Are you listening!

You don’t have one? Oh, yes you do.

In these times of talent wars, of zero candidates being available, and with almost every construction company needing some new hires, the No. 1 thing owners and leaders can do is protect the good staff that they already have. If you become a company that employees love to stay with, you will also become a magnet for good talent.

We know as recruiters that employees don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad bosses. Think back to the good people your company has lost in the last few years. Analyze why they left. And, presuming you figured out it was to avoid a certain person, take a wild guess at who that person in your company is. Most companies have one. I call him or her the “Director of Desertion.”

Time and time again, there is one person in the company whose negativity, table thumping, or browbeating is responsible for a majority of talent drain from the company. Whether it’s a VP abusing many in the firm or a PM’s attitude to an APM or project coordinator, desertion is most often attributed to the same known nay-sayers, complainers, and whiners. And yet most of our clients accept this behavior, because the troublemaker was “too valuable to lose.”

When you think of the financial cost of replacing valued employees, it’s horrendous. Adding up the opportunity costs of lost productivity, errors due to management overload, recruiting fees, training of new hires, etc., it’s huge. And then, adding insult to injury, some of your best people are working for your opposition, giving away your secrets. And worst of all, you become known on the street as a revolving door firm, where top talent will not even consider working.

Analysts predict that the construction industry will need 1.2 million in the next year (management and labor), and there are just over 300,000 qualified candidates available. It’s easy to predict the pressure that is coming; your staff will be recruited as indeed you will try to recruit from other firms you compete with. Salaries are already rising, and it will be across the board. Hiring great staff will not be just about money. The No. 1 reason people change jobs is “quality of life.” The single biggest thing that negatively affects quality of life at work is a toxic atmosphere. And almost invariably, one person creates it more than any other.

So, before you buy one more piece of software, or send box seats to your clients, spend some time, energy, and, if need be, money, figuring out how to make your company a great place to work.

Hire for attitude, train for skills.” I write it here every month. Great companies have great attitudes. And their employees have great attitudes. In this coming talent shortage, improving your workplace is the greatest single investment you can make in your business.

Now, go out there and fire your Director of Desertion.

Image credit: IOFOTO