The construction labor outlook for 2023 includes the continued struggle to find workers. LinkedIn predicts that labor challenges for 2023 include a smaller talent pool, an aging workforce and strong competition for workers. And Construction Executive’s 2023 Construction Economic Forecast showed that, as of July 2022, the number of available construction jobs stood at 375,000. That number isn’t going to dramatically decrease in the coming years, considering the federal government will be pouring billions into infrastructure jobs. While it’s important to continue to cultivate a healthy recruiting pool in 2023, construction employers need to renew focus on retention. Offering the benefits that appeal to employees is a solution.
Employees Are Looking for Expanded Benefits
Employees want more from their company benefit packages. They want employers who care about their complete health, both mind and body. For example, according to the American Psychological Association, workers value employer support of mental health. In fact, 81% said how an employer supports mental health is an important consideration when looking for future work. And, according to MetLife, 52% of employees indicated their new employer must offer health & wellness benefits, an increase of 100% since the pandemic.
This may be especially relevant in construction, an often physically demanding vocation that combines a high level of skill with often back-breaking work, long workdays and potentially pain from injury or overuse.
Injury and chronic pain can actually contribute to employees’ anxiety, stress and depression. So, it can become a vicious and unrelenting circle unless both physical and psychological well-being are addressed. That’s where benefits come in.
It’s not just important for construction companies. Employees in all industries are more focused on benefits overall, and employers keen to improve both recruitment and retention should take note. In the same report mentioned above, MetLife found that while 66% of employees want a comprehensive benefits package, only 31% of employers offer or plan to offer one to attract or retain top talent.
That means there’s a true competitive opportunity for employers that focus on benefits in 2023 and beyond.
Balance Benefits Quality with ROI
It may seem either counterintuitive or unattainable to double down on benefits given continued inflation and the threat of recession. (According to AGC, just under 75% of construction and contracting companies are worried about a slowdown or recession.) The good news is it’s not always about offering more benefits or adjusting the costs, although AGC also found that 26% of firms increased their portion of benefit contribution and/or improved their benefits in 2022.
Here are some places to cost-effectively enhance a benefits program without breaking the bank.
- Strengthen the basics. Most employers provide a base amount of life insurance and some level of disability coverage. These might not be big-ticket items but employees and prospective will notice if they must pay for them out-of-pocket.
- Add an employer HSA match. If your company has an eligible high-deductible plan, adding some employer dollars can help entice employees to enroll.
- Consider pre-funding the employer HSA amount. This can seem risky especially considering the possibility of large-scale turnover, but employees may be more likely to choose the high-deductible plan if they have a safety net for out-of-pocket costs.
- Bulk up with voluntary options. Coverages like pet insurance, critical illness coverage and hospital indemnity don’t cost the employer anything and they round out a program with options people want and need.
- Pitch in for family coverage. Most employees (94%) with family coverage contribute to the cost, with employers paying 67% of the total. If your employees pay full freight for their dependents’ coverage or your company contributes significantly less than that 67%, you may be losing current and prospective talent.
- Focus on any wellness offerings. Since health and wellbeing are so important for workers in construction, redouble any communication efforts to promote coverage in this area.
Once you choose which benefits will best meet your employees’ needs, Arcoro’s Benefits Management software can help you communicate them to your entire staff. Companies can utilize HR benefit software to share podcasts, web-based videos and online chat rooms with employees. It also allows HR and managers to send uncluttered communications, so every employee instantly receives every single bit of communication.
Arcoro’s self-service portal also allows employees to access and compare plans, make selections and review current benefits all in one central platform 24/7 via desktop or on a mobile device. A centralized system not only provides transparency but allows the managers to ensure that all employees have access to their personal information.