Finding Real Estate and Construction Talent – and Keeping It

by Mary Varano

The real estate industry, like many others, continues to face challenges attracting and retaining talent. It’s vital real estate and construction companies be proactive in their efforts, but it can seem like an overwhelming task. Here’s how to get started:

  • Acknowledge that the worker shortage is reality, and make recruitment a key priority. Owners and managers at real estate and construction companies have a lot on their plates. All too often, they focus on short-term issues and daily demands. Consequently, long-term challenges like recruitment can take a backseat. Even if they don’t currently face employee shortages, companies must make recruitment a strategic business priority. That can take many forms – from active participation in job fairs and building relationships with union and non-union trade schools, to frequent use of job boards, job sites and more – but the effort must be proactive, not reactive.

If your real estate/construction company has human resources professionals on staff (or employees tasked primarily with HR duties), have them establish measurable programs and targets, and make it a point to keep yourself updated on progress over time. If your company doesn’t have in-house HR capabilities, align yourself with a capable and experienced provider of these services. They’ll have the capabilities, external relationships and bandwidth to set your company up for success in this hyper-competitive talent landscape.

  • Establish and maintain top-notch onboarding practices. Strategies and tactics for attracting and training Gen Zers and others in the real estate and construction trade are well-known—from partnering with vocational and high schools and apprenticeships to offering high starting salaries, incentives and even bonuses to new workers. Yet recruiting and hiring new workers is only part of the equation. A real estate/construction company’s ability to properly onboard its new employees is key to retaining them over time, and avoiding many of the problems associated with today’s war on talent.
  • Augment outside training with additional in-house training programs and initiatives as needed. You can do a great job onboarding your new employees. But there may be situations in which additional training is needed to fully integrate your new employees into their daily roles, as well as the company in general. Hard-skills training, for example, could include training on specific construction equipment, or safety data sheet (SDS) training to help selected personnel determine reaction relations between chemicals. We also recommend soft-skills training for supervisors that includes a focus on basic leadership performance and Emotional Intelligence (EI).
  • Establish and nurture an environment of true employee engagement. Again, the war on talent is real. It’s paramount that company leaders – from owners and executives on down through management and colleagues – treat employees like the valued assets they are. That means integrating engagement best practices throughout your organization. People have options today; if engagement doesn’t occur, if employees aren’t treated fairly and with respect, and if workforce culture doesn’t measure up, those assets will seek opportunities elsewhere.

Corrigan Krause Specializes in Construction Accounting

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