Where Have my Employees Gone? 6 Tips for Developing a Workforce Plan

Having trouble hiring?

Welcome to the majority.

A recent survey by Autodesk and The Associated General Contractors of America indicated that 80 percent of construction companies are having trouble hiring skilled workers and more than half are experiencing difficulty hiring for salaried positions.

And it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.


Fewer younger people are expressing interest in careers in construction, threatening to further fuel the gaping hole left behind as baby boomers age out of the workforce. Now more than ever so much of your company’s ongoing success hinges on the ability to attract new workers and retain your current pool of talented workers.

To maintain your positioning as the place to work in a competitive market it is wise to craft a plan for your workforce rather than flying by the seat of your pants.


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Current Hiring Needs

An excellent place to start is by identifying your current hiring needs and your potential future vacancies. While succession planning (reference article on succession planning) is mainly about your future workforce it will also help you define your current needs, so you are not continually filling unexpected vacancies.

Two big things to address are vacancies that are critical to the operation of your company, and employee poaching by other firms.

Start by asking yourself several questionsis this a position with frequent turnover?and if so, why?

If you are consistently in short supply of workers is this due to the skillset of the available workforce?

If they are not coming to you with the skills you need, consider creating a mentoring program that will allow them to gain the valuable skills required from another more seasoned worker. A consistent shortage in one skill could also signal that it is time to augment your staff with a technology that will fill that gap.
If you are constantly under attack from a competitor poaching your employees, you need to find out what they have to offer that you do not.

Is it better pay or benefits?

Do they have some automation or unique process that makes for a safer or less physically demanding environment?

Planning your Workforce

Just as project leads must be consistently generated and nurtured so too does your workforce.

Here are a few things to include in your plan:

  1. Define your ideal candidates – what skills, competencies, and education do they have? Do you offer any onsite training to help them achieve the skill level they will need to be successful?
  2. Job descriptions – at this stage, it is helpful to review your job descriptions to ensure that they are up to date and match the jobs. While that might seem obvious, job descriptions quickly become outdated with new technology, changes in company roles or projects. Not only do well-articulated job descriptions inform potential employees of what will be expected of them, but they also help you see how each role fits into the bigger picture and how well the job on paper aligns to the job in real life.
  3. Examine how you are advertising your positions and hiring candidates – are you using outlets such as social media that could help you target younger workers? Do your job ads highlight what makes it great to work for your company such as an excellent benefits package, continuing education or flexible work schedules?
  4. Are you reaching undeserved markets? According to the National Women’s Law Center, the percentage of women in construction trades has remained flat from 1983 to 2010 while the percentage of women in other male-dominated occupations have increased during the same time. Increasing female participation in construction jobs is one solution to filling in gaps in the workforce, as is working with veterans that are transitioning back to the civilian workforce. Another opportunity that is often overlooked for political reasons is bringing on ex-offenders. This pool of workers is often ready and willing because there are so few employers that will consider them.
  5. Are you participating in career fairs at the high school and college level? This represents an opportunity to snap up some people that are looking for work, and it provides you a chance to educate people about who you are and what you do.
  6. Are you asking current employees for referrals?Tap into the current workforce and ask for employee referrals right away to keep leads in the pipeline.

Planning for your workforce vacancies will help you feel more in control of the situation and will increase worker morale. No matter what you put in your workforce plan, the goal is to remain competitive. You do this by being an excellent place to work. If you have retention problems, take that long hard look in the mirror. It’s a competitive environment and if you don’t offer good incentives, a welcoming and safe environment and assignments that challenge and develop your team, someone else will.

If this all sounds like a lot of work, it is! Righting a ship is never easy, but with some planning and creativity, you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way.


Josh Munns
Joshua Munns grew up in the construction industry differently than most, his Mom, Mary Davis, started a window company as a single mom when he was just 4 years old in 1983. Having a mom who was starting a business in the construction industry at only 23 years old made for some very interesting days. Fast forward 24 years to 2007 I took over the family business just in time for the Recession which hit my business extremely hard. I spent the next 11 years rebuilding the business, rebuilding my workforce and completely reshaping the company. In 2018 I sold the business to focus my energy on my passion, building careers in construction. In 2018 I founded Ground Up Construct to help business owners and employees build careers together. The career does not exist with the employer and the employer does not exist without the career. When employees and employers work together the end result is amazing. By building a strong company culture, offering great benefits and career paths for my employees I was able to build the business back stronger than ever. I did it and I want to help other owners take that step to take their business to the next level. It is an amazing feeling and a great privilege to be able to provide people with great careers.

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