Monthly Archives

August 2018

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Hiring Seasonal Workers During Peak Construction Seasons

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Depending on your market, your seasonal peaks for construction may vary. Your workforce availability may be different in your area as well. However, there are a few constants in the construction industry every company can agree upon. One such common ground aspect of the business is the need for additional workers during seasonal upticks. Today, we’re highlighting four tips for hiring those seasonal and temporary construction workers.

Plan Ahead of Your Peak Seasons

The key to being fully staffed with quality construction employees during your peak season is to plan ahead and start your process before your peak season begins. Allow yourself at least two months to prepare for recruiting, interviewing, onboarding, training, and solidifying your crews.

Know that you may struggle to find the right candidates and be prepared for turnover by building a backup list of potential hires. Don’t wait and try to execute this process the week or two before your busy projects are scheduled to start. Create a timeline for yourself for each step of your hiring process. Allow enough time to fill your crews to capacity and complete all hiring documentation accurately.

Consider a Staffing Agency or PEO

To relieve yourself of the additional work and hassle of bringing on seasonal crews, consider partnering with a temporary staffing agency or Professional Employment Organization. Agencies will offer every service from recruiting to payroll and can be a time and money saver for a construction company with a seasonal influx. Instead of paying payroll taxes, workers’ compensation insurance coverages, drug screens, background checks, and unemployment for your temp workers, place them through the agency and only pay the agency a percentage add-on to each workers’ weekly pay.

This can protect you from long-term compliance costs of I-9 verification and W2s at tax time while also saving you a ton of money. The agency will carry all employment responsibilities for those workers and will be on call to send replacement candidates should you experience turnover. You might even find one or two seasonal workers who do such a great job that you choose to hire them on full time. Most staffing agencies offer free conversions for candidates who have worked temporarily for a seasonal period of time.

Consistency Among the Ranks

Remember when bringing on seasonal workers that the best practice is to treat them no differently than you do your full-time crews. Because it’s temporary work, you may find yourself offering incentives, bonuses to complete the season or other perks. Don’t forget your full-time crews are loyal and may resent any special incentives the temporary workers may be offered.

Be consistent with your onboarding process as well and make sure your short-term hires are being held to the same standards as your long-term crews. You’ll find that with equal treatment throughout, your temporary workers will feel more included on the teams, thus presenting the potential for better productivity.

Safety & Equipment

In construction, PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is a staple on the job sites. You know the importance of enforcing safety best practices with all your crews, so don’t forget to reinforce the safety requirements with your seasonal hires. Because they have less experience working for you, your temporary staff will need to be trained on safety restrictions and codes of conduct on the sites. Consider creating a safety orientation specifically for your new seasonal hires to help coach them on how to identify unsafe practices, contingency planning, and required equipment before starting.

Harbor America and Your Construction Strategy

Many construction companies have needed to augment their working crews during the peak seasons. The most successful companies have solid plans in place for managing those influxes. Tap into a few of these best practices mentioned here or contact us for more ideas on how to streamline your process. If you need a partner to review your current strategy and help save you valuable time and money, Harbor America can help. Call today to learn how!

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Benefits That Attract Gen-Zs and Millennials

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The workforce has changed dramatically in the past few decades. You now have a large number of millennials applying for jobs. Additionally, Gen Z is starting to enter the workplace, too. They often want different benefits than that of Generation X, which means that you need to take a close look at what you’re offering and how you’re operating your business.

Retirement

Baby Boomers admittedly were not the best at saving for retirement. However, the new wave of employees has learned from their parents’ and grandparents’ mistakes. They want to start saving for retirement as soon as possible because they have big dreams of being able to retire at 55 or 60 (or even earlier).

One idea is to provide a PEO-sponsored 401(k) to your employees. With the help of a PEO, you can offer your employees the ability to plan for the future without having to deal with the actual headache and audits involved with a 401(k).

Flexibility

Millennials and Gen-Zs want flexibility in the workplace. They value the work-home balance tremendously. They know how to use technology and they use it efficiently to be able to boost productivity and multi-task. They don’t want to have to sit in the office all day long if they don’t have to.

Instead, they want you to offer technology that allows them to work remotely. This includes everything from hosted telephony to hosted cloud services. If they can work from a coffee shop or home, they will be happier and likely more productive, too.

Career Development

This generation of employees wants to make sure that they are able to learn in the workplace. Many employees don’t have the same idea of past generations when it comes to longevity with a company. Many employees will only stay at a company for five years (and sometimes less) because they believe that they have more opportunities when they move around. As such, you want to offer career development so that they don’t feel as though they are growing stagnant. When you are able to promote from within, you will be able to reduce the turnover rate tremendously.

Additionally, when it comes to offering career development and education, you will also want to consider an Employee Assistance Program. Services can include financial advisors, lawyers, and even licensed psychologists. This will help employees resolve various issues that could impact their work-home balance or how they feel at the workplace.

Medical Insurance

Employees of every generation want to have great medical insurance. They know how expensive it is if they have to get it on their own. Millennials and Gen-Zs are no different. They want to know that they have the health care they need when they have a medical problem. Dental and vision benefits are a bonus as well.

Be sure to offer medical benefits from a company with a functional, mobile-friendly platform. This is ideal for the generation who would rather do everything using a mobile device. It ensures that they are able to continue multitasking and likely providing you with more productivity, even when they are sick.


Exploring the best options for small business benefits is one of the best ways to attract millennials and Gen-Zs. With the help of Harbor America, you have a PEO that helps you with benefits as well as compliance and other details.

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Four Types of Commercial Insurance Construction Businesses Must Have

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Do you operate a construction company? If so, you know that your business is more at risk for injuries and property damages than most industries. In fact, on an average day in the United States, two people die from injuries linked with construction sites, and 20 percent of workplace deaths are related to construction work.

We’re not trying to scare you. It’s just important to recognize you’re in a business with more risk than many others so you can take the right steps to protect your livelihood and that of your employees. Here are four of the main types of insurance policies a construction contractor must have, along with a few considerations and warnings.

General Liability Coverage

Also known as commercial general liability (CGL) insurance, general liability insurance is the insurance policy that’s the most common. This type of policy provides insurance against liability that’s related to property damage and bodily injury. For example, it protects your company’s assets and pays for medical costs and other obligations. It also covers expenses from property injuries and damages by your employees or those caused by you.

Builder’s Risk Insurance

This type of commercial insurance policy is designed to protect people insured from various hazards during the construction process, such as fire, storms, hail, lightning, wind, and vandalism. In most cases, general contractors are required to buy a builder’s risk insurance policy that insures them and their subcontractors.

The policy may also include the structure being built in addition to the building materials. Besides materials that are already at the building site, the coverage also includes materials that are haven’t even been transported to the workplace. To determine the correct limit of insurance, consider your construction budget.

Commercial Umbrella Insurance

This type of commercial insurance, which is also referred to as “excess liability” insurance, is used for filling in gaps and exclusions to a primary policy. If you operate several large construction sites, you may want to consider an umbrella insurance policy, which is usually a supplement to a CGL insurance policy.

Keep in mind that a CGL policy is limited in what it covers, so you may need more coverage. In other words, an umbrella policy gives you additional coverage that exceeds what would be covered by a CGL policy. Let’s say your CGL policy has already covered $1.5 million for a claim, but that’s all it will pay. However, you still need $200,000 more. When you have a commercial umbrella policy, the remaining cost is covered.

Professional Liability Coverage

Today, an increasing number of contractors are choosing professional liability insurance. This is the result of more and more contractors doing design work. As a result, they take on even more responsibility. Because most CGL policies don’t provide coverage for professional liability, a separate policy is needed. Professional liability insurance covers litigation costs from omissions and errors that can result in losing client investment or when failing to carry out your duties as a contractor.

Considerations and Warnings

  • If your business involves demolition, grading, excavation, paving, tank installation, and other hazards, you may want to have pollution coverage, which covers third-party claims for property damage and bodily injury.
  • When deciding on insurance requirements for a contract, consider the common risks linked with a construction job to ensure you have enough coverage.
  • Furthermore, when choosing an insurance provider, consider the class of insurance carrier.
  • The two classes of insurance carriers are admitted carriers and non-admitted carriers. While admitted carriers are required to conform to the regulations outlined in the state’s Department of Insurance, non-admitted carriers do not have to conform to these regulations because they aren’t residents. An advantage of choosing an admitted insurance carrier is that the state is responsible for covering the cost of claims that are made to an insurer.
  • Consider that a CGL insurance policy does not include the cost of repairing defective work. It only covers damages that are caused by defective work.
  • The top causes of deaths from construction-related accidents include falls, being struck by objects, getting stuck between objects, and electrocution.
  • If you’re an independent construction contractor, it’s even more critical you have the right insurance coverage. This is because you’re the sole proprietor, making your personal items at risk when you’re facing legal disputes.

Commercial Insurance Solutions from Harbor America

At Harbor America, we offer a wide range of commercial insurance solutions. Starting a new business can be risky, and this is especially the situation for construction contractors. Download our free eBook and find out more about how you can protect your business.