Hiring new crew members in the construction industry is getting more and more difficult. And the problem does not only rely on millennials preferring to take jobs in the offices and other industries where technology is the main influencer, but skilled workers are also becoming rarer to find. When a company’s lucky enough to find one, they become harder to retain because of the demanding nature of construction works.
This scene has somehow changed in the past few years, thanks to the innovations designed specifically for the industry. These innovations include construction crew management software that has made work lighter for both the project manager and crew members, BIM that has been equipping the project team with better decision making during the pre-construction stage, and automation that has made tasks finish faster and results more accurate.
But why does it still seem like fewer people are becoming more interested in getting a position in construction companies?
The reasons vary for every construction company. Apart from the younger generation wanting to explore the technological world, safety and compensation are other factors affecting the decision of job seekers.
This leads some construction companies who need to fill in roles to hire people who are either inexperienced or clueless about the industry. Unfortunately, onboarding them on the site has never been easy. They can cause delays, deliver poor quality output, meet accidents too often, or start troubles. This is why it’s important to start them off with proper training and orientation.
Of course, there are more other ways you can successfully onboard new hires in your construction project. And those are what we are going to talk about today in this article.
Streamline Onboarding Tasks
Just like in other industries, the first day of new hires is usually spent in filling up HR documents like basic employee information sheet, signing contracts, familiarizing with company policies and mission-vision, and reviewing responsibilities and roles. As you know, construction projects are fast-paced and even a single day of delay can be costly. This is why it’s important to make wise use of time.
That said, instead of starting of new hires with these onboarding tasks, wouldn’t it be more worthwhile to spend the first day on giving orientation and basic training needed by inexperienced newbies?
Onboarding forms can be sent out via email instead so they can read ahead before they come to work on their first day. Even contracts are now in PDF forms and signed digitally by new hires.
From here, you can strategize on equipping your inexperienced new construction crew members with all the things they need to feel confident in their first step at the site.
6 Tips on Enhancing Your New Hire Onboarding Process
- Start them Off With Training and Education
Try to recall the first day you worked on a construction site. You have been both clueless and curious too on what you are about to work on at the site. But above that, your excitement has probably been overpowered by your fear that you might meet an accident while working.
The same feeling and thoughts go for newbies. Inexperienced people could even have higher anxiety as they step on the site without really knowing what they’re going to do. To avoid putting them at risk and causing delays, you should first send them to training and orientation.
Education is crucial for construction workers. They may do a manual job, but the hazards present at the site dictate the need for safety training. Giving them an overview of what their roles are about can also help them understand their first task or until they get fully adjusted to the work environment present at the site.
Education doesn’t mean you’ll have to demonstrate everything they need to do during their first day. This is why you have you foremen to continue the education of newbies at the site.
- Orient Newbies with Your Company Culture
It is also important for newbies to understand the main objective of your construction company, your processes, as well as your mission and vision. This is how newbies can see whether they are really fit to be a part of your organization or not. This will also help them understand how the company is run and what kind of work environment is fostered at the site. Furthermore, sharing your company values with newbies will help them feel truly welcomed.
- Be a Little More Supportive
There are some seniors who tend to get hot-headed on newbies who are clumsy and clueless at the site. But this shouldn’t be the case. Remember, it is already very difficult to find people who are interested in taking roles in construction so when you are able to hire one, value them.
So instead of being hot-tempered, be a little more supportive and patient by offering help when they don’t know how to do a task. This will build their loyalty to the company and their interest in doing better at their job. Besides, learning is quicker when people are comfortable with their colleagues so provide them with that kind of work environment. Consequently, they can help boost productivity as well as work quality. In the end, it is the company that will benefit from the support you give from the start.
- Make a Good First Impression
It isn’t just the new hires who need to make a good first impression but the managers too. And there are different ways you can do so. Some strategies include:
- Welcoming new hires with an appreciation package that may include branded promotional items like pens, jackets, caps, umbrellas, notepads, or waterproof and shockproof cellphone cases. These simple things will excite them on their first day and give them an impression of your generosity.
- Introduce the new hires to the rest of the team to them feel welcomed.
- Offer incentive to new hires that are able to hit their goals in their first week or month. This will make them realize that extra effort will be rewarded grandly.
- Give them an overview of the company’s achievements like certifications, successful projects, or awards.
- Safety Training First
Like we mentioned earlier, training is very important for inexperienced newbies in the construction industry. A huge workplace like the construction site is filled with hazards and it can be scary for first time workers in this field. So give them safety training where occupational hazards are discussed as well as ways on how to prevent them. Teach them how to properly use existing safety accessories at the site like scaffolds, harness, signage, and PPEs. Also teach them about emergency preparedness and how tech tools like GPS, wearable, and construction crew management software can be used in preventing or communicating accidents or risks.
- Provide New Hires with All the Tools They’ll Need to Succeed in Their New Career
Some people apply for construction jobs because they have no other choice. This is the sad reality in this industry but construction companies don’t have to take it very negatively. Instead, turn the tables around and use the opportunity to hone new construction experts. Besides, it will be a big pride of the company to produce highly skillful crew members out of inexperienced newbies.
And to do that, you need to first give them all the tools they need to succeed in this field. Embrace new technology designed for construction because innovation plays a big role in the company’s success. Tech tools are greatly improving construction processes. BIM, for instance, is making project managers more efficient at planning and checking on possible errors that can happen in the future. It translates the plan and specs into a 3D model of the project so that the construction team can identify design errors and make necessary corrections even before the construction begins.
Robotics is another tech evolution used in construction these days. They effectively filled the labor shortage and made manual tasks lighter and finish faster. Accuracy is another benefit enjoyed by using robotics and automation at the site.
Speaking of automation, there’s also software designed especially for the construction industry and its trade industries. Construction crew management software like Pro Crew Schedule is used to automate documentation, reporting, plan and schedule updates, collaboration, file sharing, and communication. It has greatly enhanced the efficiency of project managers in construction crew management while it has made workers stay on the same page with the changes made by the client and the contractor. This means a more organized process at the office and at the site.
Apart from these, PPEs and on-time salary are other things that new hires will need to stay in your company.
Hire Qualified People
We know we mentioned about hiring people who are inexperienced and train them to become a highly skillful construction worker. But if you can spare more time for your hiring process, be sure to pick those who are qualified by their basic knowledge on construction and their strength. Construction is a highly physical job so it is important that you hire someone who’s physically fit.
You can get referrals from your existing crew members or scout people from construction job sites. We have a previous blog about these sites, so you can check them out there.
Onboarding inexperienced new hires may require a lot of effort and time. It can be very challenging most especially for the project manager and the foreman. But with our tips above, it should be a little less daunting. The keys are education, training, support, orientation, and provision of the right tools they need, and your new hires will become better construction workers in no time!