Training Tomorrow’s Workforce Today

One challenge I’m sure most employers have recently faced, especially in the construction industry, is the problems surrounding skilled labor shortage. Over commitment to clients and unexpected surges in construction starts coupled with a lack of skilled man power have led to several detriments within the industry.

  • Scheduling delays
  • Poorer quality
  • Reduced efficiency
  • Potential loss of work
  • Tarnished reputations

With many former industry employees forced into alternative careers during the last few years and veteran employees nearing retirement the industry is left with a hole to fill. The way I see it there are a couple of paths to take to remedy this problem.

  1. Give up existing work, or not take on new work to be able to maintain workload with existing employees. Or
  2. Invest in training new employees with little to no skills and manage growth responsibly.

Assuming most will not be attracted to the first suggestion we are left with number two. However the 2nd path is not the path of least resistance and is often approached with a half-hearted attempt due to common reasons.

  • Training is expensive
  • I don’t have time to train
  • I can’t find the right people to train
  • What if I train them and they leave

The key word in path number two is invest. Training employees is definitely an investment, however like most sound investments at some point it will begin to pay dividends. Employers should be encouraged to keep an eye on the long-term benefits of training employees. The truth is most employers don’t have much spare time, especially to be spent on training new employees. Getting creative with training can open the door to allowing the employee to do some follow-up training on their own time or at their own pace. Below are a couple of articles about training that I found interesting;

http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/how-to-train-employees-5-rules.html

http://www.trainingsys.com/articles/trnojt.html

http://trainingtoday.blr.com/employee-training-resources/How-to-Choose-the-Most-Effective-Training-Techniques

http://theweek.com/articles/451619/all-companies-should-train-employees-few-heres-how-fix-that

Turning your search to the education system can help solve the problem of whom to hire. There are many career technical education programs being taught at the high school and junior college level that can be a great recruiting source. Who better to be willing to train than someone who has been pursuing an education in the industry? Reach out to your local contractors association, or building industry association for some help in locating schools that are teaching what you want your prospective employees to know.

training-truss-design

Fear of the unknown is often a demotivating factor when it comes to accomplishing anything. Employers should not be fearful of losing talent post training. If anything it should be perceived as a compliment that then training you have provided has encouraged your employees to seek to improve themselves. On the contrary it has been shown that companies that have engaging training programs often have higher retention rates.

As economic indicators point towards a rebounding industry now is the time to be investing in training. Companies that are training their employees now will be positioned to out-pace and out-perform their competition in the coming months and years. If training is not a current priority ask yourself these questions.

  • How can you guarantee continued company sustainability and growth for years to come?
  • What are you offering to promote retention?
  • How are you planning to handle increased construction demands?
  • Do you currently have enough skilled workers?

Spend some time on developing a training program then put it to use. If you’re willing to invest in training then make it useful and meaningful. After all you will be training tomorrow’s workforce.

Jon Wagner – Design Professional

Gould Design, Inc.