The construction trade creates a unique, multi-teamwork status that's hard to find in other industries. Any building project or renovation will command a vast array of trades to work together as part of a wider team. Construction is one of the only industries where sub-contracting is consistent and necessary; and with this trend comes its own set of benefits and challenges.
Individuals can feel lost in one big team
A typical building site might be managed by the developers, but it would be highly likely that sub-contracting companies such as plumbers, gas specialists, and heavy plant operators would be needed to see the project through to completion. As well as contracting companies, individual contractors would be called in to consult on specialist areas; such as structural engineering, flood prevention and the like.
With so many stakeholders in a project, and so many bodies on site, it can be very hard to stand out from the crowd and be heard, particularly as a junior employee or worker that is yet to be awarded full management status, such as a Foreman or Ganger. With so many distractions, and pressure for all to chip in and get the job done, those working towards senior management roles can feel that their career development is left behind and they'll always be at the manual end of the production line.
Feeling undervalued leads to underperformance
If an employee feels unrecognised and undervalued, it's very likely their attitude towards the job will change, and in a team this could cause widespread disruption, power struggles and side taking. Unhappy employees tend to spread negativity around, and no one enjoys that. Demotivated employees are usually the quiet ones, and instead of having a whinge they're likely to leave quietly and take their experience elsewhere, leaving the team short of resource.
Power struggles can cause discontent
Employees that feel they should be leading a team but aren't being given the opportunity, can feel that to get noticed they need to act up into a management role anyway, and start to delegate, monitor performance and criticise other workers without it being their place to do so, thus upsetting the team.
Avoid the power struggles by playing to the leadership skills that long-serving staff have; start training them in the correct way to manage a team and safety on site. Even if leadership roles aren't currently available in the business, it doesn't do any harm to have up-skilled staff that can step up in times of need such as sickness and absence. Offering staff training, shows employees that you recognise their potential and are willing to invest in them.
Seal their skills with a professional qualification for free
A nationally recognised qualification is the perfect way to offer your employee the seal of approval on their training. A valuable certificate to study for in the construction trade is the 2 day SSSTS course, which is eligible for CITB grant funding and could therefore be completely free. The course covers important factors like the best ways to carry out inductions, how to intervene appropriately when bad practice arises, and the best ways to monitor work.
When the time comes that the budget's up for review again, what better excuse can you have to increase your staffing budget than to have a ready-made Site Manager waiting in the wings to step up.