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How Construction Workforce Management Can Help with Your Labour Challenges

Get the best out of your people, whether they are in the field or office.

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Overcoming a challenging labour market with effective and efficient workforce management.

Let’s face it, builders in Canada are under tremendous pressure to deliver an ever increasing volume of projects while dealing with a very challenging labour market. Construction workforce management represents an approach that helps contractors get the best out of their people whether they are in the field or office.

Chapter 1

Canada’s Construction Labour Woes

The importance of construction to the Canadian economy and labour market cannot be overstated. The industry employs over 1.4 million people and contributes roughly 7.5 percent to the GDP.

Despite that massive impact, there remains a significant gap between demand and supply in both residential and commercial construction. Let’s look at the residential sector for a minute as an example. On average G7 countries have 471 homes per 1000 residents. For Canada, this number is 424. It’s no wonder that the government has promised to build over 400,000 new homes annually for the next decade or so. Yet according to CMHC data, just over 286,000 new homes were built in 2021.

One limiting factor when it comes to new construction is a lack of skilled Labour. Some industry organizations like BuildForce feel that the labour shortage is only going to get worse. According to their projections, construction demands require the labour workforce to expand by 16,000 over the next 5 years. However, over 150,000 construction workers are expected to retire during the same period, leaving the industry with a mammoth task to recruit and train over 170,000 new workers. That leaves builders under tremendous pressure to deliver more while struggling to keep up with your most valuable resource: people.

Chapter 2

What is Construction Workforce Management?

This is where construction workforce management can help. Construction workforce management is an approach used to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of your entire workforce whether they are in the field or office. If you do this well, it can help you retain and maximize the impact of the skilled workers you currently have, and even attract new ones.

When your most experienced people leave, they take a lot of institutional knowledge with them. Think of this institutional knowledge as a critical repository of experiences, processes, and data that are unique to your organization. With construction workforce management you can start planning for these scenarios by capturing valuable institutional knowledge, standardizing everyday processes and upskilling less experienced team members. 

A more connected approach to workforce planning enables you to get the best out of your people. They have a clear understanding of who needs to be where and when. There is seamless communication and most importantly, a single source of truth for everyone. This enables you to accurately forecast and manage your labor resources to meet or beat your estimated schedule and budget.

Learn more about the six pillars of construction workforce management.

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Chapter 3

Getting Started with Construction Workforce Management

The key to effective construction workforce management is taking a bird’s eye view of your current labour processes end-to-end. Some builders rely on a job whiteboard, while others are on spreadsheets and communicating on WhatsApp. Out-of-scope work gets untracked at times and there’s little visibility around the day to day progress made on a jobsite. 

On top of that all this information resides in silos that prevent clear communication and collaboration. Information is often outdated and unreliable leaving you exposed to risks and comprises decision making.

The right approach to workforce management involves connecting people, processes, and technology to ensure that the right person is at the right place at the right time with the right plan. They are then able to link this all back in real-time with productivity insights from the site.

A good way to approach this problem is to evaluate your existing approach and solutions for workforce management and see if they help you answer the following questions:

  • Are you able to manage your workforce schedule in real-time? Is your labour schedule always up to date and most importantly accurate?
  • How streamlined is the communication between you and your field teams? Is a lot of time being wasted on communicating schedules and other updates
  • Are you always confident that the right person has been scheduled for the right job?
  • Do you have all the information you need about your workforce at your disposal to be able to confidently create a labour schedule?
  • Are you able to leverage historical production data to shape future bids?
  • Is it possible to get real-time insights into labour productivity and production actuals?

Labour is often the biggest unknown of projects, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Workforce management when done right can help you get the best out of your people, ensuring you are able to deliver projects on time and under budget.

Discover how to bridge your workforce management gap today with people, process and technology.

Learn more about Procore’s Construction Workforce Management solution.