Heading into 2022, I had the opportunity to attend the LEAP Human Resource (HR) Construction Conference held in Dallas, TX. After a couple of years of virtual conferences, it was a welcomed opportunity to travel and talk in-person with HR leaders in the construction industry. The conference highlighted the strong strides HR professionals are making. It was apparent construction HR is transforming and companies are realizing the benefits of having a strong HR presence within an organization. One of the biggest changes was the establishment of dedicated HR departments, doing away with payroll covering HR tasks. Another was the strong presence of HR at the executive level and having a stronger influence on company strategy. Throughout the 2-day event HR leaders highlighted the challenges and trends impacting the industry and its influence on HR priorities. They also shared different initiatives their organizations were undertaking, their impact and lessons learned along the way.
One of the biggest challenges facing the industry is the ever-increasing skilled labor shortage. Coupled with the impact of COVID, it is estimated that 81% of construction firms are having trouble filling positions. Recruitment is a top priority. Strategic employment branding is being adopted to entice candidates, along with strategies to minimize the hiring time cycle. Candidate drop-off is becoming more prevalent with the increased competition for labor.
A trend in the industry is a focus on establishing an employee-centric work culture. The dynamics between employee and employer have shifted. Employees are looking for more from their employers outside of compensation. Many factors have played a role in influencing this shift: the impact of COVID, the change in people’s priorities, and the talent competition. A fair number of presenters shared their companies’ strategies around building an employee-valued culture, from implementing alternate work programs, creating development path for field workers, and utilizing tools for fostering an inclusive environment.
As HR leaders shared their strategies, one of the common themes was the use of technology. Companies are adopting the use of technology at a rapid rate. Have you considered your organization’s use of technology? New technology can help companies be more resilient in the future and more adaptable in a crisis. Change is inevitable in business, now is the time for HR leaders to identify and implement solutions that can assist with the challenges their companies may face in order to achieve a greater degree of long-term success.