There's a labor shortage in construction. And if you haven't heard that already, just Google it.
There is a laundry-list of reasons this exists, but I have one particular reason in mind: under-developed leaders on the job site.
To my amazement, internal talent development programs all but cease to exist in the subcontracting world. For some reason, this doesn't get nearly the right amount of attention. It's not different than anything else we do, though. If you want to increase productivity, start paying more attention. If you want to improve claim conversion, get a process in place. And if you want to develop your team professionally, formalize a program.
That's what we're going to talk about today: Developing leaders and managers internally.
IDENTIFY THE JOB SITE OR COMPANY NEEDS
Chances are, if you're in the market to develop employees internally, you know what's lacking. But remember this: just because you aren't in need of a Construction Manager today doesn't mean it's off the table. Management development happens in all sorts of areas of the project - from the job site to the cubicle. And at all levels - from a 1-year field engineer that wants to be a job site Superintendent to the Journeyman Electrician who wants to be a Construction Manager. Don't discount any team member at any level.
Part of knowing the needs is having a conversation with the team. This is a discussion. Not a Q&A or an interview. Talk about options. Open the door to possibilities and see where the cards fall. You'll be shocked at what comes out of this conversation.
CREATE A STRUCTURED PROGRAM
In order to make this a productive & repeatable system, we need an actual program in place. What should be included in this program plan:
- Summary of the program, including the objectives (both long and short-term)
- Schedule & Milestones
- Initial meeting
- Goal-setting & Mentorship
- First goal check-up with Mentor
- Second goal check-up with Mentor
- Year-end wrap-up & kickoff to next year
- Goal-setting template with space for mentor review comments
TRACK PROGRESS & UPDATE THE PLAN
We're not foolish enough to think that this is a set-it-and-forget-it type of program. Which means a very important part of this program is tracking progress and adjusting the goals as-needed.
Also, as the program takes it course, find out what works and what doesn't. Remember to keep things simple, which will keep it more effective. That harder it is to do, the less likely it is to get done. Are monthly meetings too much? Change to bi-monthly or quarterly. Too many goals? Move a few to next year or find a way to combine a few of them.
MENTOR & GUIDE
Mentorship is a key part of this whole program. A Mentor provides two functions: 1) To help guide the 'apprentice' through the goals and help see the bigger picture, and 2) provide accountability. Having someone to report progress to helps keep the goals on track. It's a proven concept and it's absolutely necessary to make internal development work.
Please, please, please. If you're going to put the program in place - FOLLOW THROUGH WITH IT. And I don't mean, we said we'd have a July review, and we had it. I mean, DO something with the talent.
The company must find a way for the team members to utilize these newly-developed skills. If this doesn't happen, two things are at risk: 1) these new skills we be lost, and 2) no one will believe in the program.
FIND A WAY to make it work. The team members are investing their time and effort (and probably company time and resources, at that!) in this, and it will all be for not if there's no follow-through. That being said, the team member needs to also be a part of this. They shouldn't look for a handout from the company just because they took an online course, but rather they should seek out an opportunity to employ those new skills. This is the employee empowerment part of the program. Make sure everyone on the team know how important this is and that they have a say.