Trade Tip: How to Hire & Retain the Right People in Construction

It’s no secret that in the construction industry, one of the biggest battles business owners face is finding good people and keeping them. In exploring efforts that could enhance the hiring process to be sure you’re getting the right people in the right seat from the get go, we found the following tips:

Lean on local or close by schools and industry specific programs. This is a great resource because students graduate and immediately look for employment, oftentimes with the intent to stay in the community where they already have roots. A lot of times, this can start early on at the intern level, which gives a huge opportunity to mentor and mold them to become a more long-term member of your team.
Get plugged in to apprenticeship programs that are gaining huge popularity and admitting more students constantly. These teach the perfect balance of employment and academics in certain trades so that students can learn and work at the same time.
Consider pre-employment physicals or health screenings in addition to the drug testing, background checks, etc that you already have in your hiring process. This can paint a picture of the prospective employee’s overall health and well-being so you can be sure you’re investing in a long-term relationship and a reliable player for your team.

Focus on culture and how your team feels over what they’re being paid. You may think they care more about their paycheck and yes, benefits are important too, but you might be surprised at how much your team culture and morale means to them. That may be flexible schedules, employee appreciation efforts, team building events or performance-based competitions and incentives.
Emphasize and encourage training. A team that never stops learning together will always succeed. Providing them with courses and material that can make them better and help your team grow together is proof that you want them around for the long haul.
Be transparent and celebrate the small wins. As imperative as it is to be open about and share financial information, the state of the company and growth goals, it also speaks volumes to celebrate and show appreciation for the daily strides in the right direction. The construction industry in general can easily get hung up on measuring success by landing the monster jobs but the little ones count to and as long as you’re transparent and honest, your team will buy in, feel like a piece of the puzzle and genuinely care.
Stay on top of technology and provide your employees what they need to be efficient, safe and profitable. There are many apps and tools out there that could make jobs run more smoothly and most of the time, it’s worth the relatively small upfront cost to invest in those. Making your employees feel as if they have support in that regard alone goes a long way.
Show how much you care. This speaks for itself but is incredibly important and should be a top priority.

It seems to save everyone time, effort, money and headache to get the right people in the right seat early on in the game. Then keep them happy and well taken care of for a long-term relationship of them serving your clients while also fostering a culture of a work family.

Medicare Open Enrollment is upon us!

There’s Medicare Part A, B, C and D. All we need is another acronym, right? Well here’s OEP! Open Enrollment Period. This is the time of the year that any and all changes must be made for the following year’s coverage. Individual insurance for those under 65 as well as employer-provided group plans have this as well. But for those 65 or older on Medicare, go time is from October 15-December 7.

During this time, you can enroll in Medicare for the first time if you missed your eligibility window around your 65th birthday as well as make changes to the plan you have if you’re already on Medicare.

There are a couple of different options when it comes to Medicare. Once you have Parts A and B, you’ll need either a Supplement or Advantage Plan. You can read about the differences between the two here.

Supplements don’t change much from year to year but the Advantage Plan does get slightly revised, similar to individual under 65 plans.

For example, the only changes to the Florida Blue Advantage Plan (also known as the BlueMedicare Choice PPO) for 2021 coverage are the following:

• Specialist Physician copays are now $50 instead of $45
• Inpatient hospital care copays are now $345/day for days 1-5 rather than $295
• Routine hearing exams are now $0 copay for one per year, when it used to be $45

Regarding prescription drug coverage on the Florida Blue Part D plan, there were very few changes as well. Here is a chart that shows the two plans we offer in our area for 2021: 2021 part D summary

Of course everyone’s situation is different so please reach out to us to discuss your Medicare needs and we are happy to help during this year’s open enrollment period.

Is Technology the Future of Construction Site Safety?

We can all agree that safety is a huge concern in the construction industry. Out of every 5,000 private-industry worker fatalities, 20% are in construction. Contractors and subs alike are constantly looking for ways to improve their safety protocols to be more time efficient, cost effective and proactive in keeping everyone safe and healthy.

Sure, smart phones and Wi-Fi have helped. But to really address OSHA’s Fatal Four Hazards (falls, struck-by, electrocution and caught-in/between), it appears that we need to dive even deeper than just a phone or internet access. Here are some of the technology apparatuses you may see implemented, or even required, sooner than later:

WEARABLES: There are lots of companies out there developing wearable devices. Some are a small device that slips into a Velcro armband. Some consist of a safety vest and hard hat that integrates wearable computers, sensors, GPS and real-time locating systems. These can even have inflatable airbag collars should a worker fall. Some can detect and monitor vital signs or temperature. Others have a “press and record” button so voice messages can be recorded for the jobsite supervisor. We’ve seen some wearables that also detect a push or pull motion in excess of what is considered strenuous to prevent injury. It’s amazing what these devices can do, all the while being portable.

While to a worker, it may feel a bit like “Big Brother”, it does not invade their privacy by recording video, sound or personal information. And from an employer’s perspective, keeping an extra watchful eye on the jobsite altogether can help predict an accident before it occurs.

DRONES: Currently, drones are being used on jobsites for everything from site surveying and inspections to creating promotional or training videos to taking daily progress photos. Drones can also be used to quickly identify potential hazards each day. They can also be used to monitor workers throughout the day to ensure everyone is working safely and wearing the proper PPE.

TELEMATICS: Telematics refers to technology such as front facing cameras, sensors, GPS, and vehicle engine diagnostics. These devices can effectively monitor driving behaviors such as location, hard braking, rapid acceleration, speeding and hard cornering. Identifying these habits is an important element of commercial auto insurance, especially given the increasing rates lately.

The results of these telematics can help determine the risk, along with appropriate pricing and proactive loss control. Some of the technology can even alert the driver itself in real-time of any unacceptable driving behaviors to prevent an accident or injury. Devices like these can be used on commercial autos or even heavy equipment on site.

SITE SENSORS: Some companies have developed site sensors that can be deployed across a construction site to monitor things like temperature, noise levels, dust particulates and volatile organic compounds to help limit exposure to workers.

The sensors are mounted throughout the site to alert workers immediately when they are at risk from permissible exposure levels being reached. Data from the sensors are collected and can be analyzed to mitigate exposure levels and keep workers safe and stay compliant with OSHA regulations.

What technology tools have you implemented on your job sites to ensure your workers are protected and keeping safety a top priority? You probably devoted a lot of time and energy in to finding good help so it’s worth the investment in technology to keep them around and well.