Building a Bright Future: The Positive Impact of School District-Construction Company Partnerships on Construction Recruiting
Angela Robbins Taylor, MHRM, CNE, CNC
Defining our communities by providing places to gather, work, worship, learn, and share our culture is the core of the construction industry. Its sole purpose is to create the built environment where the future can be imagined, designed, and turned into reality. Where the crossroads of education and innovation will meet is in a building designed and built by construction workers. Construction is the silent partner that allows society’s rich and engaging interactions, and it has been since the beginning of time. However, the industry often faces challenges in recruiting and retaining skilled workers.
At the same time, another industry that has been charged with developing our future is education. One builds the mind the other the built environment used to house the classes. Why then is the connection between the two industries not thriving to create a pathway for students to enter the lucrative, rewarding, and socially and economically impacting world of construction after they leave their high schools? Often the lack of interaction lies in the lack of understanding between both groups of what is at stake.
Like any business the construction industry operates off supply and demand. Never in the history of construction has the supply lagged so far behind the demand as it is today with the skilled workforce. I see three main reasons that construction as an industry must invest in partnering with learning institutions to create a better talent pipeline.
1. If they don’t see it, they won’t be it.
Partnerships between school districts and construction companies provide students with early exposure to the construction industry and its career pathways. Career exploration, on-site visits, and guest speakers from construction companies can spark interest and inspire students to consider careers in construction from a young age. This exposure helps break down stereotypes and misconceptions about the industry, attracting a diverse range of talent.
Furthermore, hands-on experiences, such as internships and apprenticeships, give students a taste of what it's like to work in construction. This practical exposure often leads to higher engagement and interest in pursuing construction careers, ultimately benefiting the recruiting efforts of construction companies.
2. Developing a Skilled Workforce
One of the most significant benefits of school district-construction company partnerships is the development of a skilled workforce for recruiting. By working together, these entities can create structured vocational programs and apprenticeships tailored to the construction industry's needs. This allows students to receive hands-on training and education that aligns with the skills and qualifications required in the field before they even graduate from high school. This maximizes potential for both company and school while elevating the earning power of the student.
Construction companies often provide valuable input to school districts regarding curriculum development, ensuring that students are learning the most up-to-date industry standards. This collaboration not only prepares students for rewarding careers in construction but also ensures that construction companies have access to a pool of well-trained and motivated recruits.
3. Tailored Training Programs
Collaboration between school districts and construction companies allows for the development of tailored training programs. These programs can be designed to meet the specific needs and requirements of construction companies in the region. Whether it's specialized skills in masonry, carpentry, electrical work, or project management, partnerships enable the customization of training to address the industry's demands.
This tailored approach ensures that recruits are well-prepared to meet the challenges of the construction field, making them more valuable assets to construction companies upon hiring. It also reduces the need for extensive on-the-job training, saving both time and resources for construction employers. This can be achieved with pre-apprenticeship programs, industry sponsored and taught curriculum, and even externships during the summer for current instructors to hone their skills on the newest things trending in the industry. When the training is not simply a generalized overview but a targeted training program of progressive skill development everyone is better prepared for entry to the industry.
The Result: A brighter future through community ties and engagement
Partnerships between school districts and construction companies have the added benefit of strengthening ties with the local community. Construction companies that actively engage with schools demonstrate their commitment to investing in the future workforce of the region. This positive image not only attracts potential recruits but also fosters goodwill within the community.
Additionally, these partnerships can lead to collaboration on community projects, further enhancing the construction company's reputation and contributing to a sense of pride and ownership among residents. This sense of community engagement can be a powerful recruiting tool, as individuals are often drawn to companies that are seen as responsible and caring community members.
School district-construction company partnerships are a win-win solution for both the education sector and the construction industry. They help create a skilled workforce pipeline, provide early exposure to the industry, offer tailored training programs, and strengthen community ties. As these collaborations continue to thrive, construction companies can look forward to more robust recruiting efforts and a brighter future for the construction industry. By investing in education and nurturing talent from a young age, construction companies are not only securing their own success but also contributing to the growth and vitality of their communities. Need help finding someone to partner with? Contact Construction Career Collaborative at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Angela Robbins Taylor, MHRM, CNE, CNC
The construction industry is essential for building the world we live in, but it's also one of the most dangerous professions. Craft professionals of all trades face numerous occupational hazards daily. Ensuring their health and well-being is paramount. In this blog, we'll explore preventive safety measures that not only enhance safety but also elevate the health and well-being of craft professionals.
1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the first line of defense against workplace hazards. Providing craft professionals with the right PPE, such as helmets, safety goggles, gloves, and respiratory protection, is crucial. Regular training on proper PPE usage, maintenance, and inspection is equally essential.
Wearing appropriate PPE not only prevents injuries but also reduces exposure to harmful substances, ensuring better long-term health for craft professionals.
2. Ergonomic Work Practices
Construction work often involves repetitive motions and physically demanding tasks. Ergonomic work practices aim to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders and physical strain. Craft professionals can benefit from:
● Proper Lifting Techniques: Training in lifting heavy objects using the legs, not the back.
● Ergonomically Designed Tools: Tools designed with ergonomic grips and reduced vibration.
● Frequent Breaks: Encouraging short breaks to stretch and relieve muscle tension.
By promoting ergonomic practices, construction companies can enhance the comfort and long-term well-being of their workforce. Also adding a professional preventive program to watch for early warning signs of repetitive strain is a way to implement early intervention and retraining as needed in proper ergonomic work practices.
3. Comprehensive Training and Education
Investing in comprehensive safety training and education is vital for the well-being of craft professionals. These programs should cover a wide range of topics, including hazard recognition, emergency response, and first aid. Regular safety meetings and toolbox talks can reinforce these principles.
Moreover, ongoing training opportunities empower craft professionals to stay updated on the latest safety practices and regulations, ensuring that they have the knowledge and skills to protect themselves and their colleagues.
4. Mental Health Support
Mental health is an often-overlooked aspect of well-being in the construction industry. The demanding nature of the work, long hours, and physical strain can take a toll on craft professionals' mental health. Companies can support their workforce by:
Addressing mental health is essential for elevating the overall well-being of craft professionals and ensuring their long-term success in the industry.
5. Safe Work Environments
A safe work environment is fundamental to the health and well-being of craft professionals. This includes regular inspections, hazard identification, and prompt correction of unsafe conditions. Companies should also encourage craft professionals to report unsafe situations without fear of retaliation.
Safety culture should be ingrained in the workplace, emphasizing that everyone is responsible for their well-being and the well-being of their colleagues.
The health and well-being of craft professionals should be a top priority in the construction industry. Preventive safety measures, including the use of PPE, ergonomic work practices, comprehensive training, mental health support, and safe work environments, not only reduce the risk of accidents but also elevate the quality of life for these skilled individuals. When construction companies prioritize the well-being of their craft professionals, they create a safer, healthier, and more productive workforce that can thrive in the demanding world of construction while enjoying a better quality of life. Construction Career Collaborative (C3) supports safety managers and craft professionals in the pursuit of safety excellence through our safety modules, job hazard analysis sheet, and safety commitment. Find out more on www.C3.org.
Angela Robbins Taylor, MHRM, CNE, CNC
Great projects are built on balance
Commercial construction projects in Houston, Texas require careful management of various factors to ensure success. From cost considerations to project timelines, safety measures, and achieving project goals, every aspect plays a vital role. In this blog, we explore how balancing cost, time, safety, and project goals contributes to the success of commercial construction projects in Houston.
1. Cost Management:
2. Time Optimization:
3. Emphasizing Safety:
4. Achieving Project Goals:
Commercial construction projects in Houston, Texas demand a holistic approach that considers cost, time, safety, and project goals. By managing costs effectively, optimizing project timelines, prioritizing safety measures, and aligning efforts with project objectives, successful outcomes can be achieved. Striking a balance between these key factors will contribute to the overall success and satisfaction of commercial construction projects in Houston, Texas. Remember, meticulous planning, open communication, and a commitment to quality will lay the foundation for prosperous ventures in this dynamic construction landscape. Stay up to date with best practices to help you achieve your goals by signing up for our news brief here.
Nick Guidry, MBA, M.Ed., SHRM-SCP
C3 Contractor Relationship Manager
In the fast-moving world of commercial construction, delivering projects on time and with top-notch quality is crucial for success. An essential part of achieving this lies in using effective workforce development practices. By using modern methods and tools like workforce management software and strategic planning, commercial construction contractors can make their workforce better, boost productivity, and ultimately make projects even better. Let's explore how these practices can transform the commercial construction industry.
To succeed in commercial construction, using effective workforce development practices is a must. Embracing workforce management software, strategic planning, and cloud-based solutions make projects smoother, improves communication, and uses resources wisely. By nurturing a diverse talent pool and supporting the employee workforce, contractors can increase productivity and overall project success. The combination of forward-thinking practices, lasting relationships, and leveraging social media creates a solid foundation for continuous improvement and success in the commercial construction industry.
Want to learn more about managing your construction workforce? Sign up to attend C3’s Driving Business Results through Talent Management course! This course is built by HR experts currently working in the industry and based on the best practices accumulated through trial and error. Sign up today at https://www.c3.org/driving-business-results.html.
Angela Robbins Taylor
Workforce is key to maximizing project success
When it comes to construction projects, building owners often focus on minimizing costs. While cost reduction is a valid concern, it's important to recognize the significant impact that investing in a highly trained and skilled workforce can have on the overall project expenses. In this blog, we will explore the compelling reasons why building owners should invest in a skilled workforce to generate lower overall project costs.
1. Increased Productivity:
A highly trained and skilled workforce brings a higher level of productivity to construction projects. Skilled workers possess the knowledge and expertise necessary to perform tasks efficiently and effectively. Their ability to complete work promptly and accurately reduces downtime and increases overall productivity. With fewer delays and enhanced workflow, projects can be completed within shorter timelines, resulting in lower labor costs and reduced project durations.
2. Minimized Rework and Errors:
A skilled workforce significantly reduces the likelihood of errors and rework in construction projects. Well-trained workers have a deep understanding of construction techniques, quality standards, and best practices. Their expertise helps to ensure that work is done right the first time, minimizing costly mistakes and the need for rework. By investing in training and skill development, building owners can save on additional labor, materials, and time associated with rectifying errors.
3. Efficient Resource Utilization:
Skilled workers are proficient in resource management, resulting in efficient utilization of materials, equipment, and manpower. They have the knowledge to optimize material usage, reducing waste and unnecessary expenses. Additionally, their expertise allows them to make informed decisions when allocating resources, avoiding unnecessary overuse or underutilization. By maximizing resource efficiency, building owners can lower material costs, minimize equipment downtime, and reduce overall project expenses.
4. Improved Safety and Risk Mitigation:
A highly trained and skilled workforce prioritizes safety, mitigating the risk of accidents and injuries on the construction site. Skilled workers are well-versed in safety protocols, regulations, and hazard identification. Their expertise reduces the likelihood of workplace incidents, which can result in costly medical expenses, litigation, project delays, and increased insurance premiums. By investing in a skilled workforce, building owners can proactively prevent accidents, ensuring a safe working environment and avoiding the associated financial implications.
5. Long-Term Return on Investment (ROI):
Investing in a highly trained and skilled workforce offers long-term cost savings and a favorable return on investment. Skilled workers not only deliver high-quality work and complete projects efficiently but also contribute to a positive reputation for the building owner and the construction company. A satisfied client base, referrals, and repeat business can be attributed to the superior craftsmanship and professionalism exhibited by a skilled workforce. This, in turn, generates greater business opportunities, enhances profitability, and secures long-term success.
When Owners Ask:
Owners are the key to creating safe and productive projects through a dedicated effort to ensure that the contractors on their jobs are investing in workforce. While the upfront cost of creating a highly trained and skilled workforce may seem significant, it is a strategic decision that leads to lower overall project costs. Through increased productivity, minimized rework, efficient resource utilization, improved safety practices, and long-term return on investment, building owners can achieve substantial savings. By recognizing the value of a skilled workforce and committing to their ongoing development, building owners can optimize project outcomes, elevate the quality of construction, and ultimately generate cost savings that contribute to their bottom line. Investing in a highly trained and skilled workforce is an investment in both the success of individual construction projects and the long-term prosperity of the building owner and is a by-product of deeming a project as C3. Call or email us to ensure your next project minimizes problems, maximizes productivity and quality, and creates the pathway for a skilled workforce of tomorrow. Reach me at (713)999-1013 or email@example.com.
Enhancing Safety and Well-being: 5 Essential Components of a Commercial Construction Jobsite Accident Prevention Plan
Angela Robbins Taylor
Prevention isn’t perfection, it is culture
Creating a comprehensive accident prevention plan is crucial in ensuring the safety and well-being of craft professionals working on commercial construction jobsites. By implementing effective safety measures, construction companies can minimize risks and promote a culture of safety.
Five Key Components for Accident Prevention
This is not an exhaustive article on how to engineer all risks or event specific risks out of your job, but it is a practical outline of how to prepare a prevention plan that can help identify and eliminate the things that lead to accidents.
1. Risk Assessment and Hazard Identification:
Risk assessment and hazard identification should take place every day and become part of the actual work of performing their craft for all craft professionals. Training in identifying hazards as well as a good job hazard or task hazard analysis form will assist workers in being more thoroughly prepared for the things that might be encountered while completing their work. When asking craft professionals to conduct this piece of your prevention plan keep these three items at the forefront of the conversation.
2. Safety Policies and Procedures:
Written safety policies and procedures should be shared with craft professionals prior to their arrival on any jobsite. Additionally, as changes are made to the policies, procedures, or new regulations come out with regard to the work that a craft professional will be performing it is imperative that the accident prevention plan be updated and communicated. Ensuring you develop and enforce comprehensive safety policies and procedures tailored to the specific jobsite and tasks will increase the chances of accident prevention. Additionally, clearly communicating these policies to all craft professionals and ensuring they have access to written documentation is critical. Once the initial policy and procedures are documented it is wise to set up a routine and regularly review and update the protocols to reflect best practices as well as lessons learned from the jobsite.
3. Training and Education:
While it is not always possible to provide in classroom training or education covering every possible item in the accident prevention plan, it is important that safety training for craft professionals and safety professionals is part of the plan. Follow these three steps:
4. Safety Equipment and Tools:
Ensure that all necessary safety equipment and tools are available and in good working condition. Provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including hard hats, safety glasses, high-visibility clothing, gloves, and respiratory protection. Regularly inspect and maintain equipment, such as scaffolding, ladders, and power tools, to ensure they meet safety standards. Empowering people to use PPE and maintaining the equipment used to perform their craft is critical to accident prevention.
5. Ongoing Communication and Reporting:
Communication plays a critical part in all aspects of our projects and is equally important to creating a culture of safety for your workforce. Encourage open communication among craft professionals regarding safety concerns or near-miss incidents. Additionally, establish a system for reporting accidents, injuries, and near misses promptly to ensure proactive notifications to safety teams of issues. Finally, analyze reported incidents to identify trends and implement corrective actions to prevent future accidents.
Prioritizing safety and well-being on commercial construction jobsites is paramount to protect the craft professionals who build our infrastructure. By incorporating these five main components into an accident prevention plan—risk assessment, safety policies, training, equipment, and communication—companies can create a safer working environment, reduce accidents, and promote the overall well-being of their workforce. Remember, safety should never be compromised, and continual improvement is key to fostering a culture of safety on construction sites.
Need help getting started with your safety plan? Take advantage of C3's JHA template C3.org.
Nick Guidry, MBA, M.Ed., SHRM-SCP
C3 Contractor Relationship Manager
In the world of construction, skill development and continuous learning play a vital role in career advancement. Whether you're an aspiring or seasoned carpenter, electrician, plumber, or any other craft professional, finding the right training opportunities is essential for honing your skills and staying ahead in the industry. Thankfully, there are numerous avenues available today that offer specialized craft training programs. In this article, we'll explore some of the best places where construction craft professionals can find the training they need to support their career development, such as:
1. Trade Associations and Unions.
Trade associations are excellent resources for craft professionals seeking training opportunities. These organizations often offer a wide range of educational programs, workshops, and certifications tailored to specific crafts. They have a vested interest in developing skilled professionals and ensuring industry standards are met. Reach out to trade associations related to your craft and inquire about their training programs.
Some examples of top-tier trade association educational offerings:
2. Community and Technical Colleges.
Community and technical colleges are renowned for providing comprehensive vocational training programs, and Houston is home to some of the best. These institutions offer courses and certifications that cater to a diverse range of construction trades. Whether you're just starting out or looking to enhance your existing skills, community and technical colleges are an excellent option. They typically offer flexible schedules, hands-on training, and industry connections that can be invaluable for career development. Check out some of the following:
3. Apprenticeship Programs.
Apprenticeship programs have long been a traditional route for construction craft professionals to gain hands-on experience and develop their skills. These programs typically combine on-the-job training with classroom instruction. By enrolling in an apprenticeship, you can learn from experienced professionals while earning a wage. Many industry associations and government agencies offer apprenticeship programs. Research and apply to programs that align with your craft and career goals.
4. Manufacturer and Supplier Programs.
Many manufacturers and suppliers in the construction industry provide training programs and workshops to familiarize professionals with their products and installation techniques. These programs are often designed to enhance your understanding of specific materials, tools, and equipment. By participating in these programs, you not only gain knowledge but also build relationships with industry experts and stay updated with the latest industry trends.
Continuous skill development is vital for career growth and success. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting your journey, investing in your own craft skill is a wise decision. By exploring the avenues mentioned above – trade associations, community colleges, apprenticeship programs, and manufacturer programs – you can find the training opportunities that best suit your needs and career aspirations. Remember, learning is a lifelong process, and embracing training opportunities will help you stay ahead in the ever-evolving industry. So, go ahead, seek out the right training programs, and take your craft to new heights!
Need some help figuring out which path you should take on your career journey? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help get you connected!
Angela Robbins Taylor
As a construction employer, offering a competitive benefit program is crucial for attracting and retaining skilled workers. However, with so many options available, it can be challenging to determine what benefits to offer and how to ensure they are competitive. That's where benchmarking comes in.
What is Benchmarking
Benchmarking involves comparing your construction workforce benefit program to industry standards to ensure you are providing competitive offerings. Here are five steps to help you benchmark your benefit program to industry standards.
Step 1: Identify Key Benefit Areas
The first step in benchmarking your benefit program is to identify key areas to compare. Some common areas to benchmark include health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, training and development, bonus and incentive programs, employee assistance programs, and work-life balance initiatives. It is not necessary to have all these benefit areas and it is not advisable to try to benchmark all programs at one time. Identifying a few key areas to tackle at a one time is the best strategy to creating a practical and scalable plan for change if needed.
Providing comprehensive health insurance coverage is a significant benefit for construction workers.
Offering retirement plans, such as 401(k) or pension plans, is crucial for helping workers save for their future.
Paid Time Off
Paid Time Off (PTO) policies include vacation, holidays, and sick leave. It is important to ensure workers receive appropriate time off and maintain work-life balance.
Training and Development
Construction workers value opportunities for skill development and career advancement. Training and development programs might include apprenticeship opportunities and certifications but should always ensure workers receive necessary training and growth opportunities.
Bonus and Incentive Programs
Implementing performance-based bonus and incentive programs can motivate workers and reward exceptional performance.
Employee Assistance Programs
Offering employee assistance programs (EAPs) can provide workers with resources for mental health support, counseling, and other personal challenges.
Work-Life Balance Initiatives
Work-life balance initiatives, such as flexible work schedules, remote work options, and family-friendly policies, can attract and retain workers seeking a healthy work-life balance and are increasingly important to younger generations entering the workforce.
Step 2: Collect Data
Once you have identified the key areas your company will benchmark, you will need to collect data. This can involve researching industry norms and best practices, analyzing data from surveys and studies, and reaching out to industry peers to gather information on their benefit programs. Making sure your data is accurate and correlates to what is reported for industries will help when seeking to compare your programs to those offered across the construction industry.
Step 3: Compare Your Program to Industry Standards
After collecting data, you can compare your benefit program to industry standards. This involves analyzing your benefit offerings and comparing them to what other construction companies offer. You can use data from surveys, industry reports, and other sources to determine where your benefit program falls in comparison to the industry. Additionally, serving on a committee for HR or Talent Development with an association will provide insight into industry trends and analysis of your data for your benchmarking efforts.
Step 4: Identify Gaps and Opportunities
Based on your comparison to industry standards, you can identify any gaps or areas where your benefit program may fall short. You can also identify opportunities to improve your program and offer more competitive benefits to your construction workforce.
Step 5: Make Changes
Once you have identified gaps and opportunities, you can make changes to your benefit program to align with industry standards. When looking for ways to implement changes, it is often advisable to engage those that will be rolling out the new programs to assess feasibility and structure as well as those that will be receiving the new benefits. Ensuring that everyone sees value in the change prevents the need to re-align programs that do not generate the intended impact.
Best in class Talent Management
Benchmarking your construction workforce benefit program to industry standards can help you attract and retain skilled workers and stay competitive in the labor market. By identifying gaps and opportunities and making changes to your benefit program, you can offer a more attractive package that meets the needs of your workforce.
Benchmarked programs are always the best in class and the ones that attract and retain the best talent. Construction Career Collaborative (C3) encourages you to join our Talent Management Committee to boost your efforts to benchmark and create the highest quality engagement for your construction workforce. Contact Nick Guidry at email@example.com to learn more.
Nick Guidry, MBA, M.Ed., SHRM-SCP
C3 Relationship Manager
In the highly competitive commercial construction industry, having a skilled and well-trained workforce is paramount to winning bids, forecasting staffing, and ensuring company sustainability. To meet the industry's demands and overcome the shortage of qualified workers, contractors must forge partnerships with skilled trade partners such as community colleges, trade schools, professional trade associations, and organizations like C3. Today, we will examine the benefits and advantages of these skilled trade partner collaborations in supporting and enhancing the current industry workforce and the commercial construction workforce of the future.
1. Skilled Trade Partner Relationships Increase Access to Diverse Talent Pools:
Partnering with training providers opens doors to a vast and diverse talent population of aspiring craft professionals. Community colleges and trade schools offer programs that equip students with the knowledge and practical skills needed for various roles in the construction industry from operations-focused professional staff to craft workers trained in the latest technical competencies.
By establishing relationships with these institutions, contractors gain access to a pipeline of potential employees who are eager to enter the workforce. This ensures a continuous supply of skilled workers to support ongoing and future projects, reducing the time and effort required for recruitment.
2. Partners allow you to Tailor your Training Programs:
Training providers are experts in developing curriculum and training programs; however, with the assistance of the contracting community serving in an advisory capacity, these programs and curriculum sets can be tailored to the needs of the construction industry. By collaborating with these institutions, commercial construction contractors can contribute to the design and implementation of specialized training programs that align with their specific specialties and anticipated industry needs. In this model, the industry becomes the skilled trade partner to the education system and curriculum developers.
This ensures that workers are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their roles. Contractors can actively participate in shaping the training curriculum, incorporating industry best practices, safety standards, and emerging technologies, resulting in a workforce that is well-prepared to tackle complex construction projects and reduce the need to upskill on the job site.
3. Develop Industry Insights and Networking:
Trade associations and industry-specific training providers offer more than just technical or professional education. They provide valuable industry insights, updates on regulatory changes, and networking opportunities. By partnering with these organizations, contractors gain access to a wealth of knowledge, trends, and advancements in the construction industry. They can stay informed about the latest technologies, materials, and construction techniques.
Additionally, networking events and conferences organized by these entities allow contractors to connect with industry professionals, fostering collaboration, sharing best practices, and staying ahead of the competition.
4. Partnering with Apprenticeship and Mentorship Programs:
Collaborating with training providers enables contractors to establish apprenticeship and mentorship programs. These initiatives provide a structured learning environment for aspiring craft professionals, combining classroom education with on-the-job training.
Contractors can recruit apprentices and provide them with hands-on experience under the guidance of experienced mentors. This not only helps fill the skills gap but also ensures the transfer of knowledge and expertise from seasoned professionals to the next generation of craft professionals. Such programs promote long-term loyalty, as highly skilled craft workers become loyal employees who contribute to the contractor's workforce success.
Partnerships between contractors and skilled trade training providers are a win-win situation for both parties. By collaborating with community colleges, trade schools, industry trade associations, and organizations like C3, contractors gain access to a pool of talented individuals, benefit from tailored training programs, tap into industry insights, and establish workforce initiatives. These partnerships create a skilled and well-prepared workforce that drives the success of commercial construction projects while addressing the industry's labor shortage.
Need help finding the right partners for your program? Reach out to C3 today for help!
Angela Robbins Taylor
Collaboration is key to success in the construction industry. In an era where projects are becoming increasingly complex, construction owners must recognize the value of collaboration and actively foster a collaborative culture. By working together with stakeholders, contractors, and designers, construction owners can unlock numerous benefits that lead to project success. In this article, we will explore five significant advantages that collaboration brings to construction owners.
Enhanced Project Planning and Design:
Collaboration allows construction owners to tap into the expertise of architects, engineers, and contractors during the project planning and design phases. By involving key stakeholders from the beginning, owners can gain valuable insights and perspectives. Collaborative discussions enable the exploration of innovative ideas, identification of potential challenges, and development of practical solutions. This collaborative approach results in well-informed decisions, optimized designs, and more efficient project planning.
Improved Project Cost and Schedule Management:
Collaboration plays a crucial role in effective cost and schedule management. By involving contractors and suppliers in the planning stages, construction owners can benefit from their practical expertise and accurate cost estimations. Collaborative scheduling ensures that all stakeholders are aligned on project timelines, milestones, and critical path activities. This alignment minimizes delays, reduces costly change orders, and enhances overall project efficiency, leading to better cost control and timely project delivery.
Scheduling through collaboration
Collaboration in scheduling needs to include:
Utilizing digital plans and platforms to achieve better schedule adherence is possible in real-time with all parties. Proactively looking at the work schedule with the input of trade partners and designers can impact schedule adherence. Through identification of work overlap and more accurate planning for when arrival of workforce and materials on jobsites the team can effectively prevent slow down or stoppage of workflow.
Enhanced Risk Mitigation and Problem Solving:Collaboration enables construction owners to proactively identify and address potential risks and challenges. By bringing together diverse perspectives, owners can conduct comprehensive risk assessments and develop strategies for mitigating those risks. Collaborative problem-solving fosters a proactive approach to resolving issues and ensures that potential roadblocks are addressed efficiently. This proactive stance helps owners minimize disruptions, maintain project momentum, and ultimately achieve successful project outcomes.
Increased Quality and Innovation:Collaboration promotes a culture of continuous improvement and innovation within construction projects. When owners collaborate with contractors and designers, they encourage open dialogue and the exchange of ideas. This environment nurtures a sense of ownership and shared responsibility for project outcomes. Through collaborative efforts, construction owners can harness innovative solutions, cutting-edge technologies, and industry best practices. This leads to enhanced project quality, optimized construction methodologies, and increased client satisfaction.
Strengthened Relationships and Stakeholder Satisfaction:Successful collaboration builds strong relationships among all project stakeholders. By involving contractors, designers, and suppliers throughout the project lifecycle, construction owners establish a sense of trust, respect, and teamwork. Strong relationships foster effective communication, transparent decision-making, and efficient conflict resolution. Collaborative efforts also result in increased stakeholder satisfaction as their needs and expectations are prioritized. Satisfied stakeholders are more likely to become repeat clients and refer to the owner's services, which enhances the owner's reputation and business growth.
Collaboration making building better:In the construction industry, collaboration is a powerful tool that construction owners can harness to drive project success. By embracing a collaborative approach, owners can benefit from enhanced project planning and design, improved cost and schedule management, effective risk mitigation, increased quality and innovation, and strengthened relationships with stakeholders. Ultimately, collaboration empowers construction owners to deliver projects that meet or exceed expectations, ensuring their long-term success in the industry. To learn more about how owners are collaborating for better quality built environments sign up for the C3 News brief today.
Nick Guidry, M.B.A., M.Ed., SHRM-SCP
C3 Relationship Manager
Almost 20 years ago, the Pew Research Center coined the term “silver tsunami” to describe the average worker age increase and the projected impacts of mass retirements. These projected labor losses not only have an impact on contractor capability but also on industry sustainability.
Experienced craft professionals rapidly exiting the industry, coupled with a shrinking emerging workforce, has created a void where institutional knowledge is lost. In this environment, contractors’ operations and production efforts cannot build momentum, which limits the safety, skills development, and sustainability of the entire industry.
K-12, postsecondary, nonprofits, government, and contractors must come together to address this great need. However, the work of creating the next shift in the construction workforce and shepherding industry knowledge begins in K-12 and is spearheaded by CTE Directors.
This article will address effective methods to communicate industry opportunities and the benefits of being a construction worker to students and their parents.
The Realities of Opportunity in the Construction Industry
The most important strategic decision a CTE Director must make is how CTE programs can align with high-wage, in-demand, and high-skill occupations. To effectively understand relaying the benefits of construction work to students requires an understanding of the wage, demand, and skill development opportunities in construction.
Understanding the economic and workforce outlook for the industry creates an environment for CTE Directors and teachers to have candid discussions with vocational-track students and their parents about the fantastic opportunities in high-skilled construction work.
3 Keys to Conversations about the Benefits of Being a Construction Worker
To ensure that conversations about construction careers are fruitful, C3 promotes dialogue that focuses on both economic opportunity in the trades and the potential for professional growth.
1. Talk About Income
According to the NCCER’s 2022 Construction Craft Salary Survey, of the 41 construction positions surveyed, average annual salaries ranged from $49,920 to $98,965. These are precursory earnings and are estimated to grow by 3.2% based on economic indicators.
However, when coupled with an effective CTE strategy, an environment is created in which graduates with a technical license or certifications outpace bachelor’s degree holders. According to the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE):
It is critical that both the industry and CTE program staff speak to students and parents about the reality of earnings in the industry compared with other industries. Furthermore, this conversation should involve a candid discussion about the impact of the 7.1 trillion-dollar student debt load on the emerging workforce's financial life.
2. Talk About the Sustainability of the Industry
The sustainability of the construction workforce has been a hot topic for both economic analysts and the companies that comprise the industry. The terms “Great Resignation” and “Quiet Quitting” have fueled clickbait over the past four years. However, C3 and our mission-aligned general and specialty contractors have championed transformation in the industry.
The sustainability of the construction workforce is founded in the following areas:
3. Talk about Helping the Community
One thing that my C3 colleagues and I hear repetitively from craft professionals is the pride in the projects that they work on in the Houston market. These workers tell stories of driving around their communities with their children and being able to point out the vehicle’s window and declare, “I was a part of the building of that.”
These workers have had a lasting impact on the very face of their communities. This is a long-lasting legacy. Students and parents should be assisted in understanding that not only can a construction career lead to a tangible legacy related to builds, but also for communities to create economic empowerment, greater access to opportunity, and entry into entrepreneurship.
Learn More About Leveraging Industry Partners
The best CTE Directors are leveraging industry partners to help them spread the word through knowledge and hands-on demonstrations or in-class presentations.
C3 can assist CTE Directors with introductions to industry partners through our C3 Educational Advisory Board and Industry Outreach events.
To learn more, sign up for the C3 News Brief, follow us on LinkedIn, or leverage the Contact Us form on our website. We would love to share more insights directly with you about the benefits of being a construction worker to assist students in your school district.
Nick Guidry, M.B.A., M.Ed., SHRM-SCP
C3 Relationship Manager
According to the 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey published by the “Big Four” professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), “the Fourth Industrial Revolution has ushered in new business models and new ways of working that require critical new technical, digital, and soft skills. Those skills, however, are in very short supply.”
The construction industry is not excluded from this rapid shift in how we work, which is why implementing an upskilling program is critical for companies in the industry.
Why is Upskilling Important?
Hewlett-Packard released a report in 2022 that provided an analysis of skill development across many different industries, including construction. The report cites that “advances in technology have made upskilling necessary [across] the entire AEC industry.”
Upskilling includes all functional areas of organizations. Specifically, the lack of critical skills held by craft professionals could prove to impede business goals and increase human capital costs in the commercial construction industry for decades to come.
The dual impacts of the “greying of the workforce” and the global labor shortage require decisive action to be taken today. If not, the industry will face the compounding effects of ignoring the problem and the expense of placing bandages on symptoms.
These skills gaps, if unaddressed, will directly hurt the industry in the following ways:
The key is understanding how to implement a program to prevent these issues from negatively impacting the industry. It starts with gaining clarity on exactly what upskilling is.
What is Upskilling?The Britain-based learning and development organization, Growth Engineering, defines upskilling as “a focus on the improvement of skill sets of your existing workforce by training for additional skills or strengthening previous knowledge.”
The practice of upskilling is founded on leaders being “forward-leaning” and forecasting solutions that meet the demands of the rapid pace of business, economic, or technological transformation, as well as innovation.
Fundamentally, it must be understood that skills training is not a short-term solution or a quick fix to maintain company growth. Upskilling, and, in general, skills training, is an investment in the long-term performance and retention of the workforce.
Both employee engagement and overall retention rates increase when employees are offered clear career development pathways designed to improve their knowledge, skills, abilities, and competency.
- Patrice Low of the Cengage Group asserts, “Employees want to understand future career opportunities and what skills, competencies, and capabilities they need to get there.”
- Susan Vroman and Tiffany Danko state the following in an article entitled “How to Build a Successful Upskilling Program,” published in the Harvard Business Review:
The questions for company operational and HR leaders become …
Let’s answer these questions.
Identifying and Implementing an Upskilling Program for Your Workforce
The first step in the critical alignment of the need for skills development with business goals is identifying those skills that will be needed to answer the challenges the company will face in the next one to three years.
Cross-functionally, the leaders of the organization can segment the skills gap analysis into the following areas:
Once the critical skills identification process is completed, the competent organization moves toward assessing employee competencies. The competency mapping process provides a performance baseline for the workforce and creates a mechanism for assessing progress. How does this work? Take a look at this C3 blog for a review of the competency mapping process.
The final step is the development of upskilling goals. In general, this process involves examining the baselines that the company developed during the competency mapping process and determining the future skills that the market is demanding to fill these skills gaps.
Here the organization's leaders can create a list of the most in-demand skills for each career role. There will not be 20 or 30 key skills, nor will the leader have to address every competency, but there will be 3 to 5 key skills that training can be mapped to enhance employee skills.
This analysis can be even more effective using employee surveys or sensing sessions that provide a deeper understanding of the technical skills that employees carry out daily and the specific challenges inherent in their work. These sessions increase employee involvement and ownership of the upskilling process.
There are many modalities for skill development that can be of value. However, the most common ones are as follows:
The final step in implementing upskilling is to continuously examine the success of the initiative. The most illuminating metrics for training programs are if the employees retain the new skills and can competently translate the training into action on the job.
The company must be able to map the development of key skills and track progress, preferably through a skills evaluation or annual appraisal program. Tracking skill development for each employee allows the organization to track people metrics at a granule level. These other metrics could include:
Now, you are positioned to track the growth of each employee, team, and role. This effort will support your retention efforts in building a competent, capable, and motivated workforce.
The Impact of Upskilling on Employee Retention
Upskilling creates a clear pathway to building best-in-class employers of choice. World-class learning organizations fill critical knowledge gaps, help employees be more capable, and, most importantly in today’s economy, increase employee retention.
According to 360Learning, a successful Learning Management System vendor, “successful upskilling programs prove that employees don’t need to job-hop between companies to advance their careers or change their career path.”
When companies focus on competency mapping and future-based skills development, the leaders have created an effective retention campaign focused on the following:
Learn More About the Value of Upskilling
As you can see, upskilling is critical for the future success of the construction industry. We encourage stakeholders to develop and implement an upskilling program as part of a larger commitment to positively impacting the future of the industry by investing in craft workers.
To learn more about other key topics, sign up for the C3 News Brief and follow us on LinkedIn. Get access to the latest tips and tricks to creating a safer, better-skilled, and more sustainable craft workforce.
Angela Robbins Taylor
Safety Management Systems (SMS) was not a thing in the past. But if you look back over the last four decades in the construction industry, a lot has changed.
In the 1970s, it was simpler and probably cheaper just to pay a fine than support the safety of the workforce through training, equipment, and process improvement. Now, safety is of utmost importance.
Find out why focusing on construction safety management can result in positive outcomes for your projects.
Construction Safety Management: Less Risk; More Reward
Construction safety has undergone a systemic overhaul in the last few decades to create a culture that values the employee over the profit. This culture creates a more enticing career opportunity for those coming into the industry.
Safety culture generates more for companies than just goodwill with employees. Safer jobs keep insurance premiums down, create better customer satisfaction, and create a better jobsite for all trades. The key to creating a strong safety culture is to manage risk and empower employees.
Managing risk boils down to two key areas:
1. General Safety Awareness
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers an entire catalog of safety courses. If you are not a professional in the safety world, it can be daunting to sort through all the options. Start by thinking about the general awareness needed by all employees, especially those in the field, and follow up with items that are more specific to your trade.
At the minimum, general safety awareness can be garnered from the completion of a course like OSHA 10. Oftentimes, this course is seen as the only general awareness course necessary for entry-level employees.
However, an introduction to a safety mindset that is unique and specific to your organization complements the 10-hour general course with the specifics you find to be most important. As craft workers progress through their careers, increasing their knowledge of general issues in safety and how to lead safety programs is critical.
Safety leadership courses and safety for supervisors can be sourced through OSHA or community colleges, union halls, or community-based training organizations. However, once you source the information, it is critical that all employees speak the same safety language and understand how to spot hazards and manage risk for themselves and their teams.
Each trade will need specific courses that apply to their work in order to create a safe working environment for the craft workforce. Staying engaged in safety education should be a primary method for keeping safety awareness at the forefront of all construction workforce.
Additionally, as each job is being prepped and the workforce assigned, it is necessary to check the credentials and certifications that are necessary to complete the job. Keeping on top of safety training and ensuring that each time a competent person is provided for the jobsite is critical. A little extra specialized safety training reduces risk significantly for the entire project.
2. Hazard Analysis and Mitigation
Beyond training, it is critical that all employees are able to identify potential hazards and plan to reduce risk in their work through mitigation or elimination of the hazard.
As work begins each day, it is important that the focus starts with safety. For this reason, as safety management systems have been designed and implemented, job hazard analysis (JHA) or job safety analysis (JSA) have become best practice.
Start each shift with a review of the planned work, the potential hazards, and the correct options for reducing risk. Then, discuss the plan with the entire team. This effort will create a sense of being valued by each other and the company.
Trade partners that do not utilize the JHA/JSA process are missing a critical step that creates a safety culture inside their company. Having everyone on the same page before work begins sends people home safely and willing to return to work the next day.
Safety is personal, and it is corporate. Safe job sites are the responsibility of everyone present. However, there is a hierarchy in the workforce that sometimes keeps individuals from feeling empowered to stop work when they see issues for fear of being wrong or retaliation or even lost time in production.
When we fail to give employees the power to stop work (Stop Work Authority or SWA), we communicate that they are not valuable and that their expertise and observations are devalued. Giving employees the right and encouraging them to own the safety of their jobs is a powerful tool for creating engaged and loyal employees.
Empowering employees also trickles out in the community. The general population will see safe workers performing jobs in the public eye, increasing the reputation of construction work as respectable work performed by highly skilled workers.
Build Your Safety Programs With C3
From our inception, Construction Career Collaborative (C3) has seen that safety is key to raising the playing field for our workforce. Creating a pipeline of employees for the craft trades requires that the employers have safety and skills training at the forefront of all they do.
We have developed a set of safety modules that can be used on jobsites to refresh the safety mindset on general safety awareness. Additionally, our safety committee has created a basic JHA for use by anyone who doesn’t have their own format.
Safety is critical to job performance. You can create a safe culture in your company that your employees want and deserve.
Want to help us plan the next set of safety support services to be offered by C3? Find out how to join our safety committee to help us lead the way in supporting construction safety management.
Angela Robbins Taylor
Every project should be a quality project.
Every team should be a quality team.
And every day should demonstrate commitment to excellence in quality management.
Lean Six Sigma tells us that quality is a key predictor of customer satisfaction and that managing the quality of our product reduces rework and delivers a better result for owners and contractors alike.
Let’s dig deeper into how we can make a quality improvement in construction projects.
Designing a Quality Management Process
Each trade partner has a role to play in the final project delivery. Therefore, they must each have a way of measuring and managing the output of their teams for quality standards. Contracting companies should follow two key steps when developing a quality management system.
Prepare for Quality Assurance
Quality touches many aspects of construction processes, including:
There are always some things that are beyond the contractor’s control, such as a product defect. However, it is possible to create higher-quality deliverables with planning.
When designing a quality assurance program, it should be linked to the company’s long-term strategy and focus on the most critical elements that impact the deliverable the customer receives. When preparing for quality assurance, companies should include the following:
1. Identifying Root Causes for Current Quality Issues
Before implementing any new program, assessing your current state of work is crucial. Not only do you have to consider what is an acceptable outcome, but you have to think about how it can effectively alter your work.
If specific errors are recurrent in your work, digging into the root cause will provide insight into how to prevent them through process, product, and training changes.
2. Defining Quality Standards
Once the issues have been identified and a cause for current quality errors is determined, it is time to define acceptable quality standards for the contractor.
Quality standards could include:
A company could approach this definition as a collaborative action with the field and office working together to determine what can be completed in a project environment. Including your field experts in this definition will also lay the groundwork for quicker adoption of the program when it rolls out to the company because they had a voice in defining what would be expected.
3. Delivering Training
Now that a contractor has identified the recurrent errors and has defined the quality measurements going forward, it is essential to train employees who the quality management process will impact. Again, based on what was uncovered in the root cause analysis, this may include various training programs.
At a minimum, it should include the following:
Program Rollout Training
Training must be a key component before the start date when a company institutes any new program, from quality to vacation to benefits. Ensuring that all employees, both in the field and office, are comfortable with their roles and how the new program impacts them is critical to keeping employees engaged and ready to assist the company in achieving its goals.
Identify all the different job roles affected and the level of training or awareness they might need to support the program. Sometimes the training may be an email or notification that a new program is happening. Other times, it should be a more in-depth overview of how the program will impact a specific set of processes for doing work.
If you ask your employees to deliver a better product to your customer, you must enable them to build the skills necessary.
Developing and delivering skills training to ensure a high-quality workforce starts with assessing their current and needed skill levels and identifying how to close the gap between the two levels. Some examples include:
However you address the skills training ensures that safety is addressed as well.
Implement a quality management process
All the pieces you have created must then be rolled into a process allowing the company to manage and measure the effective change in quality output.
The implementation should include a process that is:
Quality Improvement in Construction Projects: Deliver with Intention
“Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort. – John Ruskin.
As with most things that make a difference to a company’s bottom line, your intention drives change. Therefore, creating a simple and easily replicated program throughout different offices and geographies or with other departments is critical.
Do you need help understanding how to design for replicability and leverage our simple process for designing training programs that define good and evaluate performance? Contact us today to get access to your free design tools and discuss how we can further your quality improvement in construction projects and workforce.
C3 Relationship Manager
In the competitive construction industry, it has become a common practice for specialty contractors that desire to avoid employee and payroll-related overhead to utilize “1099 workers” to reduce financial obligations and deliver the lowest bids to win work. However, often this strategy leads to the misclassification of the workers that drive company operations and production.
Mark Erlich, a Harvard Fellow, writes that the misclassification of workers and the related ramifications “add to the inherently insecure nature of the trades.” This insecurity is a barrier to entry for talent in the trades. Add to that the aging workforce leaving the industry like a silver tsunami and the estimated 350,000 new workers the industry requires in 2024 leaves the construction craft workforce unsustainable.
The construction industry must embrace change to ensure operational excellence, productivity, and a sustainable workforce.
Pivoting to a Sustainable Workforce?
The misclassification of workers realistically may help companies to save costs. However, this practice can be the omen of financial, ethical, and legal ruin.
The federal tax authority levies significant penalties for misclassification, including:
The costliest penalty may not be financial or legal; however, it has the most significant and long-lasting impact. The misclassification of workers can devastate the reputation of construction companies and jeopardize their ability to secure future business deals. Credible project owners view companies with a misclassified workforce as:
Shifting for Forward Momentum
Construction companies that employ the W2 sustainable workforce can avoid these consequences by shifting their talent management and experiencing greater project control, increased employee loyalty, and the impact of employees who support the mission.
The schedule, work that is performed, and the operational process are all controlled by the company. If we want things to be done with a standard of excellence, employees give us that control.
Employees are more loyal when there is a sense of financial security and a long-term investment from the employer that includes both consistent work and training for increased responsibility.
Employees possess the tribal knowledge that makes a company unique. Leveraging their support to pass down crucial skills to new employees and allowing them to showcase how they can deliver upon a multitude of responsibilities supports the employee and company equally.
EMERGE as a Quality Contractor!C3 is dedicated to aiding companies that may be navigating the operational pivot to building a more sustainable workforce. Helping small contractors, previous C3 Project Participants, and the Greater Houston-area M/WBE trade partners is our mission.
C3 has launched a new program called EMERGE.
This program welcomes companies to partner with the C3 team, utilize our team members, and tap into our career pathways consulting capabilities and training courses to add value to EMERGE participating companies.
This process makes it possible to pivot from “1099 Workers” to a sustainable workforce. We’ll help Project Participants smoothly transition to becoming Accredited Employers. Companies in the EMERGE program can expect a seamless process:
Scheduling an enrollment call is the first step to optimizing the performance of your workforce and company. Take the first step today to help create a sustainable future for everyone.
Angela Robbins Taylor
Company success depends on consistently tracking progress, like monitoring annual revenue, project backlog, cash flow, and other items that indicate your company's health. But we need to work on using these pieces of data to differentiate our company from all the others around us.
Finding the unique things your company does that allow you to succeed or the things holding you back in your growth plan is critical to creating longevity and financial success for your organization. That's why tracking the key performance indicators construction stakeholders need to be aware of is essential.
What is a Key Performance Indicator in Construction?
KPIs are defined by Investopedia as the set of quantifiable measurements used to gauge a company's overall long-term performance. Think of these as the metrics used to measure whether your company can do the job you have been tasked with accomplishing.
They must demonstrate how you will perform long-term and what makes you a safer bet for investors, contractors, and owners. Additionally, having the data that tracking performance provides allows your company to identify and pivot as needed to progress forward.
Targeting two major elements can drive your organization to the top and set you apart as a leader in your trade.
Construction KPIs: Job Performance
Being a top-tier construction company does not just happen without a plan. Building a long-term set of goals and visions should include setting out to measure the success of your job performance. Defining, measuring, and then refining your performance in the following areas is critical:
Quality can be measured in a few different ways. At a minimum, it should include what type of defects or rework is being seen, how much time defects and rework require from the workforce, and the total cost of defects and rework.
For each trade, general contractor, and owner, the specific details that will be tracked may be different. Still, the KPIs should include a detailed look at the following elements:
These indicators can predict issues with suppliers, training of employees, and problems with schedules that make future projects more successful.
When addressing safety performance, oftentimes, we get caught up in the numbers surrounding lost time incidents, workers' compensation claims, and root cause analysis. While that data is relevant and critical, it is not the only item to include in your metrics to differentiate your company as among the safest.
Safety experts agree that a safety program that measures participation and leadership, hazard identification and control, training, and continuous improvement is vital.
Participation and Leadership
The only way to have a truly effective safety program is to have full participation that starts with senior leadership and extends throughout the company. Building a safety culture starts with creating a program that everyone will be required to participate in and manage – both personally and organizationally.
Hazard Identification and Control
Ensuring your safety program is built around hazard identification, control, and elimination is critical for its success. Measuring how well this is done on the job site can impact your ability to provide a safer work environment for everyone on the job site even beyond those in your teams.
Training and Continuous Improvement
Like all skills, safety must be taught, assessed, and constantly refined. When looking at the success of your safety program and defining KPIs, ensuring that safety education is integrated into trade skills training and continuously evaluated for improvement is critical. A company that fails to connect safety and trade skills will suffer long-term with more accidents and higher costs.
Traditionally, we see productivity measured by the output of our employees. For example, how many linear feet of concrete was laid or gypsum was hung?
But a more meaningful indicator of long-term success and bottom-line impact is the measure of time spent not on the job-specific tasks both for your employees and your equipment. For example, a rented crane that is not used for two weeks but also not returned, or a worker who spends two hours over the course of the day riding the elevator getting material to the correct locations.
The bottom line of your revenue is more impacted by what your equipment and people don’t get to do than what they do in many situations. Tracking productivity can be a significant differentiator for companies.
Construction KPIs: Engaged Employees
Acknowledging that your workforce significantly impacts company performance is critical. Knowing what to measure regarding this resource gives you an edge over the competition to proactively identify issues with the crew.
Quickly identifying and addressing how you hire, train, reward, and retain employees is a lever that triggers cascading benefits throughout the organization.
Understanding what metrics to watch and which responses to take with reference to employee performance will drive long-term project performance. According to Oracle, a workforce planning and management system should include metrics like:
Leveraging an HRIS (Human Resource Information System) can make it much simpler to gather, analyze, and respond to data related to the human element of your company.
Work With C3 to Use the Data Effectively
There is so much data to capture concerning your company's performance in the market and on the jobsite. Ensuring that you continue beyond the simple indications of success, like revenue and cash flow, will lead to a more robust outlook.
Consider us a resource if you need support setting up and defining KPIs. Giving you the upper hand with workforce and performance is part of the C3 program, and your participation with us makes us all better.
Being an Accredited Employer is the first step to optimizing the performance of your workforce and company, helping create a sustainable future for everyone.
Contact us today to discuss key performance indicators construction stakeholders need to implement, monitor, and analyze.
Angela Robbins Taylor
Do you want to find a better job or have the chance to be advanced in your trade? Then you need to invest in trade skills training. In workforce management, we call this investment “upskilling.”
While trade skills training is important to many industries, it is especially so for construction. So who is most likely to benefit from participating in training to grow their career path?
Candidates for Trade Skills Training
There are four basic populations that should seek trade skills training:
If you are one of these individuals, keep reading to find out what makes a good training program for you.
Finding the Right Program
Skills training should include a variety of items in the curriculum but should mainly focus on providing practical knowledge and practice to grow competency in a trade. When shopping for a trade school or trade training program, it's important to remember that this is much like buying a car or a house.
Training programs come with a variety of price tags and amenities attached. So, as a guideline, make sure you examine the following items:
Depending upon what type of program you are seeking the content should always include some theory and a lot of hands-on practice. Additionally, you should ask if the content will include items like financial literacy, fluency in a second language, and rigorous safety training.
2. Time Commitment
Now that you've examined your content let's look at your time commitment. Time commitment is often driven by whether a program is registered as an apprenticeship, offered as on the job, or is a pre-work boot camp.
Registered apprenticeship programs must follow specific guidelines that allocate a certain number of hours to skill development relative to the number of hours in a classroom. Registered apprenticeships can run from one year to five years. They must be closely documented and provide enrolled trainees the ability to practice in the field alongside a journeyman as a working employee. They are offered by many different training providers including:
On-the-job training generally has no set timeline. The learner is given some supervision and some education throughout the course of a work day and is allowed to progress at their own speed. While some employers leverage a competency map which may be guided by suggested timelines, many employers allow for expedited movement through their OJT programs or slower progress as is needed by the organization and individual.
As construction continues to recruit more employees to manage the ongoing influx of construction projects, pre-employment boot camps are becoming a vital option for trade skilling programs.
Boot camps can range anywhere from 40 hours to 8 weeks. Much like military boot camps, these skills boot camps are meant to quickly prepare prospective employees to enter long-term training programs. Unlike apprenticeships and OJT programs, boot camps allow you to more quickly skill up for entry-level positions but generally do not allow you to work simultaneously.
When upskilling yourself in the trades it is important to weigh out the investment of the schooling to the return. Often apprenticeships, OJT, and even boot camps are free or employer-sponsored, but independent trade schools may charge tuition. These programs are good for unique niche skills specific to a trade. How training providers price their programs varies so it's important to consider cost versus quality received.
4. Help with Employment
If you choose a provider that is not an employer or does not sponsor employment during training then knowing how you will find employment upon completion is critical. Nothing is worse than obtaining your certification only to find out that no one is hiring. It is good to know upfront if they offer placement services.
Step Up Your Career
The greatest piece of advice I've ever received was that my career is mine to own. So do all the trade professionals who hopefully read this blog. You are the master of your destiny. And we are here to help you steer your destiny in the right direction.
Don't hesitate to reach out to Construction Career Collaborative (C3), where we are working with the top contractors, training partners, and community partners to grow careers and opportunities for trade professionals.
We may not have a job for you today, but we know that your skills and desire to step up your career will make you integral to the workforce building our tomorrow. Talk to us today about trade skills training that fits the stage of your career.
Angela Robbins Taylor
Construction workforce management is so much more than just scheduling the crews to show up at the job. It is knowing your bench strength and leveraging it to produce better outcomes through people who are safer, more engaged, and highly productive.
With the introduction of many pieces of software to support construction management digitally, you can become more innovative and appeal to the next generation of construction professionals.
3 Key Steps to Optimize Construction Workforce Management
Like any good sports coach or general manager, you need to know your people, the game you are playing, and how to assemble a skilled roster to win the game. Find out how to strategically support workforce management for construction projects.
1. Know Your Bench
Knowing your bench is a sports term that indicates you have skills that are not currently playing but are available as you need them. For a coach or a project executive to best utilize their roster of available workers, they have to have access to and fully understand two pieces of data:
2. Identify Skills
When you are setting up a “game” or project plan, you must understand the unique set of skills you need to accomplish the goal (win the game).
For construction teams, this means understanding the skills necessary to bid the job, prepare for the job, complete the job, and be able to service the job while moving to the next one.
Three steps can help you quickly identify the skills necessary and capture who has the competency to provide them:
Once you have completed these steps, you can capture the mastered skills in a central location.
3. Create a Game Plan
Starting with bidding and estimating the project, it’s critical to have a game plan in place to arrive at ultimate project success.
Consider using a resource allocation strategy that has estimators working in real-time with project superintendents that will be moving to projects as they are won. This step will allow the team to more accurately understand the potential for risk and mitigate it at the onset.
When the team is planned based on the type of work to be completed and their level of mastery of the work to be performed, you end up with a better project.
Get Innovative and Go Digital Managing the Workforce
In the long run, the more your teams work together and can make decisions quickly through digital tools and innovative methodologies, the better the quality and productivity of the workforce.
As we move into the next generation of high-tech workers arriving on our project job sites, it will be imperative to manage them with flexible, digital products. But even more so is the need for them to be well-trained in all aspects of the job.
When reviewing your capabilities around construction workforce management, find the answer to these two questions:
To learn more, sign up for the C3 News Brief and follow us on social media. Get access to the latest tips and tricks to creating a safer, better-skilled, and more sustainable craft workforce.
Angela Robbins Taylor
Career and Technical Education (CTE) is what we might have formerly called vocational education. It prepares students on the verge of entering a career field to gain skills and become more actively prepared for what is to come after graduation.
The best CTE programs include construction simply because construction is one of the primary ways students can start a career path with an abundance of positions, more than livable wages, and the ability to advance.
Let’s take a closer look at including construction in your school district’s CTE program.
How Construction Fits into the Best CTE Programs
When discussing what makes a good CTE construction training program, we have to think about three key items.
1. Safety Training
Safety training must be the priority right at the beginning of all Career and Technical Education construction programs. Without a quality safety emphasis, students come out of high school unprepared to identify the potential dangers on a job site.
At a minimum, students should understand how to identify hazards and the mitigations that can be placed into effect to prevent job site injuries.
While construction across the United States does not have standardized requirements for entry-level employees in construction, the best CTE programs should provide OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 as certifications students can achieve prior to graduation.
Offering the OSHA 10-Hour and 30-Hour training will provide students with opportunities to achieve certifications before graduation. In addition, this effort will create larger pools of opportunity for them to be hired and immediately placed into positions that are attached to apprenticeships or other on-the-job training programs.
2. Skill Development
Skill development is the single highest determiner of the success of high-quality CTE programs in construction. Therefore, it is crucial for CTE directors and academic curriculum providers to continuously improve and manage programs to include relevant skill development that includes application and competency assessment.
If you are looking for the highest quality commercial construction training programs, three things should be part of your curriculum search:
Input from an advisory board made up of current commercial construction businesses.
The value of an advisory board is twofold. First, the teachers have access to current employees to bring into the classroom, and administrators have the ability to consistently check to ensure that programs are targeted at the skills most in demand currently. Additionally, an excellent advisory member is also a potential employer for graduating students.
78% of contractors continue to say skilled workers are in short supply. But only 23% report career training as a key business strategy. This discrepancy means funding and cultivating an advisory board is challenging, but it remains critical to developing a post-graduation workforce pipeline.
Access to the latest pieces of technology, like BIM and other automated planning tools, shows students that technology is gaining momentum in the field.
As digital natives move through high school and into the workforce, having technology that assists their job is essential to their success. They know the power of technology and expect that their jobs will include it to provide efficiency and productivity.
Graduating seniors may enter any of multiple trades even though your program focuses on electrical or plumbing. Therefore, it is critical that the program you offer provides a strong foundation in general construction skills.
General construction skills like construction math, plan reading, the basics of hand and power tool safety, and more training can expose students to various trades available on their career path upon graduating.
3. Employability Skills
Employability skills are often identified as the most missing skill among the incoming workforce. When the industry uses employability skills, they are referring to:
A construction program can help students develop these crucial “soft skills” before entering the workforce, making them more readily employable in the industry.
Give Your CTE Program a Boost with Construction
In the end, a successful CTE program will include safety, skill, and employability training in curriculums. But the best CTE programs will consist of construction because it is an industry that will never disappear. It will provide students who are not headed to college with a defined career path and will help students find satisfying work that is essential to our economy and critical to the infrastructure of life.
Construction Career Collaborative (C3) is full of contractors and trade partners who want to help invest in the technical training of the future. We support active integration between your CTE program and our partnering companies. If your school district needs access to advisory boards, curriculums, or hiring events, we can help.
We invite you to join our educational advisory board. Make your construction CTE program stand out above the rest.
Angela Robbins Taylor
Finding skilled workers can be the hardest part of growing your business. The skilled workforce is dwindling as fewer young people enter the skilled trades and more people age out into retirement.
We want that magic bullet to tell us where to find skilled workers ready for job deployment, but seeking an instant solution to a long-term problem creates the hire-and-fire cycle of many construction companies.
Suppose you continue to find yourself wondering where to find skilled construction workers. In that case, it’s time to start the journey of finding and retaining the best-skilled construction workforce for better project efficiency.
6 Questions to Ask About Your Workforce Talent Pipeline
Take a look at the top six questions for trade partners to ask when looking for a better-skilled construction workforce talent pipeline:
1. Who Do You Need?
Understanding who you want to hire is the single most important question any business owner can ever ask about their skilled workforce.
Permanent or Temporary?
This can be a very difficult question to answer. Do I need someone to stay with me and grow because the business is growing? Or is this a short-term temporary position needed to complete work on a seasonal level or large-scale project?
When looking to build a skilled construction workforce, it is better to be focused on growth and permanence than hiring for temporary work accelerations.
Temporary workers, while valuable for seasonal work or to help quickly finish a job, are largely unskilled. If your company truly needs skilled construction workers, it is important that you identify their skill sets and how you will utilize them on the job site to quickly screen out anyone who doesn't match your long-term or short-term strategic need.
2. What Do You Need Them to Do?
This is the $1,000,000 question! Having a clear understanding of the expectations on the job for your employees leads to better hiring. Of course, you know exactly what good looks like when you see it on a job site. Capturing the competencies necessary for your job is simply a function of answering that question: “What does good look like?”
Be sure to answer the question of what good looks like for each of the following categories:
3. When Do You Need Them on the Job Site?
The more urgent your need, the more likely you will buy or borrow your talent. But if you are working toward the future, building your talent is a long-term solution to your skilled construction workforce issue.
Buy vs. Borrow vs. Build
4. Where Will You Find Them?
There are a lot of places you can look to find potential workers who are skilled or want to be skilled. Here are a few of the best ways to identify a potential workforce:
5. Why Will They Stay?
Putting in all the work to find a skilled construction workforce doesn't make sense if they don't stay with your company. Talking about how to retain your employees is a topic for another day, but it's critical that each company puts thought into their culture. Hammr.com lists the following as critical to creating a culture of retention.
Keys to Company Culture
6. How Will You Grow Their Skills?
Continue to invest in your people! Here are three actions you can take.
Find More Help on Where to Find Skilled Construction Workers
You don’t have to go at it alone building a talent pipeline for your company. If you need help getting started with building your skilled workforce talent, reach out to C3.
Call us today for a consultation. We can be reached at 713-999-1013.
Angela Robbins Taylor
Safety issues in construction should always be top of the mind for construction leaders at general contractors. As safety has moved to the forefront of job sites across the nation in the last few decades, we have seen a considerable increase in positive safety culture and the ability to prevent injury and lost time for our craft professionals.
But there are still many ways that safety issues in construction can be addressed that go beyond the classroom and get to the main barriers to safety on jobsites.
Consider four ways to address safety issues with your trade partners that will reduce incidents and increase productivity.
How General Contractors Impact the Safety Culture on Job Sites
Require all craft professionals to participate in daily hazard analysis with their crew.
Let’s take a closer look at these recommended actions.
1. Require Craft Professionals to Participate in a Daily Hazard Analysis
We talk about job hazard analysis all the time in classrooms where safety is the primary topic of instruction. When we include our craft professionals in the analysis of hazards while actually on the job site, we increase their ability to identify in real-time things that can go wrong for both themselves and other individuals in their crew.
A daily hazard analysis done by an entire crew also ensures that each individual craft worker is aware:
Accidents are more likely to happen when there is confusion or a lack of understanding of the work to be completed.
2. Encourage Different Trade Partners to Plan Work Together
Job sites are very crowded and oftentimes different trade partners are working side by side without ever speaking to the other.
For example, the hazards identified by an electrician will always be different from the hazards identified by a drywall installer. They work in different spaces and have different frames of reference, yet their work often overlaps. When GCs allow trade partners to work in isolation, they increase the possibility that:
Even if pulling together all the trade partners can be time-consuming and may seem difficult, the outcome can increase safety and productivity by allowing trade partners to collaborate to create efficiency in small workspaces.
3. Provide for Language Barriers
When Construction Career Collaborative (C3) offers English for construction workers, we hear from craft professionals who are not native English speakers that they feel safer and more knowledgeable as they increase their English proficiency.
While this feedback seems incredibly obvious, we oftentimes fail to provide second language speaking craftworkers with tools to encourage them to be more prepared and better able to communicate safety concerns to English-speaking supervisors.
It is imperative that we empower our workforce through inclusive training programs that include language skills if we genuinely want to see a decrease in safety issues on construction sites and an increase in our safety cultures.
Beyond English for construction workers, Spanish for construction supervisors is equally valuable for:
4. Create a Stop Work Authority Culture that Promotes Safety as a Community Effort
According to books published by the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS), stop work authority is empowering everyone on the team to fulfill their safety responsibilities. As a general contractor, you manage many teams that must play together and create safety equally across the jobsite. CCPS has shared this important lesson to keep in mind:
“Leaders should make it clear that any employee can stop work or shut down the job if they perceive a potentially unsafe situation. Employees who exercise stop work authority should be complimented, not criticized. When stop work authority is used, leaders should avoid second-guessing the decision. Instead, understand the reason for the decision to stop work and address the root cause.”
When we support our workforce and trust them to behave in the best interest of the job and the team, we create a true safety culture.
Learn More About Safety Issues in Construction
Looking for more tips to step up your safety culture? Sign up for the C3 News Brief. To be added to our list, simply drop your email address in the sign-up box on our Contact page.
In our email newsletter, we share valuable information about safety issues in construction and other topics you will find valuable to advance safety in your company.
Angela Robbins Taylor
I'm sure you've read countless articles on the construction labor shortage and the lack of craft trade professionals who can meet the demand for building projects in our current environment.
But you are just the construction project owner, and all of those people belong to your GC and their trade partners. This isn't your problem to solve, right? Wrong!
We'll show you three reasons owners need to be part of the solution for the craftwork shortage.
3 Ways Owners Can Address the Construction Labor Shortage
1. Don’t settle for cheap - “low price doesn’t always win.”
2. Require safety as a culture.
3. Expect highly trained professionals.
1. Low Price Doesn’t Always Win
Coming in on budget is a critical measure of success for building owners. However, as the skilled trade workforce shortage increases, project costs rise.
Owners are always looking for a project that can come in cheaper, but what drives that lower cost? The main variable for pricing between two competing trade partners will always be labor.
With turnover rates nearing 40%, according to a Construction Dive report, having enough crew to complete your project is often questionable. When low price wins, subcontractors are forced to become creative in how they employ skilled workers, including misclassifying or failing to pay workers correctly.
The cost of hiring a replacement for an entry-level $50,000 skilled worker averages 20% of their annual salary, or $10,000. That $10,000 shows up in the owner’s pocketbook in one of two ways:
Requiring a workforce that is both skilled and held as an employee by the trade partner in your contracting process creates an environment that prevents damage from the “low price always wins” approach.
Owners got to “low price” because the only thing that could shift was the cost of labor. It is time for owners to make the shift back to buying for quality as well as cost.
2. Require Safety as a Culture
Low price isn't all that costs owners when you don't own the workforce. Safety becomes critical when workers rotate in and out and have little or no training.
We find repeatedly that safety is directly impacted by the training received and the time on the job. A constant stream of new workers who have little or no experience on job sites or have previously been employed on less complicated job sites creates danger for multiple parties, including the following individuals:
There is a reason we give them different colored hard hats to identify workers as new. When accidents happen, job sites lose productivity, workers become distracted thinking about the accident and filling out paperwork, and sometimes job sites can even be shut down.Accidents cost owners.
Again, asking for your general contractor or construction manager to require a certain level of safety training prior to working on the job site is a simple way for you to own a safer and more productive workforce.
If you want the right workforce to build your building, it's important to set the tone from the very beginning that safety is a part of your company's culture and your company's culture extends to what your company builds.
3. Expect Highly Trained Professionals
For a long time, construction was just “blue-collar work,” but more and more, it's becoming evident that it is a craft that requires time and practice to master.
You do not become a master plumber, master electrician, or master Mason overnight. It is time that we call them professionals like their project manager, architect, estimator, or business developer counterparts.
While construction workers do not earn their degrees in laboratories or classroom seats, they are professionals, nonetheless. Your favorite basketball player or football star didn't learn their craft in a classroom either. If you want the best work, you must hire the best workforce.
Ask your general contractor to consider and weigh in the bid process the amount of training that each company provides for their craft workforce. This is one way that owners create a better place for craft professionals.
Own Up to Your Role Supporting the Craft Workforce
Technically, you don't own the craft professional workforce. But, you can impact how they show up on your job and how your job gets done.
Asking for better employees on your jobsite elevates the playing field for the industry, which indirectly increases the likelihood that others who might be interested in the industry begin to see it as a valuable, honorable, life-long career.
Taking action now is the best way to address the construction labor shortage and increase the quality of craft workers available for your jobs. Achieving the desired result depends upon your own ability to do the following:
- Estimate better the cost of labor and materials to generate the quality of project that you desire, thereby creating a better costing model that rejects low cost always wins.
- Work with design professionals, construction partners, and community partners to facilitate conversation about the benefits of being part of the built environment in our community to recruit new construction craft professionals.
- Own your part of having created the problem. Commit to working with partners like Construction Career Collaborative (C3) to create a better future through a safer, more skilled, and sustainable workforce.
We invite you to join our email list. The C3 News Brief includes valuable information for owners to support your projects. To be added to our list, simply drop your email address in the sign-up box on our Contact page.
Angela Robbins Taylor
C3 Executive Director
4 ways to grow a construction business in 2023
Everyone wants to see business growth and it generally becomes a focus for organizations as we wind down one year and gear up for a new one. As you are planning for 2023, we want to offer you four practical ways to grow your business and brand in construction.
1. Grow your sales pipeline
2. Keep existing customers coming back
3. Form strategic partnerships
4. Diversify your offerings
Grow your sales pipeline
For companies just starting on their business journey, the sales pipeline is the priority. No sales means no business. But how important is this for a successful company just wanting to grow? It is still a priority. If you rely on the existing customer base alone, you will not continue to see growth. New customer relationships must be fostered regardless of how successful your company is currently. When thinking about how customers decide to buy with you consider who they are and what they want from you. Next consider, what they see when they first interact with you because first impressions are important, and what motivates them to buy with you. Doing this research will help you to understand the sales funnel that leads to successfully closing the deal.
Tips for finding new pipelines
Getting your foot in the door requires that someone is out pounding the pavement. This could be someone out passing out marketing materials or hosting a booth at a tradeshow or it could be a business development strategy that places your company at the same events as your target company. Whatever way you choose to seek new contacts and customers, keeping track of what you learn, who you talk to, and action items are key to follow-up and eventual successful conversion to being a happy customer. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems offer a lot of helpful ways to track this interaction and make more strategic decisions.
Keep customers coming back
Nothing is better than repeat business. It doesn’t take as much work to find or cultivate an existing customer as it does to find new customers. But it does take creating a brand that is known for its excellence and delivery of high-quality products. It is also critical to realize that customers have a relational bond with those from whom they procure services. We all know that we are on some bid lists and not others. Keeping your company in the mix is also about maintaining relationships as well as product delivery. Having that CRM will help you realize who you might need to go see because they haven’t sought you out on bid day.
Form Strategic Partnerships
A strategic partnership can be many things. It could be a way to align your company with another to accomplish a larger project, like a joint venture or acquisition. It could also be becoming an industry expert that strategically aligns with community or educational programs to assist in bringing new talent or projects to the industry. It might even include aligning with a non-profit or community initiative to fund or receive funding for programs that give your brand a quality stamp for corporate social responsibility. Whatever the strategic goal for your business it may be more easily accomplished in partnership.
Current strategic partner opportunities
Across the nation, construction science and management programs rely on strategic partnerships with companies to provide internships and professors to train the next generation. Additionally, with the rise of career and technical education programs, public and private schools are seeking similar partnerships with builders. Often the builders who are in partnership with an educational organization may end up with contracts for service or installation in existing buildings and new capital campaigns. Maybe you don’t want to teach or have time for an internship, but you have other ideas about boosting your company’s brand through social responsibility. Try a strategic partnership with a local food bank, Habitat for Humanity, or another charity that shows your commitment to creating a better tomorrow. Socially responsible employers have better engaged employees which leads to longer retention and better productivity.
Diversify your offerings
Don’t rely on what has always worked without also exploring what might work as well. When seeking to diversify never give up what you are already great at doing, simply add to it with things you can do equally well. Diversification could be adding new services to existing product lines, creating a loyal customer program, expanding to a new product line or service, or moving into a new construction vertical or geography. But in our current environment, it could also be diversifying the people that work with you and for you. An inclusive and diverse workforce will often create new synergies and thought patterns that challenge the status quo and force us to move into the future. However, you diversity do it with intention and strategy and most definitely accountability. Nothing feels less successful than starting the same something new each year because it didn’t get the attention and accountability it needed to thrive the previous year.
Growth is achievable in 2023. If you are seeking to expand your current capabilities take a look at the C3 website to see if we are offering programs or continuing education that might help. Looking for a strategic partnership, we have a lot to offer in the way of committees to showcase your business and expertise while you help us grow. Want to find a new customer pipeline come visit us at events and fundraisers throughout the year or take us with you to your events and introduce us to your peers. Let’s grow better together.
Angela Robbins Taylor
C3 Executive Director
In my dream world where we can track and measure everything relevant to the success of our workforce, there would be a lengthy list of additional metrics to capture. But in reality, gathering just the raw data of how many laborers or entry-level workers were needed over the next 12 months, and whom we believed was the best resource to attract and prepare them for placement with C3 Accredited Employers would be an enormous leap forward for C3’s ability to impact our talent pipeline. But it isn't enough to just attract we have to retain all those who come to us and help them to build careers in the industry.
Attracting people to join the industry is just the first step of a two-step equation. Converting them to career employees who possess skills that create longevity for them in the industry is step two. At the basic level C3 tracks which organizations are equipped to upskill, reskill, and continuously improve their employees through our Craft Training Endorsement. However, we are not currently able to track retention of the workforce over the long term.
As we all know, construction is cyclical and requires companies to size up and down based on the ebb and flow of work. Sometimes moving workers from one company to the next, doing similar or even nearly identical work for a season. Sometimes they come back and other times they don’t. It is the fast-paced “slip seating” of people from a seat at one company to another that illustrates how important having all commercial contractors engaged in the development and retention of employees through training and career pathways becomes. If employees grow their skills at more than one company in their career it is imperative that all companies are providing continuous improvement training. I remember fondly a conversation that I had with Charlie Mogab before he retired from SpawGlass about how it was okay if someone else took his trained employees because at least they were safe, knew their trade, and would make a positive contribution at the next contractor.
It is a great philosophy to have, and we want our workforce to raise the bar for the industry with their skills. It does complicate the way we look at retention, however. When they stay in one company, we can easily see how long they have been in the industry and how far they have come. But what about when they move from company to company? Queue the lights and red carpet, C3 has a solution. We call it the C3 training database and while it does not currently help us to track who we are keeping and who is falling out of the ranks of the commercial construction industry, it can help us capture this data. As a matter of fact, we are working on fine-tuning what our database can track and making sure it is a viable resource for us to keep the positive story of C3 moving forward. We are looking at a variety of options for how we increase the items we track and know about each craft professional on our jobs and allow them to build their own training and work history in our systems. But we can’t do that without y’all as well. So join us on our design task force. If you have a passion for software development let me know.
But I digress, metrics will always be something we are examining at C3 and using to tell our story. We want you to be part of the group that moves us toward a more measurable impact on our mission. Are you tracking something you think we would want to know about – let us know. Are you interested in mapping out the metrics that matter for C3 – join our metrics community of practice. Want to just know more – book a call with me to chat. Together we can tell the story of how “C3 is doing good” in the industry and we can have the data to make it more than just a gut feeling.
Angela Robbins Taylor
C3 Executive Director
Angela Robbins Taylor
C3 Executive Director
While C3 continues to gain ground and we can see our contractor count growing along with our owner base and project total, we cannot effectively map metrics to program and are left to believe “C3 is doing good” and achieving its mission. But the thing that keeps me up at night is the question – how can I demonstrate our progress more directly? What makes me think we can track impact and improvement on the talent pipeline? Because we aren’t the only ones solving this equation and there is help out there.
We are at the beginning of a long journey to re-orient the contracting community to the best talent management practices and make construction competitive with other industries. Our foundation is in the Craft Training Endorsement. To achieve even the lowest level of certification from C3 a company must be tracking training. The key word in all that we are going to discuss in the next two installments is tracking. We don’t want any company to stop tracking training, but we also need to track two key metrics for staffing – turnover and retention. Let me quickly clarify two words that many of us believe are the same but, are quite different: attrition and turnover. Attrition refers to a job that is vacated and not filled again. For example, if a company hires a project manager and that position becomes open due to layoff, retirement, or discharge, and the company no longer needs the same number of project managers and does not refill the position. Turnover is the churn in our system of people leaving for other positions and us replacing them each time.
There are organizations that can reactively tell us about unemployment and the changes in the labor market. The Department of Labor or workforce board(s) can look back over the last month’s numbers or even the last few decades and tell us that the shortage is there, or it might be less for a month or more for a year. What they can’t tell us is if Houston still has a problem in commercial construction. To really understand the impact, we are making we need to look at some key performance indicators for Talent Management at the company level and then at the collaboratively level.
At your company level, you should be looking to see if you have enough workforce to manage your current job demand as well as grow your business to take on new projects, scopes of work, or any other growth path you are seeking. One question you need to ask yourself consistently is, “is my workforce capacity or quality a limiting factor in my bidding or winning of bids for work?” This number tells us if the current workforce is sufficient to do what we need to generate strategic business results for the company. Next, we need those turnover rates and maybe a root cause analysis to tell us why we have the levels of turnover we do. People might leave for money, culture, skills mismatch, performance, or attendance, or possibly they found another opportunity. If the impact of turnover is limiting your ability to bid, complete, or win projects it is important to determine what pieces of that you can impact and set plans in motion to reduce turnover. When you have an idea of workforce needs coupled with your normal turnover rates you can then create a forecasted demand for the next six, 12, or even 24 months.
But how does this impact C3’s ability to demonstrate that we are impacting the industry’s talent pipeline? Good question! When contractors anonymously report individual demand for key positions that span multiple types of trade partners (laborers, foremen, helpers, etc) we can create a full picture of the need inside Houston’s commercial market. For example, if Company A knows that they have a 6-month forecast of 10 apprentice electricians, they go to the local high school that offers an electrical program. The school has only 8 students graduating this year and they all have job offers at Company B, Company C, and Company D. Had all these companies worked together to forecast the need they could have leveraged other schools to teach an electrical program or worked with one of the community colleges to create a boot camp that generates basic electrical knowledge and construction safety. Then all four companies could have been fully staffed to produce high quality and safe work throughout Houston. When we report together (keeping individual companies' needs anonymous) we are able to create scale in our recruiting, training, and hiring practices. It puts contractor collaborations like C3 in the driver's seat with regard to the talent pipeline. We are able to leverage key relationships with “vendors” like ISDs, community partners, and colleges to create a stronger pool of candidates that meet our collective needs. It becomes much like managing our supply of materials to ensure that we aren’t relying only on one relationship to get the job done.
I get it, collaboration like this might be risky and feel sort of hard at first. But it is what C3 was founded to do and what drives our mission forward. It is more than just a number, we have to create a community of contractors that speak the same language and have defined a base level of threshold competency that is required for common job roles. While one may call someone an apprentice, another a helper, and still another a laborer if the basic duties of the day include the same thing we can begin to create a forecast and job profile that assists our vendors in creating a solid line of people to our doors. As we begin to work together to define and articulate need we will finally be able to measure not just the gap between current labor needs and workforce but our ability to attract and retain new people to the industry. So I’m hopeful that you are ready to learn about how you can start collaborating with other contractors in our community to create some synergy propelling C3 forward. Collaboratives are being started in January of 2023 get your company to the front of the line by joining here.
And don’t miss our final installment on metrics in two weeks “But did they stay?”
Angela Robbins Taylor
C3 Executive Director
Construction Industry Institute (CII)
Construction Users Roundtable (CURT)
National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)