How to attain & retain skilled workforces in construction using workforce management tools

July 8, 2022
6 min
How to attain & retain skilled workforces in construction using workforce management tools

As we all are aware, there is a large labor shortage within the construction industry. Not just any other labor shortage, but attaining skilled workforces has been hard to capture for most construction companies.

In October 2021, according to McKinsey, roughly 402,000 construction positions remained unfilled at the end of the month, the second-highest level recorded since data collection began in December 2000. Construction projects across the U.S. are running short on labor.

Just as $1 trillion in federal infrastructure money starts to kick in, most companies are trying to get creative in their quest to attract and retain skilled workers.

Construction job operation

What worker turnover looks like:

  • Number of workers who went through payroll in a given period (X)
  • Number of workers terminated during given period (Y)
  • Turnover (%) = Y (workers terminated in period) ÷ X (workers on payroll in period)

Let’s dive in and see how other companies are capturing the right workers.

Speeding up the hiring process with automation

Part of the problem with finding the right worker for the job is a slow hiring process. Many construction companies do not have a proper system in place to manage workforces and information at the speed necessary.

To give context, if a construction project is about to start with thousands of workers, the hiring process can be long and grueling, with many hours of manual effort that lead to more spending. 

To cut the hiring process time in half, many construction companies have implemented workforce management tools that integrate with Procore and other legacy systems. By implementing a workforce management tool, data can automate faster, reducing manual effort by nearly 2x. 

Balancing payroll with the rise of worker wages vs skill vs hours

Construction companies sometimes slow the pace of hiring to balance profits on a project. The pressure to hire with higher wages has led to erosion toward project profits and capturing skilled workforces.

Filling a skillful person for a position is hard, but attaining the right skilled worker to fill the role becomes even harder when money is involved. Companies are allocating funding to support worker wages and technology that aids in the search for skillful workers with specific certifications.

Companies can save 20 hours a week by automating timesheets and reporting for their workforce. Now, companies have a way to understand the value in their workers. Know who, from what company is on-site for however long without always having to do walkthroughs, sign-in sheets, camera systems, or turnstiles. 

Managing workforce certifications, recertifications,  & trainings

There is a large gap in the way construction companies process and follow up with their workforce to certify or recertify for the job. When the time to hire comes, being able to bring back skillful workers that were in previous jobs can be difficult but very advantageous, if possible.

To help stay on top of worker certifications and training, companies are now implementing digital tools to aid in managing certifications.

Imagine having a platform that tells you when your workers need to certify for a specific job and can notify them? Many construction companies are taking advantage of workforce management tools to handle the chaos of managing certifications like OSHA or SST through simple integration.

If a worker is unable to obtain a specific certification or training in time, there are delays and further consequences for the job. Let’s try to avoid that issue.

Expediting the hiring process with background checks 

Having a scalable screening process is necessary for large-scale projects. If a construction company is unable to attain technology that enhances the hiring process specifically around background checks, they are putting themselves at risk for further fines and setbacks.

With a streamlined process to background checks, you are able to keep a pulse on your workforce and gain clarity on any foggy areas.

With background checks in place, contractors can provide safer work environments for their employees as well. This fosters a strong work culture and safer environment so workers will want to come back. If the hiring process is smooth, the work environment is safe, and the culture is strong, there is a high chance that the skilled worker will come back.

Capturing workforce productivity analytics

Data can be wasted very easily. A workforce management tool harnesses your worker data into a very useful instrument for the hiring process. Construction companies can capture actionable insights from real-time and past data.

By comparing past projects with the current in one central location, these actionable insights lead to smarter hiring and easier processing of documents and sensitive information.

You can document tool time versus transit time and compare it to downtime on-site for an accurate understanding of your workforce.

With a central platform to work off of, contractors are able to capture Worker Retention Metrics (WRM) within a dashboard.

They can measure how many new workers are joining everyday and compare them to past projects. Contractors can also tell how many hours are spent on onboarding and training for new and existing employees.

workforce productivity
Workforce Retention Metrics (WRM) example

Using a central database for workforce management

There is a lot of data floating around on a jobsite or in the office. Having the necessary technology in place that can capture each necessary data node around the workforce and turn it into actionable information is a form of progress for anyone.

Having a central database for your workforce can be accomplished by workforce management tools like Kwant’s ‘nucleus’ platform

With a platform like Kwant, many construction companies can manage their worker certifications, notify teams to recertify and send SMS or email reminders for any necessary information to progress the hiring process.

Automation is key to having a successful workflow process, and having a central database is the foundation. Having the option to look at past projects and reach out to specific workers alone is a feature that most companies struggle to attain.  

We want to look at the macro level data of the workforce around the country. If there is a labor shortage in Tennessee for example at a Factory, we can provide insights to the General Contractor or Trade Partners at the jobsite in Virginia that has just ended with a similar requirement. This could have a massive impact on mitigating the labor shortage problems.

Moving forward, where to start

Before the next project starts, it may be time to look at the current system you are using to manage your workers. The more on top of your process, the lighter the burden to attain and retain skilled workers.

Overall, having workforce management tools allows:

  • Faster automation for processing for documents
  • Payroll: Balance worker wages vs hours
  • Manage worker certifications, recertifications, sensitive documents
  • Faster background checks
  • Using a central database for workforce management 
  • Capture workforce productivity analytics
  • Integrate with Procore + other legacy systems

If you would like to learn more about implementing workforce management tools like Kwant’s platform to help attain and retain skilled workforces, schedule a free demo today and see how you can integrate this technology with your current system.

The next step to attaining and retaining skilled workforces is just ahead. 

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