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3 Tips for Recruiting and Retaining Construction Workers Post-COVID-19

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Labor + Trade Relations

3 Tips for Recruiting and Retaining Construction Workers Post-COVID-19

As the country begins to reopen following coronavirus restrictions, construction companies need a new approach to recruitment practices

September 11, 2020
Construction worker training a younger worker on the jobsite
Boosting team morale and building trust are key to employee retention. | Photo: Pikist

Business owners are navigating uncharted waters from finding new employees to recruit, retaining current employees, and addressing compensation needs following record unemployment. Construction industry leaders must focus on communicating clearly about growth opportunities, leading with empathy, and getting creative with recruiting techniques to successfully steer through these unprecedented times.

1. Clearly communicate development and advancement opportunities

When it comes to retaining talent, communicate how your company invests in each employee. That information will set your company apart from others. 

To keep competitors from poaching your trained employees, make sure you’re clearly communicating and investing in the details that make it worthwhile to work at your company. Prioritizing and communicating about training programs, coaching opportunities, and ways employees can level up to be promoted internally will boost team morale and build trust within your team. 


2. Lead with empathy

Business owners are finding themselves with the challenge of addressing fair compensation for entry-level employees who are currently making more money from unemployment benefits than they did on the job, especially those in the construction industry. 

Understanding your employees’ financial needs and leading with empathy will help you recruit and retain top talent. Take the time to reallocate budgets to account for additional dollars for entry-level employees, as well as any changes that need to be made before your existing employees return to work. Be open about workplace safety and allow your employees to take the time they need to feel safe returning to work.

3. Get creative with recruiting techniques

The same old recruiting techniques the construction industry has used in the past are proving to be problematic as we emerge from COVID-19 pandemic. With many employees looking for work, finding the right person for the job and spending time training new hires can be more time-intensive than before. 

Leveraging paid features on tools like LinkedIn or Indeed can expand your talent pool and track down talented prospective hires. You also may need to adjust your screening process to ensure the person is the right fit, especially if you aren’t able to meet in person before hiring. For example, the questions your hiring manager typically asks interviewees may need to be adjusted. 

The coronavirus pandemic has challenged the construction industry and the world in ways no one could have planned. Being an adaptable leader who can quickly pivot to lead with empathy, put employees first, and truly invest in the future of each individual will help you weather the storm and come out better and stronger on the other side.


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Written By

Bob Lester is president and CEO of Columbus, Ohio-based Dura-Seal, a sealcoating, asphalt, and concrete services company. He has worked in the paving industry for over 20 years, leading two buyouts, an acquisition, and the sale of an equipment manufacturing company at Dura-Seal. Prior to joining the company, Bob studied business finance at Otterbein University.

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