The ongoing skills shortage in construction is resulting in many construction firms having to dig deeper into their pockets to keep employees happy. Recently, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reflects exceptionally high bonuses being paid to retain employees in the construction industry. More money certainly helps and unexpected bonuses are one way to secure employee loyalty in the short term. But with so many other factors squeezing the profit margins in construction, it may not be sustainable.

The impact of the Great Resignation

The trend of mass resignations and employees leaving for better offers and opportunities is not limited to the construction industry or the UK. Globally, following the pandemic, people are reorganising their priorities and looking for working environments and careers that work for them and their lifestyle rather being slaves to a paycheque.

This begs the question: Are people really leaving for more money or is there more that companies can be doing to ensure they retain the skills needed to operate efficiently?

In the current economic climate, more money certainly is attractive and ad hoc bonuses may keep employees on for a few more months. But ultimately if the culture is toxic or the work demands too high, eventually no amount of money will be able to keep employees.

What are employees looking for?

Employees, especially in senior positions mostly just want to be able to get on with their job, make an impact, feel proud of what they do, and still be able to have a life outside of work. Giving them the flexibility and freedom to manage their day and teams in a way that works for them empowers them to be more productive. Work then becomes less about watching the clock and more about ensuring outcomes are achieved.

Some progressive companies have adopted policies of completely flexible working hours and time off. Meaning that employees don’t need to apply for leave if they want to take a half day off to attend a doctor’s appointment or watch their son’s football game. Similarly there’s no limit on annual leave. Employees can take as much time off as they want or need.

While these benefits and flexible ways of working may have some senior managers cringing, thinking the work will never get done, the past 2 years have proved that the opposite is true. When employees are empowered and recognized for their expertise, their loyalty grows as does the value the deliver to the company.