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A Shrinking Labor Pool Means Construction Firms Need To Amp Up Their Employee Benefits


As the construction job market continues to grow, construction unemployment has reached an all-time low, leaving the industry to grapple with an intense shortfall of available, skilled workers. With nearly 80% of U.S. construction companies planning to hire in 2019, employers are finding they need to do more to attract qualified hires and bring projects to life.

Many construction companies are raising pay, others are offering bonuses or better healthcare plans, while still more have implemented other creative ways to grow their talent pipelines. Construction companies are also investing in continued education and even offering employees equity to come aboard.

“Investing in our employees and providing direct ownership through our Employee Stock Ownership Plan are unique recruiting tools, and we’re seeing results in our efforts to attract and, just as importantly, retain top talent,” Branch Builds President Craig Floyd said. “We’ve had an ESOP in place since 1982 and it has always been a draw for new talent, but right now, with hiring as competitive as it is, the program has proven to be a big advantage.”

Branch is 100% employee-owned, and Floyd said because every Branch employee has a stake in the company, every team member, from entry level to foreman, has a vested interest in the success of each project and pride in the buildings that they make.

Competitive benefits aren’t just helpful for hiring. They can play a big role in employee retention, which saves major capital. The interview process, negotiation and training a replacement can cost twice the salary of an employee who leaves the company, and those turnover costs can amount to more than 10% of a company’s pre-tax annual income. 

For Branch, the ESOP is not the be-all end-all — it is part of a two-pronged approach. Offering employees equity in the company rewards loyalty. On top of that, Branch wanted a way to promise growth and upward mobility. Another benefit Floyd said has helped Branch attract prospective hires and keep employees around for the long haul is professional development and continuing education opportunities.

In a recent study, 94% of workers said they would stay in a role longer if their employer invested in their career with continued learning and professional development opportunities. But for employees to take advantage of such an offering, companies must provide not only the financial resources, but also the time and flexibility to enroll in courses or attend conferences and workshops.

Floyd said Branch Builds offers employees both. When employees are able to take advantage of continued education opportunities, Floyd said, the company has seen them double down on their commitment to, and enthusiasm for, Branch projects.

“It’s not just about the effort of hiring or the cost of rehiring,” Floyd said. “If we have high turnover, it’s much more challenging, if not impossible, to build the high-performance teams our business plan relies on. Sure, these benefits help us stay competitive in a labor shortage so we aren’t short-staffed or settling for less experienced hires, but at the end of the day, we need to offer whatever it takes to make sure our employees are — or have the opportunity to become — leading experts in the industry, because that is how we’re able to offer state-of-the-art solutions to our clients.”

This feature was produced in collaboration between Bisnow Branded Content and Branch Builds. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.