After a slow start to 2022, the construction industry added 60,000 jobs in February to reach employment numbers slightly below its pre-pandemic level. However, this positive news comes with a caveat. Contractors industry-wide are struggling to find skilled workers and they’re paying higher wages to attract them. In fact, late last year just over 60% of contractors reported high difficulty finding skilled workers.
With competition high, how can your firm stand out from the crowd? Technology. The right tech not only improves your company’s operational efficiency, it also ups your ability to recruit and retain highly sought after talent. Here are five ways technology can help increase your employee recruitment and retention.
1. COMPETITIVE EDGE
Your company’s relevancy and competitiveness hedges on its ability to attract younger, greener employees and retain veteran, skilled workers. Next-generation workers expect, and seek out, technology in the workplace. In fact, some 71% of millennial workers say that a company’s tech adoption influences their employment decision. Veteran workers are also looking for companies at the industry’s forefront that are utilizing tech to create safer, more efficient workplaces and therefore more reliable jobs.
Prove to all workers your company is invested in the future by embracing technology. Advanced tech investments into 3D printing, drones, virtual reality, and automated vehicles or simple tech integrations for tracking labor hours, equipment usage, safety hazards and digital forms, can cement your company’s commitment to sustained success and give you a recruitment edge over your competitors.
2. STREAMLINES PROCESSES
Tech integrations can streamline your company’s operations and increase its productivity across all departments. Take mobile workforce platforms for instance that make actionable data accessible to every member of your team by digitizing time tracking, asset management, safety training, and project costing.
If you are still using paper time cards and forms, your staff is wasting valuable time on inefficient processes. Utilizing a digital platform to track time and tasks, teams can log their hours worked and tasks completed in real time, giving project managers an instant overview of how a project is progressing and where changes need to be made. Having access to quality, actionable data also allows for meaningful incentivization for employees. Incentives that actually increase productivity across the jobsite.
With the ability to link up with your company’s accounting software, such platforms completely overhaul and simplify the payroll process. Accurate and quick payments give office staff time to tackle more complex tasks and build every employees’ confidence in the company. These companywide increases in efficiency, productivity, and predictability can bolster profitability and lead to higher worker wages.
3. SAFER SITES AND WORKERS
Construction is an inherently dangerous industry. In 2020 alone, there were over 174,000 injuries in the construction sector. This number is undoubtedly higher as many work-related injuries go unreported. Yet, companies have the tools needed to reduce jobsite hazards and build cultures of preventive safety.
Advances in safety equipment, training, and technology are making jobsites safer every day. Issues can arise, however, if your company fails to fully integrate technology. Using drones to survey dangerous sites and situations before workers are present or employing robotics to do injury-prone, repetitive tasks can improve worker safety. Even absent advanced technologies, your firm can better its working conditions.
It starts with your on-site safety program. The best safety programs utilize technology to ensure workers remain informed on hazards, educated on proper safety measures, and invested in keeping their jobsites as safe as possible. This is all possible with the help of a mobile workforce platform. Such platforms allow project and safety managers to track worker activity, provide safety training and toolbox talks, identify jobsite safety risks, and document injuries in real time and from their mobile devices. With a data-backed safety program, your leaders can respond quickly to issues and ensure worker safety across all projects.
4. THE GREAT EQUALIZER
Technology acts as an equalizer in construction, giving diversity an opportunity to flourish on the jobsite. That’s good news for an industry that continues struggling to recruit women. In the last few years, women have accounted for just 10% of the construction workforce, even as women-owned firms grew by 68%. Construction tech is paving the way for increased diversity and inclusively across company operations.
In the field, advances and a push for inclusive sizes in wearable technology and safety equipment have increased the quality of protection for women in construction. A move toward connectivity has also meant more opportunities for women to enter into, and grow, careers in the industry. Mobile workforce platforms, with live-field data gathering abilities, prompt on-site workers to collect and share data on labor hours, project progress, delays, equipment usage and maintenance, materials, safety, and more. This gives every worker, no matter where they are located, the information needed to do their jobs—putting jobs in construction on par with the flexibility seen across other industries that have remote-access capabilities.
5. ELIMINATES COSTLY ERRORS
Jobsite mistakes, budget overages, and project delays are costly in time and revenues but also in worker well-being. Technology on the jobsite continues to streamline construction projects and tasks, quashing frustrating, potentially dangerous mistakes, shoring up budgets and eliminating undue stress on workers.
Advanced virtual- and augmented-reality technologies are eliminating errors that take place between the blueprint and the actual building by projecting blueprints in real space. While simple, cloud-based project management solutions track job progress, keep schedules in line and ensure that materials, equipment and people are in the most effective and efficient locations. All of which stands to remove human error from your operations while increasing employee satisfaction and loyalty on highly functioning jobsites.
With growth forecasted in the residential and non-residential construction sectors, the industry’s outlook remains hot for 2022—meaning the opportunities are plenty for field and office workers. Take steps now to ensure your company attracts and holds onto the best in the business. By investing in and embracing construction tech, you can one up your competition and win the recruitment and retention game.
About the Author:
Mike Merrill is co-founder and chief evangelist of WorkMax by AboutTime Technologies and host of The Mobile Workforce Podcast. Mike has been an entrepreneur and business owner in the construction and technology industry for nearly three decades. For more, visit workmax.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, June 2022
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