Turn to Social Media to Inspire Construction Professionals
By Kevin McCawley, Aaron Witt, Construction Executive
Social media is easy to peg as a productivity-killer and the token time-waster of millenials. And because of liability concerns, many contractors have shied away from using social media as the powerful business tool it can be.
Capitalizing on social media in construction can inspire the current workforce, address nationwide hiring shortages and define a company’s brand within a community and around the country. The best part is it requires very little time or money.
Consider what an ideal relationship would look like among company executives, management and field employees. The c-suite wants a presence in the field to stay in tune with the nuts and bolts of construction operations, to receive feedback on project estimates and even to convey and encourage core values central to your company’s mission. For field workers, they don’t want to be far removed from the happenings of the corporate office—after all, they’re the ones doing the building. Ultimately, they want to feel important and appreciated by the company.
High turnover has long been an issue in construction. Pay is important, yes, but more so than money, people desire to be valued and respected where they work. Employees aren’t inclined to leave a company when they know they’re making a difference with each shift they punch in. Help unite the hard workers on staff by getting the company’s voice out there with social media.
Contractors across the country are struggling to hire dedicated and skilled operators, laborers and managers. This is not due to a lack of ambitious, eager people looking for work. The real hurdle contractors are struggling to overcome is ready access to this demographic. Hiring through headhunters or dedicated websites is quickly becoming antiquated. Younger operators are turning more and more toward sites like Instagram to find meaningful work in their field. But these aren’t young kids who are years away from being productive workers. Skilled 20- to 30-year-old industry professionals are a primary social media audience.
Social media can be the bridge between the ambition a firm is looking for and the dirt-moving action prospective workers crave. The human element of construction is what really contributes to the productivity and work quality on jobsites. Hiring employees who see eye-to-eye with management strategies and company goals will keep a company competitive and its employees loyal.
With the goal of portraying a company as one that potential employees would proudly work for, it is time to go beyond equipment decals and fence signage. While those may catch the eye of a passerby or two, operating a social media account offers immediate access to thousands of people. Social media provides a platform to present polished, professional, and authentic pictures and videos of construction sites in a way that humanizes the workers and project goals. By illustrating jobsite dynamics and marketing the results being produced, a contractor can instantly broadcast why it stands out from rest. How others perceive a firm’s work is more important than ever, especially with more project owners choosing contractors based on reputation.
The concept of building a positive rapport via social media goes beyond today’s operations or even the next job to inspiring the next generation of craft professionals and construction leaders. It is bigger than any one company or individual. Think about how social media can help sustain the industry with skilled, passionate employees from this generation and the next.