Every time a new year rolls around is another excuse for us to step back and take a look at where we are personally and professionally. We celebrate accomplishments from the past year and make plans and resolutions for the next. If you're running or helping to run a construction company, then you need to start with celebration. You made it through a tough year--workforce shortage, economic limitations, and changing technology created new challenges for us.
Michigan Construction's partners and other industry leaders have persevered by finding ways to create their own workforce, modernizing hiring practices, and connecting with the next generation in their communities. Michigan Construction has led the charge in changing the way people view construction, and we've worked hard all year to build the connections that change the way people connect with training and employers.
But enough patting ourselves on the back. We're not sitting back and kicking up our feet just yet, and we know you aren't either. We've got a lot of work to do, and a lot of plans for the coming year. We know that you do too, but we've got some suggestions for you:
1. Hire smarter.
Back in the '80s...Okay, sorry. But we all remember the time when you just posted job ads in the paper and people would come in person to shake your hand and apply. Today's and tomorrow's young workers are used to searching for jobs and applying online. You can post jobs to your social media accounts, your website, and online jobs boards to increase your chances of the job being found by more people--maybe even someone who wants to move to Michigan to start their new career.
2. Build/fix/finish your website.
It's construction. Our specialty is building tangible things in the real world, so it's understandable that we're not the most digitally-savvy industry around. But, every company needs to own their digital presence and use it to put their best boot forward. You don't need a million dollar website, but putting your company, its services and its work out there online will improve your credibility, dramatically increase your chances of people reaching out for work, and can be a recruiting tool. Don't miss out on these opportunities.
3. Build your brand.
Set your company apart by making it something memorable. Yes, this includes building your website, creating a social media presence and crafting or upgrading a distinct logo, but there's also so much more. It's your business card, your voicemail message, your company culture. What makes your business unique in its speciality? What values and principles do you have that make you unique? Branding is expressing what makes you unique in a consistent way.
This goes along with #1. Hiring smarter means being able to recognize when there aren't prospective hires with the right skills. It means developing apprenticeships and training programs that will help you turn the willing worker with the right ethic and attitude into the skilled worker who's dedicated to your company.
5. Invest in professional development.
Training doesn't stop with apprenticeships, and it doesn't stop as you move up the corporate ladder. This year is going to bring with it more new technologies, new products, new best safety practices, etc., etc. Investing in your and your senior staff's professional development is investing in your company's success.
Networking isn't just for people who wear suits all the time. This is a tough job that we're doing, and we don't need to be in it alone. Follow up and build relationships with happy clients, encouraging them to refer you to anyone who needs your services. Join an association or a group, or just reach out to others in your area or specialty. We can learn from each other, and we can work together. If you want to join a support network and a movement to build a better Michigan, join us.