Industries like the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) are already struggling with a skilled labor shortage. Hence, effectively engaging newly hired employees with the organization, and introducing them to on-the-job safety information as well as the tools and information they need to be successful takes on greater importance.
Construction onboarding is more than orientation or processing paperwork for new hires. Rather, as defined by the Society for Human Resources Development (SHRM), employee onboarding is a strategic process that helps new hires:
“adjust to social and performance aspects of their new jobs quickly and smoothly, and learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively within an organization.”
This crucial process toward employee retention can take up to 12 months and involves frequent check-ins to integrate new employee into their role with training, support and expectations.
New employee onboarding challenges in the construction industry
An engaging employee onboarding process can have a significant impact on your bottom line. While onboarding employees is a critical HR strategy, there are challenges in the construction industry that are impacting the onboarding process. First and foremost, construction demand is at an all-time high and it’s only projected to grow through 2030. As companies attempt to keep up with the work, they need to onboard employees quickly to get them into the field. And, let’s face it — a contractor wants to show up to the site and get to work, it’s as simple as that. But as construction companies focus on deploying new craft onto a new project, they must onboard contractors with a focus on safety because new-hire construction workers experience work-related injuries more frequently than any other type of employee. In fact, the Hartford, Connecticut-based insurer analyzed more than 1.5 million workers compensation claims over a five-year period (2015-2019) — and thirty-five percent of workplace injuries occurred during a worker’s first year on the job.
Another challenge facing the construction industry is that often times contractor certifications are entered upon hire, but because the onboarding process doesn’t integrate with other systems, it makes it challenging to easily manage, track, and monitor contractors in real-time. So when moving from one construction project to another, the construction onboarding process can hit delays tracking active certifications.
Since construction onboarding can play a significant role in adding to and retaining more workers in the talent pipeline, EPC companies need to implement strategies to improve the onboarding process for new employees. Here are 5 ways they can do so:
Engage them early – no blackout period: There’s no need to waste time bringing new hires into the fold. Many applicant tracking systems integrate with onboarding, payroll, and EPC project management solutions to bring employees onboard as soon as they accept the offer and introduce them to the company culture.
Utilize these onboarding solutions to connect new employees with support, goal-setting, and skilled and industry-based training program so that workers understand their expectations, proper safety, and operating procedures prior to deploying to the field to produce quality work.
Give them tools – and an onboarding employee roadmap – to succeed
By using integrated EPC solutions, new hires have a positive construction onboarding process that helps them feel more engaged, knowledgeable and connected. Whether you are introducing new hires to existing employees, leaders, or mentors via video or team-oriented activities, give your skilled labor connections to reach out to with questions, inspiration or guidance.
Providing new hires with onboarding activities also provides them basic training and familiarity with the project management tools they will be using – so, they spend less time on training and paperwork and more time in the field.
Outside of providing connections, utilize systems that include goal and performance setting, help outline job and field expectations and organize and track tasks that need to be completed and managed electronically.
Boost company reputation
This is often overlooked, but creating a simple, savvy and effective onboarding process communicates the employer’s brand to the employee and builds a strong first impression. Employers often lose first-choice candidates or hire the wrong people for the job because their onboarding processes and systems don’t match their brand or vision.
If your company prides itself on being innovative, making informed decisions or utilizing effective processes and technology in the field, but still uses a manual construction onboarding process, there’s a big mismatch.
Effective employee branding or internal communications doesn’t need a fancy marketing budget. Rather, show your new hires who you are with a positive employee onboarding experience.
Simplify the process
When you win a project bid, there’s little time to waste deploying craft into the field – but that doesn’t mean you skip the entire onboarding process.
Automate your workflows, paperwork and normal onboarding process to keep onboarding hassle-free and more productive. From the offer letter to alerts and notifications when documents, activities and training or due, complete or incomplete, let your human resource focus more on creating engaging processes and less on enforcing deadlines and penalties for missing documents.
With the click of a button, you can send IT requests to set up new hires’ badge, phone, tablet and logins for their construction daily log, payroll solution and EPC project management logins before they arrive. Utilize an onboarding system that gives all your new hires everything they need and instantly connects their data across existing systems.
Promote Construction Growth
New employees want to know they can make a career from their new gig – and construction companies are worried about the worker shortage and worker retention. To meet both challenges, onboarding employees should include empowering individuals to feel connected, supported, and able to develop professionally.
Integrating your construction onboarding software with your Construction Management and HR and Payroll Software promotes construction growth and embraces a learning culture helps retain talent. (Did you know that 94 percent of employees would stay at a company longer if the company invested in their learning and development?)
If individuals can set and see goals set for them through the construction onboarding process, they’ll most likely stick around beyond the first 90 days.
Learn more about how CEM’s construction onboarding software can improve the onboarding process for new hires.