Introduction: – High employee turnover is a disturbing human capital trend which has to be managed with fortitude by the industries, the world over, particularly by the construction industry because of its non-perennial nature and ever changing pattern of work.
The vast demographic variations, as for an Indian example of a project site when its location shifts from say Jammu & Kashmir state to Assam, persuades over 90% of labour population to change the job with that company. Majority of workmen, possibly due to their own valid personal and family reasons, opt for drop-out even at the cost of unemployment. State government policies, in respect of reservation for workforce in unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled categories, also play an important consideration for constitution of fresh band of team at new project location.
Temporary nature of employment of employees at all cadres by the construction company is another reason for the people to be always on a look-out for job change. Dissatisfaction on wages/salary and search for higher emoluments elsewhere fuels it further. Changing jobs and companies adversely affect skill enhancement, particularly at un-skilled and semi-skilled stages.
Large turnover of employees poses a problem for productivity, EHS aspects, quality of work etc. for the company, which has to be tided over on urgency basis by the project management. Brisk training and grooming program for all the trades, categories including supervision group, has to be planned and executed.
The task is gigantic and practical solutions are not so easy to achieve. The following initiatives may help the company to reduce or tide over the problem of high employee turnover.
Select right people the first time for the specific group of works
Don’t be in a hurry to select anybody and everybody, rather, be selective about your needs. Hire right people to reduce turnover. Pay more attention to your most reliable and consistent employees. If you can pinpoint some positive personality traits, technicality and characteristics, it will help you better identify top performers during the hiring process for your ongoing jobs and future ventures.
Patiently evaluate, appoint and engage for long run
The other good option available nowadays is to hire a labour contractor who can take care of your outsourced labour/personnel requirements. This improves the situation by not putting you through the dilemma of hiring and firing ‘temporary’ staff. But it also goes on to provide your project with the EHS qualified and skilled personnel that can start work immediately. A win-win for your organization and the manpower contractor. After the job’s done, they can move on to next project while you are happy with the desired level of services rendered.
Belongingness is most desired, hence, look beyond the skills for the work-commitment & loyalty
There are a lot of people with the hard skills you need. You can find a wonderful pipe-fitter, great plumber etc. But you need to look beyond just skills to find out if they are reliable and have a strong work ethic. Perform personality assessments, reference checks and do your due diligence before hiring someone. Place big emphasis on work history and look to hire skilled tradespeople who have a strong history of success and a solid work ethic. They and even their generation shall own your company and will not desert you even in difficult times. For example Tata Group of companies.
Don’t be miserly Offer competitive pay, facilities and future avenues with requisite grooming
Money is brighter than sunshine and sweeter than honey. It will prove penny wise pound foolish. Make sure that you compensate your employees correctly. Low wages can impact you hugely in long term. Reliable and skilled workers will want to know whether they are being compensated fairly and paid handsomely as a dignified member of the company team.
Factors responsible for high turnover can be summarized as
- Location of work away from home place
- State Governments’ policy of reservation for the local people at new project site
- Dissatisfaction of wages/salary
- Temporary nature of employment by the company
- Skill-enhancement is badly retarded
- Output, productivity and quality suffers
- Project is delayed beyond schedule
- Select right people the first time for the specific group of works
- Patiently evaluate, appoint and engage for long run
- Look beyond the skills for the work-commitment and loyalty
- Offer competitive pay, facilities and future avenues with requisite grooming
- Create facilities for sanitation, hygienic living and proper food, children education/ play/ recreation; crèches and care for women workers, transport facilities from living place to work-site