Staff retention is a big issue in a labour market where skills are often short, but the answer does not lie just in last-ditch attempts to dissuade employees from leaving. In this article, we explore the impact of construction management software on staff retention in the construction industry.

While the last few years have brought plenty of economic turmoil, there has been a significant recovery – with construction among the major growth areas of the economy. Indeed, across the UK as a whole, the actual number of people in jobs has hit record highs, with over 74 per cent of those aged 16-64 in work.

What all this means is that jobs are plentiful, and this is certainly true in construction where skilled staff are in high demand. In an environment in which unemployment has plunged in recent years, opportunities are plentiful, so it is hardly surprising many will wonder if the grass is greener elsewhere and get itchy feet.

For employers, a rapid turnover of staff can be a problem, as it means more time has to be spent on recruitment and training. In trades where skills are short, such as construction, this problem is even worse, as replacing people with candidates who possess the required skillset can be difficult.

Research carried out by Eque2 last summer on the concerns of commercial directors in the construction industry found the issue of staff retention was one that exercised minds frequently. The survey revealed 51 per cent of those asked considered staff turnover and retention to be of medium or high concern, which suggests this is a genuine problem in the sector.

Clearly, keeping staff happy and willing to stay is a major issue and rather than just hoping for the best, there is much companies can do.

The most radical retention strategy might be to make counter-offers to those planning to leave. This could involve a promotion, better pay or other perks and incentives to try to persuade employees to change their mind. However, it is worth noting that this could be very expensive, not least because some staff might exploit such a policy by threatening to leave in order to boost their pay packets. This could make such a strategy financially unsustainable, so it would be wisest to reserve it only for the most valuable people of all – whose skills are hardest to replace.

At the same time, making people feel involved and in control can have a major positive impact and the use of construction management software can play a significant role in this. Many packages help staff right across the business to have easy access to information, which enables them to be kept informed and close to the decision-making process.

Good and efficient payroll software can also be very useful, as this cuts down on errors, ensures payments are made on time and helps ensure queries and problems are solved sooner. This helps remove one area that could stoke dissatisfaction among staff.

For those using new software directly in offices, the job may become much more satisfying and thus bolster retention. When chasing up late payers, composing bids, handling the payment of sub-contractors or any other administrative task becomes easier and less time consuming, the job is sure to be more satisfying. Quite apart from making life easier, these products help make a company more successful, providing a compelling reason to stay. After all, many people who want to leave a firm will be motivated to do so by a belief that its prospects are poor and it is best to move on.

Of course, there are many general things any company can do to engage staff, ranging from minor perks and rewards to more social events and recognition for achievements. And, of course, competitive pay and reward packages will always be key factors in retention, but few things can be more effective in helping keep people happy and willing to stick around than giving them the tools to do their jobs well. By investing in the best construction management software, construction firms can invest in their staff.

To find out more about construction management software, speak to one of our experts.