Someone asked me to write a blog that would focus on how a lack of training would hurt your business and how a skills training program would make your business more robust and make your life easier. I began to think about what that means. Sometimes training is put forth as the magic elixir to cure all your business problems but that isn’t truly what I’ve experienced it during my 28 years as a learning professional. What really happens when a company starts to train is that they go through growing pains and the program can be hard to implement and frustrating to work through, especially if it is the first time. It is just like exercising any muscle that you haven’t used or learning any new skill you desire to acquire. Training takes practice to perfect and like unused muscles, the training process may create some pain along the way. Which may, for some of you, beg the question of why should I even start a training program anyway? My answer would be to tell you a few “what training did for me” stories.
My first story begins with a young man who hurt his knee playing college football and needed a new direction. He liked being outside and, as an athlete, wasn’t afraid of hard work. He went to a temporary agency and started as a laborer with a contractor. His foreman immediately saw his athletics trained work ethic, hired him as a full time employee and trained him. Fast forward a couple decades, a few trades and some hard work. Today, he is leading the craft training program for a national general contractor using his experience as a craftsman, project manager and superintendent. Moral of the story, someone trained him, and that training provided him with a career.
So, maybe that one didn’t sell you on why investing in people pays off. Then, how about this one? A young man sees his dad working hard in the interior and finish trades. When he realizes that his father’s company has taught his father a craft and is providing him a career, the young man realizes that the restaurant where he works is never going to provide that. He decides to move into the interior and finish trades in order to work with his dad. The company trains him. He grows into a quality employee who recruits and helps mentor other young men and women who want to work in the construction trades. He loves his career and the company that trained him to in his craft. His training truly made the difference in his career track.
I could go on and on with many stories that echo the same message. Training creates career paths and career paths attract and help retain high quality employees. There is a joke told by those of us who do “learning for a living”. It goes like this. A CEO and CFO were talking about training. The CFO is complaining about the cost of training and says to the CEO, “Look how much it will cost us to train them and even then, they may still leave.” The CEO responds with, “Yes, but what if we don’t train them and they stay?”
Can your business survive if you do NOT create the training pathway that leads to competent and capable employees who embody the company culture and the core mission of your business? Training that leads to a career path is a critical key to employee retention and loyalty in today’s construction industry facing skilled craft shortages. Training, then, is a major step to a sustainable future for your business.
Ready to consider or start a training program, C3 can help. Need advice on moving your program to the next level, C3 can do that as well. Together we can build great businesses one craft person at a time. For more information reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently, Construction Career Collaborative (C3) board chairman, Mike Holland, COO of Marek, board members Jerry Lea, Executive Vice President of Hines, Jim Stevenson, immediate past board chair of C3 and President of the Houston Division of McCarthy Building Companies, and I, traveled to Atlanta at the invitation of the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA) to address a meeting of its members and to tell the story of C3. What made this opportunity so attractive is that CEFGA sought C3 out because of the progress that we have made in leading the charge to improve workforce development in the craft trades in Houston. Creating a sustainable craft workforce is a problem shared by many companies in the construction industry across the United States and a number of Atlanta based construction companies.
I presented the history of C3, the principles upon which it was founded and a description of C3’s vision of the future of commercial construction as our program is adopted across the industry. Jerry then highlighted C3’s owner-driven strategy to achieve its goal of a safe, skilled and sustainable craft workforce, and the importance of providing owners with metrics that build a business case to demonstrate the value of a C3 Project. Jim spoke of the influence of the General Contractor with the owner and the importance of that relationship on the C3 process. Mike detailed the requirements to become a C3 Accredited Employer including the importance of an employer-employee relationship as it pertains to the provision of training and a career path. I concluded with details of C3’s safety initiative, specifically detailing the 12 safety modules and the safety metrics of C3 projects which demonstrably illustrate that C3 Projects are indeed safer than the construction industry as a whole across the nation. Our presentation concluded with a description of the critical importance of C3’s strategy to assist companies in the development of their respective craft training initiatives, while linking it to the career paths for their craft workers.
We fielded questions from those in the audience on a number of topics including assuring compliance with C3 principles and potential involvement with organizations such as Construction Industry Institute (CII), Construction Users Roundtable (CURT), Construction Owners Association of America (COAA) and the National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER).
It was obvious to the four of us that there was a genuine thirst to learn first hand of C3’s strategy to achieve a safe, skilled and sustainable craft workforce, so much so that CEFGA is giving strong consideration to bringing the C3 concept to Georgia.
Construction Industry Institute (CII)
Construction Users Roundtable (CURT)
National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)