Employee Recognition as a Key Strategy in Retaining Construction Professionals

Employee Recognition as a Key Strategy in Retaining Construction Professionals

July 27, 2020

The construction industry has the third-highest monthly turnover of professionals, at 3.5%.

More than half of this is voluntary turnover, which means that construction professionals are currently leaving their jobs at an alarming rate. Their reasons usually include lack of culture, benefits or lack of career growth.

The construction industry relies on skilled and experienced workers. When skilled workers leave, companies have to offset that with investing resources into training newcomers.

Employee Recognition for Retaining Construction Professionals

Source: ADP

With an average age of 41, these construction professionals are retiring at a rate too high for the younger generation to replace. As of April 2020, there are 63,000 unfilled construction positions.

With the risk of COVID-19 taking a toll on the construction industry, making your employees feel secure in hopes of higher employee retention is also more important than ever.

With this in mind, companies need to prioritize and develop strategies for employee retention.

One way to improve your company’s turnover rate is by prioritizing the development of your company culture.

Creating a culture where employees feel recognized can heavily impact their decision to stay in your company.

The core of great company cultures can be divided into two major areas: Communication and Leadership

Both aspects are equally important for your employees in the construction industry to feel better about their work and to feel appreciated by your company.


Make sure you and your employees are always aligned by opening up multiple communication channels for your company.

This is an integral part of employee recognition because your employees work best when they are engaged by the management.

When employee recognition isn’t a priority, bigger issues may arise.

Here are some ways to improve communication in your organization:

1. Employees work better when they give and receive recognition

In a construction setting, this can be difficult because of the distance between employees working in offices and employees working on job sites.

It’s very important to have a platform that brings every employee together working towards a common goal.

WorkProud, for example, is a communications and engagement service that aligns a company’s core values, goals, and objectives with the individual aspirations of employees.

2. 30.9% of construction professionals say that miscommunications in the workplace occurs because of unresponsive managers.

Because of the fact that most construction employees are out in the field, and not always at a desk and computer with ever-present communications, it’s highly important to keep multiple communication channels open.

Even outside the office, your team should still feel like they’re part of the company. This can be implemented through a mobile communications system.

Software like Slack and Basecamp provide desktop and mobile communication systems.
Mobile communications will keep employees up to date with important company matters and conversations.

3. Collect the feedback on workplace processes and issues

Not every employee is comfortable speaking their mind when they have complaints in the workplace. In fact, 64% of employees never air their qualms about their coworkers.

This is why it’s important to ask for their feedback in a safe space, where they can air out their concerns. Cohesion and communication among workers are essential qualities in a safe construction environment.

Conducting these employee check-ins can not only improve the quality of work but the mental wellbeing of your employees as well.

Taking care of organizational matters

Other than communicating well, it’s also important to set your company up for success and apply employee recognition solutions at a foundational level.

Make sure your company makes recognition a priority in the office to keep your employees happy while they work for your company.

1. 75% of employees report that bosses are the biggest causes of stress in their jobs

A bad manager isn’t only hurtful for the company, it also could damage your employees’ health.

Leaders should build and encourage open communication channels between them and their employees.

Employees develop loyalty to a manager when they feel like it is a reciprocal and open-natured relationship. This builds a solid work relationship and fosters growth in your work ecosystem.

2. Offer opportunities for career building

Employees are often worried about their future development, and 93% of employees leave the companies they are in to achieve the career progress they look for.

In the construction industry, there is a shortage of qualified individuals in almost all roles, which means helping them advance within your own company will help develop their skills and encourage employee retention.

Whether it be through a program for career advancement or day-to-day learning opportunities, a manager must present employees with career progression.

It is not enough to just recognize the hard work of an employee but to also reward them with ways to move forward in their career.

3. Create a mentorship program

A mentorship program invests time and resources for the personal growth of employees.

Mentors help their mentees by passing on knowledge and feedback to their mentees.

The mentorship also helps in retaining employees in construction, as it enhances company relationships through work interaction.

Create on-the-job training sessions between veterans and new hires. This keeps the knowledge of the employees within the company as older employees retire and new hires replace them.

Creating a modern rewards and recognition program

Giving service awards used to feel prestigious, but studies show it has little to no effect on the company and employee performance.

Creating a modern rewards and recognition program allows you to consistently motivate and recognize your employees.

Service awards could still be part of a long-term program, but making sure that your workers constantly feel appreciated by celebrating small milestones and rewarding them with perks can go a long way.

The cost of losing employees is higher than you think

Construction companies are facing a tough battle when it comes to employee retention.
Though there are several ways to recognize your employees, like opening communication channels and creating a culture of good management, prioritizing your company culture is usually an afterthought.

However, given the fact that replacing an employee, especially one with specific skills, costs more than you think, you might want to invest the time to create a tailor-fit sustainable and effective system that keeps your employees happy and engaged.

About the Author

Jim Schroeder helps businesses achieve greater HR program results. As Marketing Manager at WorkProud, he works closely with HR leaders to develop and maintain creative communication strategies that effectively engage employees.

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