keep their word, employees shouldn’t be expected to either, among themselves or with clients. Workers value a company with follow-through as this sets the tone for the organization’s expectations around integrity and commitment to customers.

Making an effort to improve in just one or two of these categories can have a positive effect on your firm’s ability to retain existing employees and attract new ones.

Brian Binke is president and CEO and Katie Dragicevic is a marketing specialist for the Birmingham Group (TBG). As an affiliate of MRINetwork since 1967, TBG has been one of the leading national executive search firms that serves the construction industry. Brian Binke has been globally recognized as the top revenue producing executive recruiter out of MRINetwork’s more than 3000 recruiters. For more information, contact Brian Binke at bbinke@thebirmgroup.com.

Have an idea for a guest blog for Construction Today? Contact alan.dorich@phoenixmediacorp.com or jim.harris@phoenixmediacorp.com.  

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