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.
Quality Improvement in Construction Projects: Focusing on Quality Management and Control
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.
EMERGE Program: Pivoting From Reliance on “1099 Workers” to a Sustainable 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.
Construction Workforce Management: a Critical Tool to Increase Safety and Productivity in the Field
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:
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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.
Construction Industry Institute (CII)
Construction Users Roundtable (CURT)
National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)