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Harvey Gretton, Managing Director at Blayze Group in this latest feature he writes about how leaders within the construction sector can support the foundations of the industry.

It is regularly reported in industry publications and news that there is a growing skills shortage across the construction industry. This shortage is a key strategic issue for businesses and leaders. In times of sector growth, such as in the current market which will continue over the next 3-5 years, this skills shortage places significant additional pressure on the business to meet its goals which in turn places significant strain on existing staff. In today’s market, the number one business issue is people resource.

This sector growth and skills shortage ultimately drives wage inflation, which we are already seeing in the recruitment market, placing additional pressure on organisations to meet their current and future project demands. Adding in the people complexity of a post-pandemic workplace environment and Generation Z entering the workplace, it is critical for organisations to invest in their talent pipeline to ensure the future long-term security and growth of their organisation.

Starting this investment in the development of the foundation talent levels of the construction industry will meet new employee expectations and is key to attracting new staff to the industry, whilst developing existing staff to perform in their current and future roles. New employees want more than to work on great projects, they want investment in themselves and their careers. This demonstrates that leadership teams value their employees and want to support their development. Only by prioritising this at a leadership level will the organisation’s targets and ambitions be met.

It is, therefore, an absolute leadership priority to drive this strategy and set their organisation up for success through clear development offerings, career path communication and support.

It is key to understand that all role levels across the different departments, from an entry point position to a Director level role, play an integral part in the success of the construction project and ultimately the overall success of the organisation. It is crucial that effective leadership skills are developed to drive project efficiency and profit through greater skill deployment and improved employee collaboration resulting in strong employee retention rates for the organisation.

The starting point for organisational success is leaders understanding the importance of their organisational values how they translate through all elements of employee development so they can set their brand apart and attract a new and diverse workforce.

Investing in having a robust and well thought through career framework, aligned to the organisational values, will provide the structure for clear career progression and where foundation level employees, in particular, can align their development to the demands of the roles they are undertaking. It will provide confidence to the managers of foundation level staff to provide clear and consistent performance management.

If this is clear through the recruitment process, then employees will join your organisation for a career opportunity as opposed to taking a role to fulfil a job. This mindset is key to long-term employee retention rates.

Blayze Group has had significant success running Academy programmes for large organisations in the sector which focuses on attracting new staff from non-traditional backgrounds, but with high levels of transferable skills. Programmes such as these will allow the construction industry to attract new talent with the potential to grow into industry leaders. Success in talent development and growth in an organisation can only come from the top down. Today’s leaders need to develop robust talent and succession plans that directly support their organisational values and objectives.

The level of success in talent planning can vary between organisations for a plethora of reasons. There may be internal political tension between promoting from within and hiring externally, for example, or simply a lack of clarity on the long-term organisational hierarchy or structure. Questions such as these can be difficult to address objectively when leaders are in the midst of day-to-day management of staff.

As such, working with an expert talent and leadership consultant can be a powerful way to receive actionable insight. One specialised consultancy team, Blayze Vantage, has helped multiple businesses and leaders across the built environment to develop frameworks that support the foundations of the business. At a base level, leaders can support the industry by bridging the skills shortage gap through a considered and effective long-term hiring framework.

In summation, leaders in construction can support the industry by nurturing talent frameworks that are set up for long-term success. Success is reliant on multiple cogs in the talent wheel. From sustainable and accurate hiring to employee development, to organisational structure and leadership objectives, all aspects of a career and talent framework need to be carefully designed against the particularities of each organisation and its values. The construction industry is ultimately built upon the foundation of its people, so supporting your talent is supporting an industry set for impressive growth in the years to come.

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