Construction leaders are at high risk of losing their best employees.

As industry leaders were focused on rebuilding from the recession, three threatening trends have crept onto the construction scene. From the growing loss of skilled laborers to changing workforce expectations to the overhaul of contract and building processes, leaders need to be prepared.

Even with these impending threats, home building executives are building a strong employee engagement framework. In fact, nearly 73 percent of construction professionals identified as engaged, which is roughly 7 percent more than the national average, according to Quantum Workplace’s Engaging AEC Employees report. Similarly, 72 percent of architects and engineers also reported being engaged.

However, these impressive employee engagement levels must be handled with care. Changing workforce factors pose an immediate danger to the mental and emotional connections that employees feel toward their work.

Without these connections, a company’s profitability, client experience, employee turnover, talent acquisition, and the bonds leaders make between employees will suffer.

Don’t let threatening construction trends interrupt your work processes. Here are three evidence-based ways to build and support employee engagement in the home building industry:

1. Build trust in the future.
Every company needs a strong foundation of trust. But when employees fear for the future due to industry uncertainties, that trust is critical.

According to the previously-mentioned report, the number one driver of engagement for employees is trust in leaders to lead the company to future success. Due to uncertainty surrounding work execution from job to job and not knowing how projects will be structured, this trust will only be harder to gain. On top of that, the fear of mergers and acquisitions makes employees fear for not only their own employment, but the company as a whole.

Employees are well aware their future success relies on their leaders’ abilities. However, each employee has their own view on what a successful future looks like. That’s why leaders need to start building trust by understanding what the majority of employees want to see from the company.

Bring employees in on planning sessions to make them a clear part of the future and the plans that lay ahead. Once your team feels they’re part of the decision-making process, keep them in the loop with frequent communication efforts.

2. Put their strengths to use.
One of the leading factors in employee engagement is passion. Luckily for home building executives, many employees feel proud of their hard work and accomplishments. It’s important you don’t let that passion go to waste.

Your team is likely full of talented and dedicated employees who want to put their skills to good use. In fact, according to the report, the number two driver of employee engagement for employees is feeling their job allows them to use their strengths. Ignoring employees’ strengths makes them feel stagnant and restless in their positions.

And with a shrinking talent pool, restless employees are something leaders can’t afford.

Finding ways to reinvigorate employees’ passions and put their specific skills to use is a waste of time if you don’t understand employees. You should confidently be able to say you truly know your team — their soft skills, desires for growth, technological abilities, and skill specialties. Knowing each of these areas gives leaders the ability to help employees excel by offering coaching, advancement, or learning opportunities.

3. Value employees as your most important resource.
A recent PwC study, Millennials at work: Reshaping the workplace, revealed that millennials will make up 50 percent of the workforce by 2020. This growing group of employees makes our third — and final — driver of employee engagement more challenging than it once was.

The report found that workers want to know that leaders value employees as their most important resource. Although this idea is simplistic, ensuring that all employees feel this way isn’t.

With new generations comes new expectations. If leaders are unprepared to open up and understand what drives each employee and makes them feel valued, employee engagement will suffer.

Treat each employee as an individual to begin understanding what they need from you. Communicating with them frequently will ensure you’re updated on their changing expectations. In turn, this allows you to encourage and acknowledge them as the company’s most valuable resource.

Employee engagement will continue facing major roadblocks in years to come. But if leaders are willing to take time to stand side-by-side with their teams, their ability to tackle those problems will only increase.


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