The construction industry is facing a workforce obstacle right now. It’s getting harder to recruit and retain workers for your construction crews, and you’re missing out on opportunities because of it.
My team and I help clients address their construction business workforce problems. But I get asked all the time specifically how we do it, so let’s dive into that today!
In this episode of the Contractor’s Daughter podcast, you’ll learn about the three critical workforce problems that construction businesses face. I’ll also tell you how you can turn those pain points into a strategic advantage that makes your company stand out in its market and positively affects your ROI.
5:42 – Do any of these workforce scenarios sound familiar?
9:51 – Taking a look at the return on investment and opportunity costs
12:27 – The cost of replacing someone and the key to keeping workers around
17:23 – Are you leaving up to $10 million a year on the table?
19:47 – How our Workforce Strategy Design process helps you address these workforce challenges
Mentioned In How We Can Help Your Construction Business Overcome Workforce Obstacles
Quotes From The Episode
“Attracting and retaining the right talent is a universal struggle.” – Jeani Ringkob
“For the construction industry, it’s averaging a whopping 21% of a person’s salary every time we have to bring in a new face.” – Jeani Ringkob
“It’s time to turn the tides, keep our teams strong, and keep the talent we’re investing in right there with us.” – Jeani Ringkob
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Welcome to The Contractor's Daughter, your go-to podcast for eliminating random acts of strategy and marketing in your highway construction business. Hello, friends. I'm your host, Jeani Ringkob. I'm a third-generation asphalt contractor and an absolute brand strategy and marketing geek.
Welcome to The Contractor's Daughter podcast. I'm your host, Jeani Ringkob. Have you been talking about workforce in your business? Have you been talking about it at conferences, with peers, with your team? I get it. I think half of my presentations coming up this conference season are going to be on workforce.
That's what we're going to dive into today. But more specifically, I'm actually going to share with you a question I’m getting a lot about what are you doing specifically? So what am I doing, my team doing with our clients to help them address their workforce problems? Let's dive right in there.
Welcome to the podcast. We're going to just get right into this and we're going to be talking about how we grow our construction businesses, but not just that, we're going to grow them by overcoming an obstacle that's facing us in our industry right now.
We're all about tackling the hurdles that pop up in the growth journey of our companies, finding more efficient and effective ways to build stronger, better businesses, and right now, workforce, recruiting, retaining those people, and having the ability to chase the work that is out there, there's so much opportunity. So many of us are pushing and pulling away from it because we just don't have the most critical asset that we need to be able to pursue that work.
Let's talk about this critical problem and the bottleneck that's holding us back from reaching our momentum. Instead, let's switch the script a little bit. We're going to be talking about how can we address this workforce challenge.
Attracting and retaining the right talent is a universal struggle. We are all facing this in the quest to grow our strong healthy businesses. We're diving into this super deep today.
More importantly, we're unveiling a game changing tool that we've actually been doing for the last several years with our clients that are already engaging us for strategic growth work or marketing fractional CMO services and guess what, now we're offering it as its own standalone strategic project, and also helping with implementation as well based on the specific needs of the clients that are really committed to tackling this in their businesses.
If you're curious about this tool, what it looks like, how to address these three critical problems that we see with the workforce inside of our business, you're going to want to stick around because we don't only break it down but we also explore the specific tactics that we're deploying.
You're going to see how you can also not just deal with this troublesome thing that seems so hard to get around, but also, how is it currently affecting your ROI and how could you change that? How could you make it an actual strategic advantage in your business?
Think about if you were going to buy a business from somebody, or you're going to be passing it on to the next generation, what if you could say that you would actually build processes, systems, strategies and tactics into your business to address this and help you compete for this really tough workforce labor, and actually come out on top?
Grab your hard hats and let's get into what this could look like to build this inside of our businesses. You have this beautiful business, it's great, it has historically ran well, you know the type of people that you'd like to work with, and it's totally unique. It has your own fingerprint on it, and it should be unique.
One solution is imperfect for everybody so why do we have this overarching process that we are using to tackle this? We're actually using the same Growth Strategic Flywheel that I've talked about in previous episodes, we're just applying it to a different problem.
This allows us to help your business stay completely unique and one of a kind. That's why we designed this process the exact way it is. The magic really lies in the simplicity of it, and streamlining the process so that we can swoop in, team up with a business, and swiftly tackle their workforce challenges while maintaining what's so unique about their business, what makes them stand out, and what I always like to say when we're thinking about what actually cuts the mustard, what are we going to say is going to not be on the cutting room floor, it's still on the table, and it is the strategy of choice? First and foremost, it's got to be differentiated. We want to stay true to that also in this process.
If you're ready, we're going to dive into a couple of the areas that we see as being really the main pain points, the pain points that we can address, we can simplify, take a look at, target in our business, and also calculate results. I want you to think about a few questions, think about your business, maybe you actually even have metrics on this, maybe you've been tracking this in your business. If you have, I'm so excited to talk to you. If you haven't, let's talk and we'll help you pull those numbers out so you can really understand if our Workforce Strategy Design process is right for you.
First off, take a moment to reflect on this. Are you shelling out serious cash to external sources to drum up leads for potential employees? We're talking about Indeed, Monster, running expensive ads like you've never had to do before. Is that cost now way higher than it ever used to be 5 years ago, 10 years ago, and it's making your books kind of grow under the strain of it?
Or are you worried that you're about to have to start maybe having this external spend because you see the age of your workforce and you see that they're going to start aging out and you need more of that younger population coming in?
Up next, I have another question for you, turnover. It's the other side of this. We recruited them, we'll get them in, but we gotta keep them. This is hard in our business, we expect a certain amount of turn. If you're in an area where it's super seasonal, that can be a real challenge too. But every single challenge also has its opportunity.
But ask yourself this: Is your business experiencing higher turnover rates than it used to or what your industry pals have historically seen? If this turn is causing headaches, it's disrupting the productivity, it's forcing you to fork out more to replace your team members, then definitely, we should be talking.
Now let's talk about the last area that I think we need to be focusing on. If we can just focus on these three areas, we can impact so much of our businesses, and this is more of an opportunity for us and something that I think some people forget to really build into the equation of their workforce challenges.
It’s that productivity, it's the opportunity cost. Are you finding yourself turning away work or not hitting the productivity levels that your customers are wanting you to hit? Maybe you've got team members playing hooky, they're leaving you short on cruise, you're passing up juicy opportunities because you're unsure you can bring enough folks in to build another crew or two and actually keep them.
Most of the conversations I'm hearing out there, people are afraid to buy the equipment. The demand is there. The work is there. It's “Can we hire and keep the crews if we make this kind of commitment? And can we keep our current clients happy as we historically have because it's getting harder and harder to perform and be as productive as we want to be?
If these scenarios sound familiar, we've got some strategies up our sleeves with our Workforce Strategy Design program. We're going to talk about some of these and talk about what triumphs could look like inside of your business if you can just make some small adjustments on those numbers that we talked about. If you're tracking some of these things, what are your external expenses? What is your turnover rate? What is each turnover costing you? How long is it taking you to get your team up to productivity?
What are the opportunities in your marketplace that you've had to step back from or that you've not executed on the way that you want? Take a look at these three questions and if you're not exactly thrilled with the answers, even just one of them, it's time to dig deeper, understand the real cost of your specific workforce challenges and really leverage those into an advantage.
This can be a game changer for your business. Stop complaining about it and let's do something about it. Even small improvements in any of these areas can unleash tidal waves of ROI, alleviate stress, even open up opportunities that you haven't even thought about lately, because you've been so stuck in this mindset that you can't get past this and everybody's suffering from it, and we're all just victims of it.
In fact, we've been deep into these conversations, guess what, we've cooked up an opportunity and an ROI worksheet. Let's look at the ROI and opportunity costs. We built this spreadsheet to walk you through and we started using it with our clients early on to help us really figure out what metrics do we want to track and what is the outcome that we think we can get and do we want to get, and how is it going to impact our business so that we can actually make even bigger business decisions?
Picture this, tweaking your external spend, gaining control, maybe attracting more talent through your in-house operations, and slashing costs by 5%, 10%, 15%, or even 20%. Now imagine the impact on your business over the next five years. You need to calculate things like inflation. Even if you don't change anything and you don't increase your external spend on this, you'd leave it the same, you're still going to deal with inflation.
We've chatted with companies that are dropping a modest amount of external resources and then we've talked to ones that are shelling out serious dough. Think hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to bring in those crucial leads for the workforce that they need.
Consider the cost of inflation and the price of doing nothing. Remember, doing nothing still costs. For instance, a company dropping around $150,000 a year on leads is staring down the barrel at almost one-million dollars in external recruiting cost over five years. But what if you could make a few tweaks and some savvy internal assets could cut that cost by 5%, 10%, 15%?
Some companies are even wiping it out completely by building killer marketing systems and processes to attract those leads in house. Now that is a game changer for your business. Even if you can just reduce that by 5% or 10% and if you can calculate that save on that spend over the course of the next several years, you're either going to have to spend it or you're not, or your business is going to stall or it's not going to be around.
Let's dive into another example that hits close to home: turnover rates. I delve into some research here and, folks, it's downright alarming when you tally up the cost of replacing something. Think about training, safety training, testing, all of the things you have to do, the men hours that your supervisors are investing into bringing somebody up to speed, the hours that your HR team is putting into getting them through all the tests, onboarding them effectively, and getting them on a team.
A study done by AGC lays it out plain. For the construction industry, it's averaging a whopping 21% of a person's salary every time we have to bring in that new face. Let's be real, depending on their position, experience, and investments made in this person, this cost can shoot incredibly higher than that. I would say it's quite conservative.
Also, there's more. We're not even factoring in the morale hit that it takes on our teams when we're trying to forge within our companies. For these types of projects, I do extensive interviews with supervisors and employees and we also do surveys in English and Spanish. We're gathering lots of insight from these people and these teams that we are so critical to our industry.
When these teams become like family and actually one of the things that when we ask the question of “Why did you take the job?” or “Why do you stay in the job?” quite frequently, over 50% of the time, it's the people, “I stay for the people.” It's not because they specifically love the tasks that they have. They love the people that they're working with every day.
These teams become tight knit and they're reliant on each other. It's crucial that we help them build strong bonds, and that we look at retention as an investment in the productivity of the entire team. Here's the real talk. I've witnessed turnover rates skyrocket in some companies while others are absolutely nailing it, keeping it at those previous as low as can be expected standards for our industry.
Getting this part spot on in your business is super important. Let's talk about this example. A company I recently spoke with was sporting a whopping 48% turnover rate, way too high, but not necessarily abnormal for our industry right now. I see this actually more often than I would like, numbers like this.
Sure, a bit of a turnover rate is expected. We have to expect some in our industry but gaining control even by a small percentage, if we go back to those small numbers, 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, imagine what that can do. This can work wonders for our businesses if we can control this.
The hard things that we can measure are absolutely there, what it costs us to bring another face in. But then those soft harder things to calculate like the impact on morale, productivity, and also the impact of our customers when they want to see the same faces again, we are providing consistent high quality work, product, and materials every single time.
Let's break it down further. For a company dealing with a 48% turnover, the cost over five years is nudging close to the $800,000 mark, almost hitting a million for some companies. Now that's a hefty sum that we really can't afford to let sit on our bottom line unnecessarily. We can't let this continue to slide in our businesses.
We've got the power to control these percentages to aim for better numbers. It's not about elimination. It's about improvement, progress, and continuing to track and always be improving. It's not just about recruiting, it's about how we train, develop, build teams, retain top-notch talent that comes our way.
If we're going to invest in bringing them in, we have to invest in keeping them. It's time to turn the tides, keep our teams strong, and keep the talent that we're investing in right there with us. Can you see the value of taking a bit of time to tackle those key issues causing major bottlenecks in your company?
These challenges can easily transform into strategic advantage, especially when everyone else is grappling with the same problems. Imagine being the one company in your market to proactively solve these issues. You're building assets, strategies, processes, and systems that attract and retain the best talent. You're tracking what modifications you need to make and you're constantly making this a priority in your business.
Now, let's ponder the last question that I threw at you. What about those opportunities that you're passing up or that you're not fulfilling in your business for your current obligations? I've had conversations where people are having not just one of these problems but both of these problems at the same time.
They're missing chances ranging from a couple of $100,000 to a staggering $6 million, $10 million a year. Picture this: business hesitate to take on more business because they doubted they can hire another crew. It's not about the equipment. They're not worried about taking that on.
There's tons of demand in our industry right now and a backlog of work that needs done. It’s the workforce climate. It’s “Can I recruit them? Can I hire them? Can I keep them? How disruptive is it going to be? How stressful is it going to be? Can I take on those things when I have these workforce challenges?”
But here's the thing, if you address the scenarios that we talked about above, you can confidently say yes to those opportunities. This opens the door to growing your business, claiming more market share, earning incredible brand loyalty by consistently delivering when others are falling short and can't take on the work or aren't performing as they promised they would.
Can you grasp how addressing just a few aspects of your business can have a central and critical impact on its growth? Investing the bit of time and resources now can mean the difference between a stagnant business and the one that not only survives, but actually thriving and becoming a leader expanding into new market.
Let's face it, the workforce environment will never be as it was 10 to 20 years ago. Everything has changed. How people look for jobs, what they want in jobs, how they decide which job, how they decide if they're going to stay in a job is much different than it used to be and we have to change as well.
The companies that adapt, pivot, and strategize to address these challenges are the ones that won't just stick around for the next decade, they're going to be the ones flourishing and expanding. Some of the companies that don't take this on aren't even going to be around to see it.
What does the process addressing these workforce challenges inside of your business look like with our Workforce Strategy Design and Implementation process? Now that we've taken a peek at the challenges, we can tackle within this Workforce Strategy Design that we built, let's chat about how to kickstart this project with [inaudible].
If you're tired of perpetual cycle recruiting, onboarding, rehiring, cashing out tons of money, dealing with a disrupted team, if getting your hiring right the first time feels like an impossible dream, I completely get it. It's frustrating. You might be wondering if this is just the new norm for recruiting.
But I think that you can tell that I don't believe that it is and I don't believe it has to be. I believe that we have to adapt and become better. Enter the Workforce Strategy Design, your game changing alternative.
Our strategy process here gives you a crystal clear workforce strategy, giving you an exact blueprint and playbook, putting an end to the recruitment headache, and ensuring that you attract and retain top-notch talent that really is the best unique fit for your business, the kind that you truly deserve and that you want to work for each day, that you want to promote, that you want to help build a life and build careers.
Here's the breakdown of how we do it. First off, we do a strategic analysis. We dig into your unique workforce needs, your market, your challenges, what's working, what's not working, what's confusing, what's missing. We get super clear on that.
Then based on that, we build a customized playbook that we craft that is a personalized strategy to attract and keep the best talent in your market. We tackle this from a couple of different perspectives so you're not reliant just on one source like so many of us have become with these external advertising spends on Indeed and sources like that.
We figure out how can we really make sure that we are shored up, protected, and we have a variety of methods. You guys probably know you're in the industry that referral, family, and friends is absolutely incredible, but you also know that it's very hard to rely on that solely.
What if you have one or two great recruiters in your company become disgruntled and leave for another opportunity? You could have a mass exodus. That's why having a customized playbook based on strategy is important.
Then number three is effective implementation. Great intentions don't actually build roads. We have to go out and do it. We can actually guide you through applying your strategy and ensuring that there's success, helping you build the processes, the systems, documenting it so that your team, even as it changes, evolves, and grows, has those to fall back on and they know how to continue to maintain the system at a high level and adapt when things change in your marketplace or you need to have that next big growth, acceleration, and momentum to grow your business because you're taking on another opportunity.
We're rolling out this six-month Workforce Strategy Design for just three businesses at a time. That is all we're going to tackle each quarter. Spots are pretty limited. We already have two of those spots filled right now. We have a couple that were wrapping up and we also have some that are getting ready to onboard.
It's important that you reach out to us and you grab some time on our schedule, you get a free strategy call with us, and we're going to talk to you about are we a good fit? We'll help you understand the numbers that we talked about. What is the actual cost of your external spend? What is turnover costing you in your company? What is your turnover rate? Truly, how can we get as close to accurate as possible so you can understand those numbers?
Then also, let's talk about the opportunities in your marketplace that if you can address this that you might want to be pursuing. Say goodbye to dread and say hello to a future that you can actually anticipate growth and excitement and start to calculate that.
This is going to give you the opportunity to grow your business, to take it to the next level, to be a trendsetter in attracting and retaining top talent. You're going to have people looking at you and saying, “What are they doing? How are they getting this right? We thought that this was impossible,” but you want to be the leader in this, you don't want to be the chaser.
If you've made it to the end of this podcast, let's just cut to the chase. It's time for us to get on a call and chat. Your workforce solution is here. It is possible. It's called the Workforce Strategy Design. My team is passionate about it. I'm passionate about it. I want to see you implement it and get the changes that you need in your business.
Head over to storybuilt.marketing/schedule. The link is going to be in this podcast notes. On our website always, there's a super quick link right on the homepage to schedule and that is the same schedule link. It's storybuilt.marketing/schedule. This is how you're going to be able to get in my calendar and we can actually walk through that calculator tool with you. We can answer your questions and we will tell you: Are you a fit or are you not a fit?
If we're not a fit, we can make recommendations, but it is time to address this problem and make sure that you can continue to grow the strong business that you want. Let's talk about transforming your workforce strategy and propelling your business forward.
Make sure that you've come to visit the website, hop on this link really quick, get your spot at storybuilt.marketing/schedule and let's tackle your workforce challenges together. Thanks so much as always for joining us on The Contractor's Daughter and I hope to see you at some of the conferences this year, are out on the road with a brand new crew, taking on some of those new opportunities.
Thank you so much for joining us for this episode of The Contractor's Daughter. If you liked what you heard, be sure to subscribe and review. But most of all, share this with all of your friends, partners, and customers in the highway construction business. Thank you for building the infrastructure that we all rely on.
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