When we talk about being an HR consulting firm with demonstrated success in the construction industry, we are talking about companies who are responsible for anything in, on, or around a building. As the fractional HR resource for commercial roofing companies and contracting firms, we have a practical understanding of the issues impacting construction workforces. Despite our best efforts to deploy construction workers to the field so they can make money, we know we are at the mercy of the weather (and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration), with employee safety always being the top priority. As a firm who has created and implemented comprehensive learning and training curriculums for skilled trades workers, these programs help your employees earn a day’s pay, even if they aren’t able to work on a job site. In this blog, I outline three approaches to training your construction team when the weather isn’t cooperating.
1. Virtual Training Sessions
It’s not uncommon for construction workforces to be geographically dispersed. In my experience, if the weather is hazardous, dispatch will call it a day and won’t assign anyone to field jobs, as employee safety is paramount. However, if your workforce is hourly, non-exempt, they may be counting on those work hours. So, on days where it would be unwise to expect employees to get up on a roof or scale a building wall, offer virtual training sessions so your employees can still earn a living, and you skill up your workforce.
Offer live sessions, where a skilled member of your team offers training on a technical topic related to your industry. Maintain a bank of pre-recorded virtual sessions you require employees to complete if they aren’t assigned to a job. Inclement weather days provide a great opportunity to hold ad-hoc training sessions; get the entire team on a call to hold a virtual roundtable to discuss the state of the business or talk about current issues facing the industry. There’s lots of opportunity and potential in planning for bad weather days by building a strong library of virtual trainings.
2. Self-Paced E-Learning
When your ability to meet business goals is directly tied to the weather, having contingency plans is crucial for business continuity. As a construction business owner, you have a responsibility to manage cash flow while also keeping your employees engaged in the work they do. And when a blizzard or thunderstorm prohibits your hourly crews from working, they directly see the impact in their pay. A self-paced E-Learning plan still allows your employees to report to work, even if they aren’t physically at a site working. Although they aren’t making the company money because they aren’t delivering a service to a customer, you are enhancing your service offering by skilling up your workforce.
Self-paced E-Learning is also a great solution if you have workers who are assigned “light duty” as a result of a worker’s compensation claim. As a contingency plan, e-learning has a number of applications across a construction organization. You are keeping your workforce engaged in an interactive and self-guided learning environment.
3. Classroom Training Sessions
Despite technological innovations in training and development, there are still certain skills in the construction industry you can only teach in person. Instructional videos are great, but sometimes workers need to actually touch and feel the product and tools with which they are expected to work. When developing your trades learning curriculum, create a combination of virtual, self-paced, and in-person classroom training sessions. By having a robust course selection in different modalities, companies can flex how their people learn. If you’re a company who has workers all local to a central location, classroom training is an effective way to assign your workforce’s time if they can’t report to job sites. Even if it affects your profitability, it increases the value your workforce brings back into the field once the weather improves.
In-person trainings are conducive to collaboration and team building. Construction teams are typically on the road and rarely have an opportunity to interact with their colleagues face-to-face. There’s a great benefit to providing your construction employees with the opportunity to meet in person and engage with each other. It gives them the opportunity to share their expertise and enhance the learning experience through sharing real life examples.
Work With an Experienced HR Consultant
In our experience, trade industries have been overlooked and underserved by traditional human resources consulting firms. We see great potential and opportunity in enhancing construction companies’ approach to recruitment processes, employee lifecycle management, employee engagement, and learning and development programs. With our direct experience in building trades curriculums from scratch, Red Clover is uniquely positioned to help companies who manage anything in, on, or around a building. Interested in learning more? Reach out today!