In developing and developed countries construction is often viewed as a less attractive vocation than other careers, resulting in a limited pool of skills being available to undertake complex projects. To make matters worse many of the projects are in remote locations and many have unattractive working hours.
The key for any contractor’s success is its ability to employ suitable people and retain them, managing them to maximise their worth to the company. Therefore every manager has to understand people, their cultures and backgrounds, and be able to work with them using their strengths, and assisting them with their weaknesses.
Start by employing the right people
The most important step in having good people is to employ the right people.
1. They require knowledge and experience to perform the tasks expected of them. (An experienced building Supervisor is possibly not best suited to supervise the construction of a road.)
2. They need to fit in with the culture of the company and must ascribe to the company’s values. (It’s pointless for the company to set high standards for safety and quality, and then employ a Supervisor who is unconcerned with these values. They may have all the experience and knowledge for the position, but they will destroy the company’s reputation in no time.)
3. They should be willing to work in the regions and areas in which the company operates in. (I’ve seen many personnel unhappy because they’ve had to relocate their family, or had to work in areas far from where they live. Yet, there are individuals who enjoy working in these regions and others who are willing to relocate their families to remote areas.)
4. They must have aspirations which the company can satisfy. (Everyone has different aspirations and not all companies can meet these. Failure to fulfil a person’s aspirations eventually results in them becoming unsatisfied and unhappy.)
5. Construction is a people business and everyone should be able to communicate and work with others.
(Paul Netscher is the author of the acclaimed books 'Successful Construction Project Management: The Practical Guide' and Building a Successful Construction Company: The Practical Guide. Both books are available from Amazon and other retail outlets in paperback and in ebook format. This article is an extract from the book 'Building a Successful Construction Company')