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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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The Best Employee Onboarding Tips for Construction Business Owners

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Onboarding new employees is often a time-consuming process. Even if you hire workers who have been in construction for years, they still have to learn the specific procedures that are unique to your business. Employees who aren’t given time and the proper information to adjust to their new position may struggle to complete their job appropriately or fail to note important procedures that will help keep them safe on the job–and it’s even more important that you take the time to properly onboard employees who haven’t worked in the construction industry before.

Tip #1: Assign a Mentor to New Employees

Ideally, you want your mentor to be an employee in a similar position to the new employee, rather than a supervisor or an individual who already has increased responsibilities across the job site. You do, however, want to choose an experienced, responsible employee who will explain things properly to a new hire, rather than hazing them or asking them to accomplish unrealistic things.

Tip #2: Hire a PEO

Working with a PEO can help smooth out the onboarding process and ensure that your employees are in a better position to move easily into their first day on the job site. As you work with your PEO, they’ll take care of the paperwork and basic safety training, freeing your employees up to handle those early days with a new hire on the job site.

Tip #3: Check-In Regularly

In a perfect world, new employees would be willing to come to you whenever they have a question. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Checking in on a weekly basis allows you to get a better idea of how employees are doing, gives them a chance to asks questions, and lets you tackle potential problems before they turn into serious issues.

Tip #4: Provide Appropriate Training

In the construction industry, you’re faced with hazardous activities every day. Because of the nature of the business, it’s important to provide appropriate training to all of your employees. This includes:

  • Strategic review of the company handbook to be sure that new hires understand all of the necessary policies and procedures
  • Specific training in safety regulations
  • Careful training in how to use new equipment or take care of jobs that this particular employee hasn’t done in the past
  • Comprehensive safety and risk management processes

Tip #5: Get to Know New Employees

During the onboarding process, take the time to genuinely get to know new employees. Talk with them to develop a better understanding of their past experience and how that has shaped their current abilities. Make sure you have a strong understanding of the experience that employees already have so they don’t end up with a job that’s over their heads–especially with no one to help.

Tip #6: Observe

Whether you put the superintendent of the job site in charge of observing new employees or check-in yourself, it’s important that you take the time to observe new employees to see how they’re doing on the job. Look for signs of insecurity or that employees are taking unnecessary chances. These observations can be addressed immediately if they are causing safety hazards or left until your weekly meeting if you need more time to discuss how to address your worries.

When you’re onboarding a new employee, you want to make sure that you get it right. Careful attention to the entire process, including assistance from an outside firm or from employees within your organization, can help ensure that you have everything you need on hand, whether you’re onboarding a single employee or working with a cast of dozens thanks to a construction hiring boom.

For more information on how Harbor America can make employee onboarding a snap, contact us today. Our comprehensive HR solutions include recruitment and screening, onboarding, payroll, compliance, and more, allowing you to focus on running your business.