Operating in building management means that you are likely to require various skilled workers. Unfortunately, this can also mean that your company is impacted by skilled labor shortages present in multiple industries. The construction industry has around half a million positions unfilled, which may affect building or improvement projects. Around 60% of business and professional services roles are also unfilled, potentially impacting your management and administrative tasks.
Swift and decisive action is vital to ensure your company can continue to thrive. One of the ways many companies are addressing the skilled labor gap is by embracing workforce diversity.
Let’s explore why this is a potential solution and how you can best utilize it.
How Does Diversity Help Bridge the Gap?
It can be a little challenging sometimes to see how diversity could make a difference to your building management company’s labor shortage. It’s worth taking a moment to look closer at this, as gaining insights here can help you to make the decisions that are most relevant for your company.
The way the construction industry is embracing diversity in the workforce is a good example of how adjusting workplace actions and standards results in hiring boosts. Historically, diversity has been an issue in this industry, with—as the linked resource shows—just 10% of the workforce being women. In a sector where 80% of companies are experiencing skilled labor shortages, making conditions more attractive, supportive and safe for women and other traditionally marginalized people is essential to filling these roles. Not to mention that these positions are then enhanced by more diverse workers’ different perspectives.
This has involved implementing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) fitting processes for people of all genders and needs, which communicates a more inclusive and supportive industry. Adjustments in the cultural attitudes of leaders to remove outdated biases have also proven to bolster diversity that helps construction businesses to maintain successful operations.
It’s worth considering, too, that diversity in a workforce can trigger a virtuous cycle. Once employers start to visibly support a more culturally dynamic workforce—not just on the ground level, but also in leadership—it sends a message that these businesses are spaces where people from a range of backgrounds can thrive. Your company can then become a magnet for more people willing to train in the relevant skills and join the workforce. This further boosts diversity throughout the business, perpetuating the cycle.
What Does Effective Diversity Look Like?
As a business owner, it’s important to take practical steps to overcome the skilled labor shortage. Alongside revamping recruitment techniques and investing in new technology, hiring a more diverse workforce is considered one of these. This begins with hiring more women, workers with a range of different skill sets and people with disabilities, among other demographics. However, the practical steps don’t begin and end here. Truly impactful diversity needs to go deeper than simply onboarding a wider variety of people.
Your very first action should involve making certain that your recruitment outreach is inclusive. This isn’t just about being open to employing people from more demographically diverse backgrounds. You must actively encourage them to apply. Rethink the requirement for university qualifications, as this can discourage people from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Use your social media, website and other marketing channels to highlight how your company is supportive of all cultures. Utilize language in your job listings that speaks to different generations.
It’s vital to make certain that your business’ culture is one that is conducive to diversity, too. You’re unlikely to meaningfully fill the skills gap if the diverse people you hire arrive to find they’re faced with an inhospitable or unsupportive workplace. Some of the cultural adjustments you may need to make include:
- Providing regular inclusion training, covering subjects such as unconscious biases, microaggressions, and harmful stereotypes.
- Ensuring that there are clear communication channels to raise concerns surrounding discrimination or offer suggestions for improvement.
In addition, one of the most important ways of addressing the skills gaps with diversity is to offer access to the skills. Be open to providing training and certification rather than expecting all workers to arrive with all the knowledge they need. Design training programs that provide entry-level knowledge and development pathways that help workers of all learning styles to grow.
How Can You Overcome Hurdles to Diversity?
Achieving diversity that helps address the skills gap is essential. This doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy. You’ll need to take action to recognize what the hurdles to diversity are in your industry, geographic area and individual business. From there you can start to address or remove them.
Some of the hurdles you may have to be mindful of include:
Biases in hiring
When we talk about biases in hiring, this isn’t just about overt discrimination some recruiters exhibit. Bias can also take the form of limiting applications to only those who have the specific qualifications, experience or backgrounds those employed in positions traditionally have. Carefully look at what standards you’ve set for roles and how necessary each characteristic is. You may find sticking to traditional requirements is creating barriers for some candidates and minimizing your reach.
Lack of network diversity
Another barrier to diversity is that some businesses have gathered specific recruitment networks over time. This can make it harder for them to connect with people from other communities or industries. Overcoming this may involve utilizing recruitment services that focus on different segments than those you usually rely on. It may involve heading to conferences or recruitment events that are outside your usual industry. Stepping beyond your company’s comfort zone can have great results.
Attracting and supporting a more diverse workforce can help your business to better address the skilled labor gap. It’s important to take practical steps to support inclusion, by both adjusting your recruitment processes and providing a more supportive company culture. You also need to dedicate time to identifying and overcoming hurdles to diversity, such as hiring biases and limited recruitment networks. It takes significant work, but you’ll find that your company, employees, and the wider community only ever benefit from genuine diversity.