The construction industry’s massive labor gap continues.
Why does the number of job openings dwarf the number of applicants? What good will President Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill to upgrade bridges, roads, and transit systems do if there aren’t enough qualified people to do the work?
Training—or lack thereof—is a good place to start when troubleshooting the labor shortage afflicting numerous industries. Many people who leave jobs do so because they were never properly trained. And many people who are looking for jobs don’t have the skills necessary.
Training Is Investing
Meantime, leaders in the construction profession and other fields must be mindful to retain the skilled workers they have during a tough labor market. And to do so, it is vital that workers are trained on an ongoing basis and in ways that are effective and conducive to long-term employment, thus giving their companies the best chance of consistent, long-term growth.
The biggest thing people misunderstand about training is that real training means investing in your people. I’ve owned and operated numerous companies for many years, a construction firm being one of them, and my mindset about employees is the same in each of those enterprises: I don’t hire people, I invest in them, and I expect employees to invest in me.
If you’re not investing in your people, you’re not doing it right. When I tell employees I’m investing in them, sometimes they look at me like I’m crazy. But this is where culture training starts. They’re keeping my business going and helping put food on my table just the same as I put food on theirs. You’re hiring someone with a personality and goals and a life, so care about them and the future of your company by investing in them—the people who will make it happen.
Creating an Experience
Your employees aren’t just employees. They’re also what I like to call “experience creators.” Company leaders and their employees, regardless of industry, are creating an external experience for their customers and an internal experience for themselves. Your staff is having an experience when they come to work and interact with each other. They want to work with people they like and to learn from them and grow with them.
It’s important that your employees understand that they’re creating an experience for each other. When I was coaching an architectural firm, I asked the owner, “What do you call the people who draw your homes?” He replied that they were designers. I said, “Imagine if you called them ‘experience creators’ instead.”
He wanted to know why. “When they design the kitchen,” I said, “do they think of how the sun will come through the windows? If the sun hits the kitchen table in the morning while I’m drinking my coffee, I’ll be mad that it’s in my eyes.”
He saw my point. These details matter. They dictate the entire experience a homeowner will have while living there. An architect can design a house, but it takes an experience creator to design a home.
Affirmations like experience creator only work if you use them daily. And you cannot expect this from your employees unless you’ve trained them every day. Training, done correctly, never stops.