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By Duane Craig
July 23, 2018
Construction has a perennial problem attracting workers. It's even worse today because firms need increasingly tech-savvy talent. Not long ago, using a talent pipeline was a strategic way to address your workforce needs. However, new research shows that the previous methods for attracting a pool of candidates are no longer effective. Here's what's behind the changes, and some practical advice for developing a successful workforce plan.
According to Aberdeen's "Hiring Tomorrow's Talent Today: The Talent Pipeline," Today’s incoming workforce is most interested in how the employer's culture lines up with their own goals and ambitions. They check those things before, or when, considering what their role in the organization would be.
Hence, the old approach where the company builds a talent pipeline to fill particular job descriptions puts the focus in the wrong place. It also suggests you aren't really building a pipeline until there's an opening, and then, you are competing against all other companies for a small pool of candidates. You're also only seeing those who are actively looking for a job. However, with the labor pools continually shrinking, it's more important than ever to consider people who are dissatisfied with their current positions, and those who have reached a dead-end with their current company.
In short, you need a "visibly attractive" culture that allows new talent to learn about you long before there's an opening for them. You want to draw candidates to you, and allow them to submit their resumes, creating an ongoing recruitment effort. Here is a practical approach to get you started.
Define Who Your Are, and Where You Are Going
Start with your business plan. Today, you're laying the groundwork for where you want the business to be tomorrow. For instance, maybe you're building single-family residential and have plans to add multi-family to your repertoire. In essence, you want to become a versatile residential contractor. To attract a steady stream of candidates, you need to show how your goals align with theirs.
So, you've done your homework. You reached out to local community colleges and universities where they have construction programs. You talked to the students. You've asked them what's important to them in an employer, and why they would choose one employer over another. With that information, you can begin to build an employer brand matching company goals to job candidate goals.
Here's an example:
So, Y&Y wrote a statement to sum up why it was the company for these aspiring workers.
"Today, we're completing another new home where first-time home buyers will find an affordable, safe, and stylish retreat from the hectic world. Next week, we'll start all over again, bringing the latest technology to bear on everyday construction challenges so the living spaces we build stay safe, affordable and stylish. Next year, we'll be delivering not only single-family residences, but multi-family as well. It’ll be a great opportunity for our team of pros to meet their own goals as they meet the goals of our company. Any day now, we're hoping our goals will align with yours."
Put it Out There
The next step is to make your company known to job seekers. Begin by creating incentives for your current employees to refer potential candidates. Go back to the college and university campuses to talk to students about construction in general. Participate in job fairs. Use social media and your blog to tell the story about your company. Get your company in front of potential recruits at recruiting events, on construction career-focused websites, and at other venues where job candidates congregate.
Be Who You Say You Are
A talent pipeline is for the long haul, so you need to stick with it and really deliver on your words. Otherwise, people will see you are not whom you say, and the pipeline won't exist.
The average, active, skilled worker has more than four jobs to choose from, according to Aberdeen. That puts almost two-thirds of companies who use the old talent pipeline battling it out for top talent. If you're one of them, you're also battling it out over a small subset of the potential workforce.
On the other hand, when you use a candidate-centric approach in your talent pipeline, you're reaching both the active and passive job candidates. You also speed up talent acquisition, you have more candidates with the requisite skills, and your pipeline works as a pipeline should—providing a steady flow of candidates to choose from whenever you have an opening.
If you liked this article, here are a few eBooks and webinars you may enjoy:
How to Hire Talented Workers Even During a Labor Shortage
Feed Them Tacos - How to Attract and Retain the Best Talent
Building a Culture of Excellence in Construction
skilled labor shortage
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