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Construction – The Secrets to Attracting Top Talent

Monday, January 27, 2020

I grew up in the construction business.  Let’s just say I literally learned the ropes from the ground up – fetching a hammer, lugging wood and the most important task: watching, listening and learning. 

I saw projects go from blueprint to fabulous creations and observed all the glory and angst along the way.  I not only learned the physical side of the business, I learned the ownership/leadership side – the side where tough decisions are made, the side where the stress levels are high and the weight of the company rests.

As with most small business owners, there are a myriad of issues that kept my Dad up at night.  Perhaps the most common problem was finding, hiring, training and managing talent.  I heard more than once “Dan, your team will make or break you – they are the face of your company, they are the ones doing the hard work and your name as the owner is on that door.  If they fail…you fail.”

In my current role as Risk Advisor with the Horton Group and as a partner in a local landscaping firm I see first-hand the importance of team, of culture and how that all trickles down to a robust bottom line and an excellent customer experience. 

Top talent look for top firms.

Success for top construction outfits isn’t random, nor is it easily achieved – it takes dedication, grit and a well thought out business plan/structure.  If you want to get the top talent, you need to act like a top firm – even if you aren’t there yet.

“Top firm” doesn’t necessarily mean top payer!  Today many employees place a higher price tag on quality of life over the almighty dollar – in other words they will take less money for a work environment that fits their lifestyle and their career goals.  What you want to create is a great team environment where employees can thrive.


Thriving Employees = Happy Clients = Robust Bottom Line

Here are some simple shifts you can make in your firm to attract the right employees:

  1. Be Transparent.  Do not portray your firm as something it is not.  Be open and honest about your culture, who you are, what you stand for and what you expect of your team. What you don’t want is employee turnover, so making sure a new hire knows all the ins and outs of your firm before they come onboard is critical.
  2. Showcase your current team on your website and social media.  If you are looking to hire the best, you need to showcase your actual team.  Back to #1, future employees want to know who they will be working with.  Don’t shy away from putting your current team on video, on your social media sites and you absolutely should have them on your website. 
  3. Have a structured onboarding and training process.  As noted above, you want to avoid turnover.  High turnover results in higher work comp claims and client dissatisfaction – both are costly.  Building out solid processes and procedures for your new crew members and having a dedicated person oversee that training will allow team members to learn the ropes including your safety protocols.
  4. Pre-hire background review.  If you aren’t doing this you should – from drug testing to drivers records to reference checks – all will give you a clear picture of who you are bringing into your team.  It only takes one bad apple to ruin the bunch.  Back to our formula of a happy cohesive team trickling down to exceptional customer experiences. 
  5. Regular reviews.  Not every new employee will come to a foreman or owner with concerns or questions – many see it as a sign of weakness. Having scheduled annual reviews and more frequent check-ins for new hires helps bridge this gap.  Also,  building a culture that not only allows but encourages new hires and existing employees to voice concerns and suggest solutions will help you build a dynamic team. 

Finding the right talent for your construction firm, begins at the top.  Solid processes and procedures, a current cohesive team and a transparent communication policy will help you fill the seats and increase your customer satisfaction rating.

Material posted on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion or medical advice. Contact your legal representative or medical professional for information specific to your legal or medical needs.