While investment in construction is booming, so are the associated costs. At the same time, research from Associated Builders and Contractors says that the construction industry is expected to need 556,000 new workers to keep up with labor demands in the U.S. alone. Meanwhile, plenty of people are leaving due to retirement: in Canada, for example, it’s estimated that 257,000 construction workers will retire by 2029, increasing the number of new employees even further.
Companies in the construction industry are facing a unique set of challenges as demand increases globally. That’s driving a need for more construction workers. Meanwhile, rising materials and production costs are mounting, making it more difficult to use compensation to attract new talent—and making retaining that talent even more important.
Adopting technology that streamlines recruitment, retention and upskilling can help construction companies get ahead of the rising labor costs and growing labor shortages. Here are three technology-based solutions that can help modernize learning in the construction industry, making it easier to retain and train employees.
Solution 1: Modernize Compliance Training
Training in compliance, health and safety is a requirement for any role. Finding an efficient and effective way for employees to complete this training is critical. However, it can easily end up being time-consuming and expensive. Companies can use technology to help reduce these costs.
In-person training can get expensive. When considering travel, trainer compensation, physical materials and the use of dedicated work time, the costs can rack up quickly. Opting for online training through a learning management system (LMS) can enable employees to complete their training at a fraction of the cost of the in-person alternatives.
With an LMS, pre-built templates allow you to offer customized and engaging training that employees can complete during their downtime. An LMS allows for automated enrollment, reporting and record-keeping, making it easy to track who has completed what training and when. Courses can also be easily updated without the added hassle of reprinting training binders and saving new versions of slide decks for every change.
Although in-person training may be better suited to certain industries, online and hybrid training delivered through an LMS is worth considering in many cases. Comparing these options can help you select what’s best for your company.
Solution 2: Bridge the Skills Gaps
With so many new construction workers needed, there are bound to be skills gaps—especially if recruiting from outside the industry. Research from McKinsey found that 58% of U.S. construction workers plan to take future training, education or credentialing opportunities. That’s 17 percentage points higher than the average across all industries.
Aside from employees wanting the chance to do so, upskilling also offers benefits for the employer. Offering upskilling opportunities company-wide can help attract new talent and bridge the skills gaps so they can advance from entry-level workers to more specialized roles.
So what’s preventing businesses from upskilling their teams? A 2022 report from the Business Council of Canada found that businesses are willing to pay to upskill their employees, but that they have a tough time developing tailored programming. A talent development platform can help.
Using an online talent development platform to curate continuing education and training programs can make it easier to provide employees with upskilling opportunities. That way, they can adapt to the ever-changing needs of the industry and grow in their career without feeling like they need to leave their company.
Solution 3: Retain Employees With Professional Development
With record job openings and turnover rates, hanging onto a company’s best performers is more important than ever. But how do organizations entice them to stay?
With the competitive job market, offering professional development opportunities can help companies improve retention rates and employee satisfaction. Research in our white paper, Enabling Upskilling at Scale, shows that employees want to take professional development opportunities. One of the main barriers? The time commitment associated with upskilling.
Enter online and hybrid learning. Offering employees the chance to take self-led, asynchronous courses empowers them to learn on their own schedule. Maybe your employees don’t have time for an hourlong lesson, but they have four windows of 15 minutes throughout the week to learn the material in chunks. Making it possible to learn whenever and wherever can make it easier to upskill with a busy schedule. In doing so, companies can remove a barrier that’s significant to many of their employees.
Upskilling current employees can also be more cost-effective than hiring externally. When an employer provides employees with upskilling opportunities, it signals investment in their growth. Many workers want the opportunity to grow and advance in their careers. Working to create clear pathways and guidelines for internal mobility can help them understand their future at the company.
Using Tech to Streamline Learning
With material prices increasing and the need to recruit and retain employees high, technology can help construction companies gain back some ground.
Chase Banger is a Content Marketing Specialist at D2L. An award-winning journalist and former communications specialist, he has a passion for helping people through education.
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