by Kyle Ridley
PSMJ Resources Inc. held its annual architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) summit last week in San Francisco, Calif., where AEC professionals gathered to learn about best practices, industry trends, and how to thrive in an increasingly competitive market. More than 30 learning sessions were offered during the jam-packed event, with many presentations focused on effective leadership, innovation, and company growth.
Deltek was in full attendance at the summit as representatives took part in workshops and manned an exhibit featuring our widespread solutions. Senior Director of Product Marketing Brian LaMee led a presentation titled “Talent Management Best Practices,” in which he offered attendees a slew of tips on how to hire people faster and keep employees longer. The session resonated with much of the crowd feeling the pressures of high turnover, bottlenecked training schedules, and ongoing employee development.
The AEC industry is booming, but with that comes the need for dedicated, qualified talent. As noted in the PSMJ Summit’s keynote address by Director David Burstein, “AEC firms should move away from winning the war for clients and focus on winning the war for talent.”
LaMee launched his talent management presentation with the eye-opening statistic that 51 percent of workers in the U.S. are either actively seeking or are open to a new job – meaning 71 percent of all workers are on the market. This competitive atmosphere often gives job candidates the upper hand as they interview potential employers instead of the other way around. LaMee stressed that companies should “fight for talent and fight to keep talent,” starting with the hiring process.
It takes approximately 60-90 days to fill a job opening, not including onboarding or training. This is largely due to manual and inefficient hiring practices such as retaining candidate resumes in emails and repetitive application forms. LaMee noted that, too often, companies start the hiring process from scratch upon a job opening rather than returning to past potential candidates.
To improve these processes, LaMee urged attendees to establish a sortable database of candidates to easily maintain and review potential hires/resumes over time, as well as eliminating requirements to fill out information in an online application that is included in resumes. Many candidates will simply exit a job posting upon being required to manually enter these repetitive fields.
Once a hire is made, proper training is essential to keeping them on board. LaMee pointed out that 40 percent of workers who receive poor training leave within a year, and companies must stop having an “I learned on the job, they can, too,” mentality. For trainings deemed repetitive or cumbersome, LaMee suggested creating recordings to reuse with each hire rather than one-off individual sessions.
LaMee also highlighted the significance of continued training and development in employee retention. Many firms assume it’s all about the money, but only 12 percent of employees actual earn more money at their next job, while 30 percent of millennials leave for a better opportunity. Continued learning and recognition from management rank high on employee satisfaction; therefore, companies should invest in development programs and establish year-round rewards and recognition programs for employee accomplishments.
Career development outside of management is also crucial to employee retention, and employers with a management-only path risk losing key staff. Management is not meant for everyone, but that doesn’t negate employee talent nor should it limit their climb up the corporate ladder. Firms should create career tracks to advance employees outside of the management trajectory and ensure all employees are aware and have access to these documented options. Transparency is vital and will result in more employee engagement and stability.
Lastly, LaMee stressed the importance of succession planning and suggested firms use the 9-box method to identify top employees and what needs to be done to keep them on your team.
Fortunately, Deltek’s cloud-based Talent Management Suite can assist with establishing many of these best practices, from finding and landing talent, performance management, employee development, to compensation planning.
Please click here to learn more about this Deltek solution.