Building Industry Magazine - July 2013 - (Page 10)
BY GARRETT J. SULLIVAN
Kamehameha Schools. The
Howard Hughes Corporation. A&B
Properties. Rail. A slew of new commercial, government and residential
projects have been announced and,
at last count, 4,000 new housing
units were slated for Oahu alone. Has
the tide turned for Hawaii’s construction industry?
Since 2007, Hawaii contractors
have been awaiting the next construction boom. Most economists say
this will occur in 2014, but some say
we’re already in the boom. I agree
with the latter.
Given it typically takes a year
for most contractors to fill up their
backlog—and begin to raise their
prices—I believe the surge in construction has already begun. Barring
anything unforeseen, I would expect
price increases to be widespread by
mid-2014. It is now time for Hawaii’s
construction leaders to respond to
the shifting paradigm.
Along with finding new jobs,
savvy contractors have begun to focus
on finding right-priced material and
labor. Since employee recruitment
and retention is more in your control
than the global commodities market,
focus your energy on your personnel.
If you’re still slogging forward with
the “bid and build” mentality, you
are going to experience rough waters.
When the last boom ended, many of
Hawaii’s highly skilled and experienced baby boomers sought work in
other industries or retired. Today, contractors are in an unparalleled race
for talent. If you are not developing
your employees, your competitors
will poach them. Invest the time and
effort to create an employee environment that would be difficult for
anyone on your team to leave.
How will you retain the best and
brightest? Employees are motivated by
different things. In general terms, you’ve
probably got two major work groups:
the Traditionalists or Baby Boomers,
and the Gen X’ers and the Millennials
(sometimes referred to as Gen Y).
Traditionalists and Baby
Boomers (age 39+): This group is
typically loyal, fiscally conservative,
competitive, optimistic, concerned
with financial rewards and committed
to a high level of satisfaction when it
comes to their work. You may want
to consider adding some attractive
benefits such as performance sharing
incentives (see www.Sullivanhi.com
for step-by-step plans where everyone
can participate), restricted stock, synthetic stock, life insurance, long- and
short-term disability insurance, 401K
profit sharing, weight management
programs, smoking cessation assistance
and stress management programs.
Gen X and Gen Y (18-38): The
second group tends to be independent, eclectic, resourceful, self-reliant,
cyber literate, media savvy and in
search of a completely different set of
enticements. They tend to be much
more focused on the “experience” of
the company and how it can be customized to their personal preferences.
I recommend a mentoring
program or Personal and Professional
Development track (see www.sullivanhi.
com for sample). Ask employees to
visualize where they see themselves—in
your organization—one, three and five
years from now. Ask them to consider
the full picture including community
involvement and goals for their health,
relationships, travel adventures and/
or finances. If you strive to interlace
these goals with the overall mission and
vision of your company, you will have
some real traction.
These digitally astute employees
are interested in your “Total Rewards
Inventory” tool chest, which can
include flex time, telecommuting,
job sharing, compressed work week,
on-site fitness opportunities, leadership
training/mentoring, community volunteer opportunities, adoption reimbursement and new technology training.
Both groups value learning opportunities and regular feedback, and
effective ways to offer this include
regularly scheduled performance
reviews, project completions/team
evaluations, peer recognition awards
and appreciation lunches.
It should be said that none of the
ideas above can compensate for a poor
base salary. Make no mistake, employees
are always talking to other employees,
headhunters and their friends to
determine if they’re being paid fairly. It
is imperative that you regularly check
construction compensation surveys.
Be keenly aware of what each position
is paying on the open market—and
match or beat it. It’s a small investment to be able to fully rely on a talented, motivated team of employees.
One caution: Always be fair. Resist
the urge to bring in a superstar at a significantly higher salary than the others.
It won’t take long for word to spread,
and you will eventually find yourself
paying everyone the same salary. Much
worse, you will be resented. BI
Garrett Sullivan is president of Sullivan & Associates, Inc., a management consultancy focused on the construction industry.
Connect with him at GSullivan@SullivanHi.com, www.SullivanHi.com or 808.478.2564.
10 | BUILDING INDUSTRY | JULY 2013
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Building Industry Magazine - July 2013
TOP 25 CONTRACTORS
WINDOWS & SKYLIGHTS
NEWS: Laie hotel developer selected
Trade takes 4 Pai Awards
Two from Hawaii win RevoluSun challenge
New NAVFAC Pacific commander
Library gets boost from Graham Builders
DEPARTMENTS Editor’s Corner
Building Industry Magazine - July 2013