Improve Hiring and Retention with Employee Communications (Part 1)
Hiring and retaining the best people continues to challenge the construction industry. Efforts and investments have been ramped-up to focus on construction job training and career education, but it will take some time for these to produce significant results. And, while construction companies strive to be leaner and more efficient, retaining the best workforce is key to overall profitability. So, how can we improve hiring quality and employee retention without focusing on just increasing pay rates?
THE COSTS OF TURNOVER
Hiring and turnover costs construction companies millions of dollars annually. Finding the right people, training and retraining them, and integrating them into the company takes time and money. But, what about the period of time before an employee quits, or before a replacement is hired and integrated? A few weeks before the original employee leaves, that person is not fully committed and is not working at 100 percent. This period is followed by a void where the crew is down a person. This equals lost productivity and increased project time.
Once new workers are hired, they must go through an orientation, which usually requires time from HR and their supervisors. Some companies have a mentoring system that can last 180+ days, which means some of the best employees are not working on their own tasks while they train others on new tasks/skills, safety procedures, the company’s unique way of doing work, etc. Now multiply this by the 10, 20 or 50+ employee transitions some companies deal with annually, and you can see how a 10 to 15 percent decrease in turnover can sizably affect the bottom line.
HOW TO USE INTERNAL MARKETING TO IMPROVE HIRING
You know as well as I do that construction marketing is a relationship-nurturing form of marketing, but did you know that goes for your internal marketing as well? Even low-bid public-work contractors need good internal marketing if they are going to hire and retain the best employees, but when asked, most construction executives have never heard of internal marketing. Think of it this way… If your company employs several hundred people (even if many of those are subcontractors representing you on job sites), you are essentially running a small town. Every small town needs a bank, a police station, a market, a medical provider, and a way to disseminate NEWS and INFORMATION to keep the residents of the town informed and engaged!
Internal marketing is a company’s information source, much like the local radio station is to a small town. It should be utilized to engage and immerse employees in company and safety culture, drive safety initiatives, improve work efficiency and quality, share employee family personal achievements, and much more. Internal marketing can also be used to encourage 2-way communication between the field and executive team.
When employees and sub-contractors are connected to the “community” of the business they feel like they are an integral part of the business. They come to understand their role in the company’s profitability, and they develop stakeholdership. Stakeholder-employees are more willing to brag about their employment satisfaction, express pride in their employer’s successes, and refer prospective employees to their company. Where do the best employees often come from? …From referrals of stakeholder-employees, of course.
I can’t possibly go into all the ways internal marketing effects construction company profitability or the various tools companies can use to drive stakeholdership in this article, but I can say that companies who have no internal marketing system in place are losing good people either through missed hires or turnover.
Put internal marketing to work in your construction company! Working with construction marketing professionals who understand the importance and difference between internal and external marketing systems can dramatically improve hiring quality and retention. Even if you have a marketing team focused on assisting with business development, they may not have the knowledge, skills, or time it takes to drive internal marketing initiatives. Experienced internal marketing pros can help by developing strategies and tools based on your company’s goals that utilize integrated internal messages to gradually convert your employees into stakeholder-employees. Stakeholder-employees know when the company is hiring, what type of people it’s looking for, and can effectively communicate the benefits of joining the team.
Want to learn more about Internal Marketing for your construction company?