An Increasing Need for HR Technology

The construction industry is facing some challenges, and that’s putting it mildly. The COVID-19 pandemic put some serious strain on the industry concerning slowing schedules, rising costs and a lack of workers. According to recent research by Sage and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), 44% of construction firms report they canceled projects in 2020 and won’t reschedule. And 84% of contractors are worried the pandemic will continue to impact projects, workers and supply chains well into 2021. In terms of labor issues, construction companies are struggling to find enough qualified workers and, once hired, keep them happy and employed. The Sage AGC report found 54% of construction firms are having difficulty finding qualified workers to hire and 49% think those issues will persist throughout 2021.

As workforce issues make bidding on and completing projects harder and harder (you need to be able to count on a certain number of workers to get projects done on time) more construction firms are turning to HR technology for solutions, according to Ben Eubanks, the Chief Research Officer for Lighthouse Research and Advisory.

Eubanks is a veteran author and speaker on HR technology. Lighthouse Research and Advisory talks to about 300 different companies in the technology space every year and Eubanks says they are seeing an increased demand for technology today versus the past. “One of the things that we’ve heard pretty consistently in the last year is that these companies are seeing more inbound conversations, more inbound requests for demos and people looking for technology,” he explains.

From those conversations, Eubanks says two-thirds of the companies surveyed felt 2020 exposed critical gaps in their talent technology, including how they are hiring, screening and onboarding candidates. Those companies quickly realized their current tech tools couldn’t handle the changes needed to adapt to virtual processes. Eubanks added construction firms are specifically looking to find HR technology that can help them hire workers faster, onboard them more efficiently and manage their schedules.

Faster Hiring Rates

The faster a candidate can go through your hiring process, the sooner they can get to work. Eubanks advises removing as many time-consuming hurdles to the process as possible, like getting the entire process down to five minutes and making sure the application can be accessed from a mobile device. He explains processes that take 25 minutes, require applicants to create a profile, use dozens of screens or require the use of a desktop computer, all add layers of friction that cause applicants to drop off the process. “Candidates don’t have 45 minutes to go and hang out on a desktop computer and try to do this, they had a crummy day at work and they’re going to be looking when they’re taking a break on their phone for the next jobs and being able to do that via mobile is a key differentiator there,” he explains.

Offering candidates a fast, mobile application process makes sense, considering Eubanks found 80% of construction job seekers’ traffic comes from a mobile device. “Don’t make it harder on those candidates to get into the process or you’re going to end up losing out to someone else, who has an easier application process,” he shares.

An applicant tracking system or ATS can help cut your time to hire by simplifying the application process. Your company controls what goes on the application and makes it easy for candidates to complete it. The ATS will also track all submitted applications, giving you a potential source for future positions.

Smoother Onboarding

Onboarding creates a foundation of trust and engagement while giving new recruits the tools to be productive faster. With more construction companies struggling to hire and retain employees, Eubanks stresses that engaging new employees right off the bat with the help of HR technology can help stem the turnover tide and save money. According to Gallup, it costs an employer $9,000 in lost productivity for employees earning $50,000 per year.

Successful onboarding:

  • Introduces your new employees to their roles and your company’s mission, goals, processes and culture.
  • Engages employees from the first day, creating a workforce that’s connected and invested in your company’s success.
  • Protects retention rates and reduces turnover costs.

Smart employers understand a good onboarding process not only gets new employees up to speed faster but ensures compliance by documenting all completed paperwork like tax forms and mandatory training.

HR software can help with onboarding by putting the process 100% online so new employees can access it from their phones even before their first day of work. It will also track and verify your new employee has submitted all required paperwork like W-4s, I9s, state withholding tax forms, direct deposit forms and e-Verify.

Effective Employee Management

Eubanks says along with recruiting and onboarding, more employers are looking for HR tools that help manage their employees effectively, especially in construction where monitoring overtime is essential for keeping projects on budget. “Overtime can kill the profitability on any sort of project. Helping companies to have insight into that allows them to respond more quickly, before it’s too late, before you’re two weeks behind,” he says.

Scheduling teams effectively is a goal for companies and they need tools to help them make better decisions and solve their HR issues, according to Eubanks. A time clock app can help teams work effectively by tracking when and where employees work and sending out notices when someone uses a sick day or is a no-show. Managers can also pull overtime reports daily or weekly to easily monitor which crews might be using more overtime than others.

Eubanks stresses companies that need to improve hiring, onboarding and employee management can use HR tools to make better decisions and address their talent issues. Arcoro specializes in providing construction companies with HR tools that help them hire, manage and grow their employees. Arcoro’s applicant tracking system, onboarding and time and attendance software offer solutions to HR challenges in construction and other industries. Schedule your free HR Assessment with an Arcoro expert to determine the benefits your company could reap from the kind technology tools Eubanks discusses.