A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and the same could be said for a company. A workforce only being as strong as its weakest worker. Yet, it’s the strongest who are most likely to leave if they’re not motivated.
Finding the right stuff
Labour is tight in the Canadian construction industry, as demand exceeds supply. Employers need to resort to a variety of tactics to secure new employees. Among them: Targeting apprentices with a few years experience under their toolbelt; using the Federal Skilled Workers and Temporary Foreign Workers programs to hire offshore skilled labour; and, turning to recruitment consultants to headhunt suitable candidates.
Training for tomorrow
All that effort is wasted, though, if a company can’t retain their staff. Therefore, many companies are now taking the novel approach of train-to-retain.
As an integral part of a company’s specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely (SMART) performance review program, more emphasis is being put on paid training and education. It’s a win-win for everyone. The employee gets paid training, which increases their knowledge, counts towards their performance review and ultimately rewards them at year-end. The company gets a better-trained employee, who’s motivated and more likely to stay around because they’ve bought into their performance objectives.
Gold Seal certification is a nationally recognized qualification provided by the Canadian Construction Association. Candidates accumulate course credits before taking the final exam. Recently graduated apprentices and seasoned skilled professionals can also head back into the classroom to take specialty technician courses, such as HVAC or security system courses.
Many companies also promote unrelated courses, such as effective time management. These types of courses are usually offered online by companies like LinkedIn Learning. The benefits aren’t simply limited to learning. Employees can take these courses during work hours, which eliminates travelling time or evening classes, and employers can track the completed learning modules for review purposes.
Service vendors also offer training courses. These invaluable courses are usually offered free-of-charge as more users are a self-fulfilling prophesy for vendors plying user licenses.
Retention is the full package
However, training is only a part of a successful retention strategy. Eighty-nine percent of medium-sized companies (5 to 95 employees) offer a complete benefits package, including medical & dental, health benefits, such as discount gym membership and pension contributions.
In an industry where skilled labour comes at a premium, organizations are extending benefits to the whole family. At the cost of about $160 per month for a family of four, extended healthcare insurance is a good mechanism for keeping employees.
Transfer of Knowledge through Mentoring
One alternative approach of maintaining loyalty is mentoring. As retirees hit the golf course for a well-earned break, many are being invited back on a part-time basis, to provide mentoring to their former colleagues. This transfer of knowledge is accelerating employee development. It also enables former apprentices to fill the gap of their more tenured colleagues.
Let’s return to the chain analogy. Instead of finding a new chain, isn’t it better to strengthen the links of your old chain?