The construction industry is one of the largest sectors in the economy – with billions, maybe even trillions of dollars spent on construction materials, goods, and services throughout the years. As one of the industries with the most significant employment, there is an anticipated rise in the demand for construction services due to clients and project managers looking to increase their workforce to hit their construction targets and milestones. Thus, there will be many job opportunities for construction workers to take on. However, the increasing demand for these qualified professionals often results in a shortage of skills in this industry.
The labor shortage of skilled workers causes a problem for employers and project managers alike, especially if the project scopes and tasks require a specific set of skills to get it done. However, in this situation, a need arises for project managers to create a comprehensive and optimized construction crew management system that aims to provide an opportunity for construction workers to develop the required abilities through proper skill training and development.
Skill training and development is an area that is often considered underrated when managing construction projects. In the past, project managers often focused on the work outputs and activity progress rather than taking the time to improve the quality of workers due to tight deadlines and commitments. This mindset is why there are two types of workers existing in the construction industry – the skilled and the unskilled. However, nowadays, managers have finally recognized that the construction crew is the most vital resource in a project and now intend to actively support an employee’s career growth to benefit both the individual and the company.
In this article, let us look into why investing in skill training and development are essential to improve a construction crew’s level of performance – thus ensuring your project’s output is of top quality.
What Skills and Trainings Are Needed in The Construction Industry?
Well-trained construction workers result in delivering a high-quality project, resulting in the client’s overall satisfaction. Every project manager’s goal is to complete a high-quality project and adhere to the project scope and deliverables defined during the initial stages of the project to manage construction projects successfully. This section has identified the list of essential skills and training for workers in the construction industry.
Leadership and Team Synergy
Developing leadership skills and team synergy is essential for team members when working in construction. As a project manager, tasks management is probably one of your biggest challenges. Every day, there are many workers on a project site, each working on a specific task assigned to them. However, you are not always available on-site to micromanage and monitor every worker’s progress. It is vital to instill the value of leadership and teamwork among the workers to take charge of the task assigned to them and collaborate with other team members to ensure that the project will run smoothly.
Good communication skills are an indispensable part of any industry. Construction crews must have a good set of the following communication skills to finish tasks properly:
A construction worker must listen to their instructions, interpret them, and deliver the task in the right direction. If the instructions are not clear, he must ask for clarification before proceeding with the work instead of continuing with unsure direction – this can result in delays and non-compliances, with the jobs needing to be rectified.
In construction, our primary source of tasks instructions is indicated on blueprints and other technical documents. A construction worker must know to read these plans and understand them to do what is required.
The construction worker must be familiar with the vocabulary used for the area of discipline he is assigned to – from tools, materials, processes, and techniques. For example, if he is designated as a painter, he must differentiate between the types of paint finishes used for a specific area.
In construction, most site instructions, incident reports, or relevant information must be transmitted in written form to ensure proper documentation. Thus, the crew must have good written skills to convey information and messages to their supervisor or project managers.
Lastly, workers often come from diverse backgrounds and are in charge of different disciplines in a project. Effective verbal communication ensures that everyone can understand and process the information being disseminated.
With the availability of modern technology at the tip of one’s fingers, the construction industry is slowly following the trend and going digital to optimize workflow processes through construction scheduling software. Using software to eliminate redundant processes, centralize documents, and schedule training and tasks boosts the project’s efficiency. A crew member should be equipped with the knowledge and skills to utilize and navigate the software.
Physical and Muscle Strength
The jobs at construction are often physically demanding, requiring workers to be healthy and physically fit to carry out the tasks that require standing or bending down for long hours. A good amount of stamina is required to finish the tasks safely and prevent any incident resulting in accidents and injuries.
To create an optimized project task management system, a project manager must assign tasks to a worker who has the proper technical knowledge for the job. There is a wide range of knowledge areas required in a construction project. Thus, it is essential to continuously train the workers in their chosen fields to broaden their knowledge about the materials, tools, equipment, or techniques used. Listed below are the list of specialized trades often seen in construction:
- Painting and Finishes
- Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
Basic Construction Safety Training
A construction project is prone to hazards and accidents due to the nature of its works – falls, electrocution, being struck by objects, and being caught in equipment are common causes of work-related injuries which, in the worst case, result in death. Implementing a comprehensive safety protocol within site and conducting basic construction safety training are much needed to keep everyone safe and sound at all times and avoid these unnecessary risks.
Risk Assessment and Problem Solving Skills
The construction industry is no stranger to project delays which several factors may cause. A construction worker must be able to spot out possible problems that may arise and solve them. Of course, some issues are out of his control – thus, being able to assess risk and report it to the right person immediately is an excellent skill to instill within the crew members to ensure that the project can stay on track.
Why Should You Invest in Training Your Construction Crew?
Skill development and training should not be a one-time thing; instead, project managers should build the continuous growth and advancement of the employee. The employer is responsible for equipping their workers with the proper knowledge to ensure that they are competent in their tasks.
Reducing the gap between the skilled and unskilled workers by scheduling training processes to help them develop the right skills, knowledge, and techniques can significantly boost your crew’s performance level and quality of work. With this in mind, investing in your workforce may seem risky as the training takes time, effort, and cost implications. There is always the risk of the worker leaving the company for another opportunity and that the chosen training scheme may prove ineffective. However, this can make your company processes more sustainable in the long run. Making your employees feel valued and placing your trust in them by providing resources for their improvement can help them appreciate their work and strive to be valuable members of the organization.
If you are still not persuaded, we have listed down the following reasons you should incorporate skill development and training in the project management for construction.
- Improved skills and knowledge result in an increased level of workforce productivity and performance
- Standardizes work processes and results to a higher quality of workmanship
- Boosts morale and job satisfaction
- Reduces the need for micromanaging and excessive supervision
- Decreases employee turnover
- Increases project’s efficiency through the familiarization of using digital tools and construction scheduling software
- Attracts high-quality professionals to join the company
- Minimizes the chance for construction delays
- Lessens material wastage and equipment damages
- Results to more sustainable crew management in the long run through the investment of skills and knowledge
- Fewer conflicts, confusion, and disputes
Over the past years, the increase in the demand for construction workers has resulted in a shortage of skilled workers. However, managers have realized that the construction crew is one of the most vital resources needed for a project when managing construction projects. Thus, it is essential to invest in the growth and advancement of a worker’s skill development and training, resulting in significant advantages for both the individual and the company. When workers are well-trained in their respective fields and fully equipped with the right skills, it can significantly increase their level of performance – increasing productivity, higher quality of the project, hitting construction milestones more efficiently.