The construction industry is heavily reliant on its workforce. Workforce management in construction is the process of organizing and managing a company’s employees to complete tasks related to construction projects.
Since workforce management can be an extensive task, it’s best to use workforce management software to benefit from real-time reporting, analytics, and next-generation forecasting.
This will also help you avoid being a victim of The Great Resignation. While you can learn more about The Great Resignation and the role of poor workforce management here, it’s also essential to learn about the essence of managing a construction workforce. Below, we offer a deep dive into workforce management and its components.
What is construction workforce management?
Construction workforce management is a culmination of processes, technologies, and tools used to manage the people who work in the construction industry. It includes everything from recruiting and hiring workers to managing payroll and benefits to providing safety and training.
The process can involve various activities, such as scheduling workers for shifts, assigning job duties, and keeping track of employee attendance.
A construction workforce manager oversees all aspects of workforce management and ensures that the construction company has the right people to get the job done safely, on time, and within budget.
Workforce management is a crucial part of any business, but it’s particularly important in construction due to the nature of the work.
Construction workers are often required to work long hours in dangerous conditions, which can lead to injuries and accidents.
A construction workforce manager must effectively manage the risks associated with the work while also ensuring a project’s efficient and timely completion.
Components of effective construction workforce management
While an effective construction workforce management system will vary from company to company and project to project, several key elements are essential for any sound system.
Precise job descriptions
First, an effective workforce management system must have clear and concise job descriptions for each position within the company. These job descriptions should detail the expectations and responsibilities of each role, along with the qualifications and experience required.
Without a clear understanding of what is expected from each employee, it can be challenging to manage a workforce effectively.
Scheduling and time-tracking
An accurate scheduling system is one of the most basic but essential components of workforce management in the construction industry.
The system should track the hours worked by each employee and the start and end times of each shift.
It should also be able to accommodate breaks, overtime, and vacation days. An effective scheduling system will help ensure employees work the correct hours and are appropriately compensated for their time.
In addition, the system should be able to track the progress of each project and the hours worked on each task, which will allow the company to see which employees work on which projects.
This information can improve project planning and management while helping to identify areas where employees may need more training or support.
A McKinsey report showed that large construction projects take 20% longer to finish than scheduled, increasing budget expenditure. Therefore, the implementation of an effective workforce management system can have a significant impact on the successful completion of projects.
Another critical component of workforce management is performance management. This involves setting goals and objectives for employees and measuring and evaluating their progress.
Performance management systems should be fair, transparent, and consistent.
Here are some examples of performance management systems:
• Competency-based system – In such a system, employers assess a worker’s ability to perform specific tasks through tests or simulations.
• Behavior-based system – Employers evaluate employees based on their behavior and attitude. For instance, they may be assessed on their punctuality, attendance, and attitude towards work.
• OKRs – Objectives and Key Results are defined for each employee and team. In this system, employers assess and evaluate workers on their ability to achieve specific objectives.
Benefits of efficient construction workforce management
Project owners and construction managers have a vested interest in ensuring that a construction workforce is managed efficiently. Here are some of the benefits of efficient construction workforce management.
Construction delays can be costly, especially if the contract has a delay penalty. Therefore, it’s in the best interest of the project owner and construction manager to ensure that the construction workforce is managed efficiently to avoid delays.
Data shows global growth in construction costs, especially in metropolitan cities. One way to offset these rising costs is by managing the construction workforce efficiently.
When construction workers are managed effectively, it leads to savings in terms of labor and material costs. For example, construction workers who are managed efficiently are less likely to take unscheduled breaks, leading to cost savings in labor.
Likewise, proper workforce management means better training, which reduces material waste. As a result, efficient construction workforce management can help reduce project costs.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 20% or 1,061 of the workers who died in private industries in 2019 were in construction. Thus, there’s a dire need to improve safety in the construction industry.
One way to achieve this is by managing your construction workforce effectively. When workers are adequately trained and supervised, it leads to better safety on the job site.
Additionally, effective workforce management can help identify potential hazards and take steps to mitigate them. As a result, it can further improve safety on construction sites.
Tips to manage your workforce effectively
As a construction project manager, here are some tips you can use to manage your workforce effectively.
• Define the scope of work and objectives for each project.
• Ensure your workers understand goals and know what is expected of them.
• Create a work schedule and stick to it.
• Ensure your workers have the resources they need to do their job properly.
• Monitor progress and provide feedback.
• Be available to answer questions and address concerns.
In summary, workforce management refers to all the processes and activities involved in managing a construction project workforce.
Construction project managers play a crucial role in workforce management, as they are responsible for ensuring the project runs smoothly and that workers can complete their tasks effectively.