The Construction Labor Shortage: Overcoming Adversity with Workforce Management

Male construction worker marking the level point on a building with a level.

Industries across the nation are facing an unprecedented labor shortage — the construction industry is no exception. Skilled laborers with years of experience are retiring with a lack of qualified workers lined up behind them. This is a familiar issue in construction, but has recently intensified. 

As one generation tries to pass the reins to the next, it’s become increasingly difficult to hang on to up-and-coming talent or identify the next set of leaders ready to take over. This not only impacts construction, but also families, businesses, doctors, teachers and more. How? The construction industry molds the communities we live in, shapes the city skylines we work in and builds the hospitals and schools we rely on. Without a healthy pipeline of construction workers, progress stops. The labor shortage creates a lasting impact that will be felt not only today, but for generations to come. 

Our suggestion on battling the labor shortage? Retain the employees you currently have first. And one way to do that is by managing field workers properly. Let’s take a deeper dive into a few of our customers’ stories to understand how they’re implementing better workforce management practices to retain employees, and ultimately, combat the labor shortage. 

Guarantee Electric Improves Employee Morale and Creates A Culture of Familiarity

Guarantee Electrical Company was founded in St. Louis, Mo., in 1902 to help electrify the 1904 World’s Fair. Fast forward 120 years and Guarantee works on jobs across the United States with a focus on protecting their legacy and caring for their people. 

To help retain skilled laborers and create a culture experienced workers would be attracted to, they brought in a human resources (HR) professional to develop a strong workforce and nurture people to develop individually and as a collective unit. Guarantee wanted to be more thoughtful about their workforce and have their newfound HR group to do more than payroll, benefits and provide typical HR support. They wanted to break down barriers and bridge the gap to create a cohesive team and connected environment. 

Greg Crook, VP of HR and Workforce Strategies, Guarantee Electrical says, "Right now, dwindling talent is plaguing the construction industry and there's a future supervision shortage. LaborChart and focusing on workforce management allows us to look at our talent pool, identify potential within our workforce, know when we need to create recruitment campaigns and develop future leaders."

With a focus on workforce management, Guarantee has fostered a culture of familiarity and created a collaborative crew that proactively communicates from the office to the field and everywhere in between. Their employees feel taken care of, the leadership team understands their people and they’re able to identify future leaders that will move the company forward for the next 100 years. 

Desco Increases Employee Data Visibility to Improve Project Management and Labor Scheduling 

Desco was founded in 1956 by brothers Nestor and Orest Samycia and based in Edmonton, the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta. They’ve been around for over 60 years and were scheduling labor on a piece of paper. They were passing notes, half-way using spreadsheets and noticed scheduling inaccuracies and communication breakdowns. Questions about who was where, who was certified and how they could plan ahead flooded their leadership team. With competitors nearby, Desco was concerned about losing their workforce, but was also hesitant about making a process change that could intimidate employees.

Desco knew a change was needed and shifted their focus to workforce management and a digital platform that housed all of their employee data. From job scheduling to paid time off, Desco now relies on one source of truth to store their employee information. This empowers their team to know who’s around, who has the next week off and how they need to adjust their project and workforce scheduling. This mindset not only helps their business, but also keeps their people happy. They know where they’re going next. They have a leadership team that values their employees and cares about their people enjoying time off with family and friends. It also keeps the Desco workforce committed to their customers and dedicated to coming back for more work and providing long-lasting premier concrete solutions. 

Desco went from a company that passed labor scheduling notes to a company that now relies on technology that helps them  take care of their most important asset — their people. 

Workforce Management Helps Combat the Construction Labor Shortage

The labor shortage is a widespread issue in industries across the nation. Understanding your roster, each individual’s skill set and proactively communicating can help contractors, big or small, retain the field workers they have today. Housing all of the data that comes from this approach is where LaborChart can help.

Give us a shout and let’s talk more about workforce management and how it can help your business tackle the labor shortage.

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Sr. Workforce Advisor
Gary Fuchs is a Senior Workforce Advisor at LaborChart. Prior to LaborChart, Gary was VP of Construction at Westphal Electric. He and his wife Cheryl are proud parents of three daughters and 10 grandchildren. Gary enjoys woodworking, golf, hunting, fishing, and working with LaborChart. In his past, Gary was a volunteer firefighter and basketball official.

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