How to Create a Culture of CARE – Part 2
Attract Talent with a Culture of CARE: How Inclusivity Drives Recruitment Success
March 1, 2024
Attracting talent continues to plague the construction industry with workforce shortages anticipated to intensify over the next five years. FMI’s 2023 Talent Study found 93% of respondents reported difficulties hiring qualified talent, with more than half citing severely being impacted by talent shortages.
Additionally, AGC of America’s 2023 Annual Workforce Survey found 88% of construction firms are having a hard time filling open positions. The ongoing talent shortage across the construction sector makes Culture of CARE a critical piece to the talent pool puzzle. Over time, activating a Culture of CARE could attract more talent than purchasing a booth at a job fair or placing an online advertisement, hence increasing return on equity. In this article, we will explore how construction companies leverage Culture of CARE to drive recruitment success through inclusion.
In part one of this series, we discussed best practices related to showing your commitment to Culture of CARE. To recap the four key components are: start at the top, create a dedicated CARE team, ignite and invite all key stakeholders, and partner with leadership or diversity consultants. In part two of this series, we will explore how Impact Champions, (this refers to AGC members who have taken the Culture of CARE pledge), use Culture of CARE to attract qualified talent.
As a reminder, the A in Culture of CARE is defined as:
- ATTRACT prospective employees by creating inclusive workplaces that are free from harassment, hazing and bullying.
Best Practices and tips to attract talent:
Ready to attract top talent to your company? Sounds simple right. Unfortunately, in the shrinking construction workforce many companies continue to struggle with finding the right people. To attract new talent, especially diverse talent, firms need to look outside their traditional recruiting methods.
So, where do you start? The construction companies we interviewed that are gaining ground on this front reach out to partners like AGC and their chapters for introductions to diverse trade partners and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). We also found companies thrived in diverse recruiting efforts once their diversity & inclusion team and human resource partners aligned on the Culture of CARE goals and strategies.
Below outlines best practices for how Culture of CARE attracts:
- 1. Activate Culture of CARE for Current Employees
Everyone has heard the old adage your employees are your greatest asset. This is especially true when it comes to attracting talent. Begin to see each of your employees as a unique billboard for your company.
Company leaders must ensure CARE inside the organization to attract outside the organization. This is done through regular employee engagement surveys, hosting listening sessions and amending or creating policies to support employees’ physical, mental and emotional well-being. For example, post-COVID, we have seen many companies shift their policies for flexible work hours and offer unlimited paid time off. (We will revisit this discussion in the next part of the series on Retain.) The result is more engaged employees excited to share their workplace experiences with others through formal and informal recruiting methods.
Impact Champion Spotlight: Rosendin Electric
Rosendin Electric is 100% employee-owned with a 97% retention rate, which means every employee is a potential walking billboard for the company culture. Rosendin’s care for employees is reflected in benefits that extend beyond 401k matching to include continuing education assistance, matchable charitable giving and employee referral benefits.
Rosendin has two pages on their website focused on recruiting new employees. One talks about benefits and the other about their Culture of CARE. This page shares both the AGC meaning of Culture of CARE and what it means to Rosendin Electric. Together these pages serve as an open invitation for those looking to explore careers with the firm. Stephanie Roldan, Vice President Learning and Development, Rosendin Electric says, “We’ve literally had candidates (now employees) interview and say that (Culture of CARE) is part of the reason why I’m interviewing and why I’m really interested.”
- 2. Evaluate Where to Access Diverse Talent
Conduct both an internal and external assessment of how you’re diversifying your candidate pool. Internally, diagnose who’s missing, what group(s) are not currently represented in your workforce or on the company website, what types of skills are missing and what types of skills will be needed in the future. Next assess externally what colleges, vocational schools or youth programs have these missing groups of people, skills or both.
Look for an existing relationship or assess if you could envision a long-term relationship given your values today. Once you’ve completed both assessments, create target profiles and goals or metrics to deliver on your Culture of CARE vision that was outlined when you made the commitment. One great resource for this is the Culture of CARE Diversity and Inclusion assessment found on the buildculture.org website.
Impact Champion Spotlight: Clark Construction
Clark Construction, based in Lansing, Michigan, looked at the opportunity and realized the ACE Mentor Program offered a natural alliance given ACE’s primary goals to help build a large, diverse and better prepared workforce. There was one problem. No local chapters existed in the Lansing area. This prompted Clark Construction’s JEDI team to make establishing an ACE Mentor chapter in their region part of its DEI strategy. Today, Traci Brower, Senior Estimator/Planner at Clark Construction, serves as the president of the board. More recently, Clark Construction increased its investment in younger talent by creating the JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) scholarship for local high school students majoring in a construction-related field. Four high school seniors received $2,500 towards tuition and an opportunity for a paid internship at Clark Construction.
- 3. Build Authentic and Sustainable Relationships
Clark Construction couldn’t have accomplished the establishment of a local ACE Mentor chapter without relationships. Make sure your company finds partners or potential alliances with organizations with shared or complementary values that will align beyond achieving a short-term metric for identifying candidates from underrepresented groups. During the initial stages of vetting or forming the alliance, acknowledge where you are personally and where the company is on your CARE journey. This will create a solid foundation for sustainable outreach or recruiting programs that are based upon genuine and authentic connections.
Impact Champion Spotlight: Bulley and Andrews
When Bulley and Andrews (B&A), one of the nation’s oldest and most accomplished construction firms, endeavored to attract more women to their company, they partnered with Chicago-based Women in the Trades (CWIT). Joe Koppers, B&A’s Vice President of Field Operations, recounted, “We wanted to make B&A’s team more inclusive and offer opportunities to those who had previously felt excluded from the industry. Our clients wanted to see more representation, too. This was a great case of an internal goal intersecting with an external need. CWIT helped us identify and reach well-qualified candidates. Now we have several female laborers and carpenters which, previously, was rare. I am happy to say each of the last three years B&A has increased the number of females in our field forces.”
When it comes to attracting more diverse talent, “It’s important for those joining our firm to see others who look like they do,” said Kirstin Starkey, B&A’s Vice President and Director of Human Resources.
Ready to Commit?
- Take the Culture of CARE Pledge (if you haven’t already)
About the Author:
Michelle Thompson, MBA, is a Leadership and Organizational Development consultant at FMI serving as a consultant and facilitator to empower and equip the next generation of construction leaders. Michelle is also a certified administrator with Intercultural Development Inventory® offering a way for companies to measure both team and individual intercultural competence, the bridge for diversity and inclusion. To learn more email email@example.com.