Alexandr Mitiuc/Photos.comFrom recruitment to leadership, human resources management will help your business

By Barbara Bowes, Legacy Bowes Group

Six years ago, the results of a national leadership survey revealed five top looming workforce challenges for any and all industry sectors. The top five challenges included the attraction and retention of skilled professionals, developing manager capability, retaining high performers, developing succession pool depth and addressing management and leadership talent. 

So, where does the construction industry stand? The answer: in a very tough place! That’s according to forecasts developed by BuildForce Canada, a national industry-led organization committed to providing accurate and timely labour market data and analysis. Their research is showing that the construction industry is currently and will continue experiencing a significant shortfall of skilled construction tradespeople over the next decade.

I’m quite certain that corporate leaders have been fully aware of this shortfall for some time, yet are challenged as to what role they can be play in turning around an entire industry sector. My advice is to voice your concern to government and educators while at the same time focusing on ensuring your company is the best of the best in your business.

Being the best of the best means that your company has excellent human resources systems and that you practice what you preach to your customers and market through your websites. If your branding slogans boast of such things as superior resources, personal service, a collaborative approach and/or fostering innovative solutions, then I guarantee you can’t accomplish this without good human resources practices.

Heavy impact
Human resources practices touch every aspect of your business and create a “domino” effect. In other words, if one part of the system is ineffective, it’ll impact all other parts of the system. This can result in misalignment with company vision, poor morale, high turnover, interdepartmental conflict and low productivity, all of which will ultimately hit your bottom line profitability.

In simple terms, good human resources management means hiring the right people at the right time with the right skills and doing the right things within a strong supportive environment. While there are many complexities within human resources management systems, I personally believe that a focus on the two key strategies of a) recruitment and selection and b) a focus on training and development will help to steer any company in the right direction. Let’s examine the elements of each strategy.

Define your organizational culture
A candidate can have all the skills in the world, but if they don’t fit into your organization’s culture, they will simply not stay for the long term. At the same time, candidates that do fit are known to reduce turnover statistics by 30 per cent. In fact, in my experience, most candidates who do not fit exit within one year, often leaving a trail of distrust and hidden costs behind them. Believe me, culture always wins! So, take time to define the key values within your culture and incorporate these into your candidate assessment process. Create specific behavioural questions that identify and confirm the right experiences and values for your company in order to ensure the right fit.


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Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.