- Features | February 5, 2019
In January 2018 IEC published an article written by MCA with focus on the topic of recruiting workers (Recruiting for the Future, January 2018, Insights Magazine); hopefully by now you were able to successfully implement some of the concepts and it has satisfied your head count needs. The next step is of course to retain the best people that you have; the aspiring and capable leaders for your business. Offering more money is not always the solution. People are less motivated by money then what they want you to believe, and this is especially true of skilled workers. Money enables people to live a quality life, and to achieve a sense of financial security that is critical to success, but money is not a measure of success for most people. What we need in order to effectively retain our best skilled workers is to develop a business culture that recognizes and promotes those who desire an elevated career path.
Your company needs to have an available career path for future leaders and a plan that allows them to navigate this path.
Not everyone is cut out for leadership, and this is particularly true when it comes to leading skilled workers. Perhaps one of the greatest mistakes that business owners, executives and top leaders make is believing that everyone thinks like they think, and that everyone is driven the way they’re driven. In fact, hiring and retaining the traditional white-collar worker is relatively easy in contrast to attracting and retaining the traditional blue-collar and/or pink-collar work force. This is true because they present their achievements and their career goals neatly laid out on their resume, written in a language that you can relate to and understand. Your apprentices, on the other hand, probably haven’t provided you with a resume, and when you talk with them, they don’t tell you that they’re anxious to put down their tools and fill out reports for “the office,” or be responsible for the performance of their coworkers.
Developing your emerging, future leaders begins with recognizing them. You must know what the characteristics and behaviors of your future leaders are, and what it looks like in their current role, as an Apprentice or Journeyman. Avoiding the “Peter Principle1” is a matter of realizing that a worker who simply excels at his current assignment is not necessarily ready, or even interested in advancement. Most workers, whether they want it or not, will accept a promotion either for fear of giving the wrong impression if they turn it down or out of appreciation for the recognition of their past accomplishments. An unwanted promotion is easily justified with additional compensation and perks. An unwanted promotion only results in an underperforming, once stellar employee and lost productivity and profitability for your business.
The characteristics of an emerging leader are both behavior and knowledge, but most importantly the ability to combine the two effectively. In this case effectively means knowing what is needed by the company, knowing what is needed by the worker and translating the two into an effective leadership style that preserves respect from management and labor. In a more tactical explanation; this is the ability to motivate the work force to achieve increased productivity and profitability.
As the Construction Industry works through its cu