COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on the construction industry and one that will affect hiring for the remainder of the year. In 2021, project delays, supply chain issues and worker health will remain top of mind in 2022, but possibly to a lesser degree (fingers crossed). Because even as variants of COVID-19, like omicron, have shattered previous infection records, the country continues to move full speed ahead towards recovery. The Associated Press reported that unlike a year ago, states aren’t setting mandates restricting business practices. Fewer restrictions mean construction companies can focus on growing their workforce but challenges in construction hiring still exist.
Labor Shortage is Construction’s Biggest Hurdle
Both nonresidential and residential construction is expected to grow in 2022, by 23.6% and 11.8% respectively according to ConstructConnect, which will lead to a demand for additional workers. According to ForConstruction Pros, in 2021 the construction industry added 121,000 jobs with gains across all major subsectors including 24,000 in residential, 15,000 in nonresidential and 10,000 in heavy civil engineering. The problem going forward lies in the fact that there aren’t enough workers to fill these positions. According to reports, there are roughly 65 unemployed workers for every 100 job openings. Construction companies will need to improve their candidate experience to entice workers to choose their company over the competition.
Turnover will Play a Huge Part in Construction Hiring
The second hurdle construction companies will have to jump is keeping those workers once they’re hired. Turnover reached a new high last November as 4.5 million workers quit their jobs. The resignations could be chalked up to a rise in COVID-19 cases due to the omicron variant or the fact that employees are leveraging the tight job market to find better opportunities – it is definitely a buyer’s market in terms of employees having the upper hand in the job market. Once hired, construction companies must make sure they keep their newly hired workers engaged and happy, from day one.
Use HR Technology for Construction Hiring in a Post-COVID World
One way to get a hiring advantage in 2022 is by using HR technology. Manually recruiting employees, e.g., placing individual job postings, sorting paper resumes and noting unqualified candidates for reporting, take a lot of time. According to the 2021 Construction Business Report, 32% of construction companies say manual processes are where their businesses experience the most inefficiencies.
Use an ATS
An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) allows companies to reach the right candidates and get them on the job quickly. An ATS can target a specific group of candidates, like workers with masonry or plumbing skills, across multiple job boards and track referrals – automatically.
An ATS can also allow you to create internal talent pools, instead of always looking for brand new talent. A talent pool is a database consisting of candidates who have shown interest in your company. The talent pool is typically maintained by an ATS and includes people who applied to your company and were not a match for the position at the time or individuals who are currently employed at your organization. Using a talent pool can reduce your time to hire.
Add Onboarding Software
Cloud-based onboarding software can not only help you get your new employees on the job faster but keep them engaged. Onboarding software allows new employees to complete required forms from home, before their first day on the job. The process can be even faster and easier if your ATS is integrated with your onboarding system. This provides new workers with a great onboarding experience and speeds time to productivity.
For construction companies, onboarding software with a kiosk mode makes it possible to onboard entire crews from a single workstation or mobile device, like a table. No individual login is required. Your employees don’t even need an email address to get started.
A good onboarding process can help increase retention. Employees who receive a well-structured onboarding program are 69% percent more likely to remain with a company for up to three years. Retention, in turn, saves companies time and money down the line. It takes about $4,000 to hire and train a new employee, so improve your chances of retaining skilled workers by getting them off to a great start.
While we’re definitely not living in a complete “post-COVID” world when the virus is still rampant, the country is moving forward anyway. Construction companies must make sure their hiring processes are the best they can be. Using HR technology, like an ATS and onboarding, is one way your company will be able to stand out from the competition.