Today’s labor pool is not deep; therefore, employee retention, attraction, and recruitment present ongoing challenges for most companies. 

Due to today’s fierce competition for workers, attracting new employees isn’t as easy as it once was—and neither is recruiting the best ones. 

Given these two pain points, company leaders are wise to concentrate on retaining current employees instead of deploying vast amounts of expense and energy recruiting new people. The goal becomes keeping—and developing—the people you have.

Successful leaders have had to possess a variety of characteristics to earn the respect and loyalty of their employees. This hasn’t changed, but it now requires a more concentrated effort. What can be done?


Long-term retention happens in a positive work environment that includes an atmosphere of trust and employees seeing how their jobs make a difference. They also stay with organizations offering professional development and career advancement through mentoring, coaching, and/or training. Consistency of leadership and company culture are also important; therefore, succession planning helps with retention, too. To foster a positive work environment, take these steps: 

  1. Provide genuine recognition to individuals and teams for their accomplishments. Acknowledge how they contribute to the organization’s vision, mission, goals, strategic initiatives, or other meaningful actions. Showing gratitude for jobs well done goes a long way.
  2. Be open-minded and listen, sincerely listen. Your employees have ideas and opinions that could make improvements, so hear them out. Remaining open-minded and letting go of biases greatly contribute to creating a positive work environment. 
  3. Ineffective communication from a leader can cause confusion, worry, chaos, frustration, and mistrust. It requires determining what’s causing the problem and making changes. Examples:
  • When you’re rushed—slow down, delegate, empower, and develop solid messages.
  • When you don’t have defined goals and priorities—provide clarity to avoid confusion. 
  • When you don’t choose your words wisely—use clear messages to generate excitement, enthusiasm, and engagement.

Establishing a positive work environment isn’t the only tool you have, but it’s a great place to start. 


When employees move on from the “devil they know” to the “devil they don’t know,” it can be due to lack of trust, poor communication, being overworked, feeling underappreciated, and more. Numerous studies show that employees quit because of their bosses—something you may have experienced yourself. Instead, insist on developing and refining the “soft skills” of those who supervise others in your organization. 


Avoid the mistake of promoting someone who isn’t ready to take on greater responsibilities. Whether a candidate is a jobsite foreman, a production supervisor, a director, a senior level leader, or someone in a support position, that person may not have developed the skills necessary to be effective in their new role. Plus promoting someone who isn’t qualified affects your credibility as well as your ability to retain good people. 


What actions–or inactions–are causing employees to quit in your organization? What can you do?

About the Coach:

As a leadership development expert, Randy Goruk works with construction industry leaders to improve employee engagement and business growth. Contact Randy directly to learn how he can help you and your team: For more, visit

Modern Contractor Solutions, September 2022
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