For three consecutive years, the top concern among contractors has been recruiting and retaining employees, according to the 2018 Maryland Construction Industry Survey. In an industry facing challenges with technology adoption and labor shortages, it’s more important than ever to retain talent. Some contractors are using technology to attract new talent and decrease employee turnover, but the most important aspect of the workplace is creating a great company culture.
We asked some of the top general contractors in the U.S. and Canada on why company culture is so important in the construction industry and what their companies are doing to stand out.
Train the next generation
“One thing Shawmut does well is bringing in younger people and training them upward. I’m part of the construction management skills trainee (CMST) program. It’s a three-year rotational program where we do one year in product management, one year in estimating, and one year in the field. At the end of it, you become a really well-rounded individual in construction. We start training them right out of college or as soon as they enter the industry. I came from a civil engineering background, but they trained me with all of the necessary material to go into construction headfirst. We have a very good culture at Shawmut for teaching and lifelong learning”
— Austin Chun, Assistant Estimator at Shawmut Design and Construction
Align yourself with clients
“At UAG, we pride ourselves on having a culture where we truly try and align ourselves with our clients and understand what they’re looking for in terms of an end result. Some of the core traits we look for in our employees revolve around their personal ethics. Transparency is a huge challenge in our business, so finding people that ethically believe in transparency is key. When our people communicate more and communicate openly with our clients, it creates a recipe for success not only for us but for great projects.”
— Andrew D’Amico, President at UAG
Concentrate on quality and collaboration
“BCCI’s culture is known for having a very high level of collaboration and quality. A lot of people use the term ‘quality’ loosely, but we really back that up by delivering on our product. We have achieved zero punch list far more than any other general contractor, and that’s according to most of our clients, not us boasting about our ability. It’s not something that’s achievable on every project, and we know that, but we want to target that as a true milestone. Another big thing is about being forward-thinking and focusing on collaboration from the front end. Everything about preconstruction involves preplanning a job from day one so that we’re spending less time in construction. These days, we spend twice as much on the front end and in preconstruction than we ever do in the field during construction.”
— Don Tiefenbrunn, Vice President of Preconstruction at BCCI