NAWIC Today Jan. Feb.: Meet the Committees

That’s because the demand for employees in construction and contracting isn’t likely to decrease—even in the face of inflation and a possible recession. A slowing housing market may mean some talent working in residential construction becomes available to other parts of the industry, but demand for employees in commercial, highways and utility will still outstrip supply. According to ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. “The No. 1 challenge for contractors continues to be securing sufficient numbers of skilled, motivated construction workers.” This all points to why company culture is so important, and it’s not just in the near term. Employees have choices about where they want to work, so the beliefs, values and actions of an organization come into play when and whether someone decides to look for a position… or a career.

“It’s all about engagement,” says Jill Brugman, director of HR for Arcoro, a company that provides HR construction technology. “When you have a strong culture you see more retention, greater happiness and just an overall higher level of employee commitment and loyalty.” Brugman, a NAWIC member of the Greater Phoenix Chapter #98 who previously worked in HR in both construction and manufacturing, says that making sure everyone feels included is essential in disseminating culture. “It’s not just about the people in the office—everyone needs to be included and appreciated.”

That’s why she wholeheartedly recommends that people and business leaders make sure they go where their employees are—whether that’s a plant floor or a job site.

“It’s a really big deal when someone from HR shows up on site wearing jeans and a hard hat,” she says. “But it’s not only about showing up, it’s about listening and also demonstrating how much the company values the work employees are doing.” Brugman says that give-backs like an onsite barbeque, a family picnic or a raffle are always appreciated, but they’re only part of what’s really important for construction and contracting companies.

“One of the biggest aspects of culture is safety. It can’t be overstated because it’s fundamental to this industry and it also makes good business sense,” she says.

Employees want to feel that their employer values their physical safety. That’s why it’s crucial to make safety everyone’s responsibility.


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