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Don’t be resigned to The Great Resignation

Empower your construction team.

The pandemic ignited a homebuying craze that no one expected. You’d think builders would be thrilled to have so many eager buyers. Unfortunately, the same life-changing condition that sparked Black Friday-like new home frenzy created another problem: The Great Resignation.

In the second quarter of this year, 11.5 million workers in America quit their jobs and 40% of the global workforce are thinking of quitting their jobs. The construction industry was particularly hard hit. We need about a million construction workers, and they are tough to come by right now. We also need to realize that without the managers to run your trade labor, your operation is paralyzed.

Why are we struggling to get carpenters, electricians, plumbers, framers, and other skilled tradespeople? And why are production managers, superintendents, and warranty managers leaving at an alarming rate?

Stress.

The urgent demand for homes is putting a big strain on production managers and superintendents to do more with less. They’re juggling demanding schedules with shortages of labor and materials. Delays have become commonplace. When you’re someone who takes pride in quality work and meeting deadlines, it’s hard to accept that these things have been wrenched out of your control. It’s aggravating to wait weeks to get a county inspector to sign off on something that normally took a couple of days.

When tradespeople decide to pursue another line of work to avoid the stress of the current situation, what do you do? How do you convince a superintendent whose health and marriage are suffering from the stress that “it will be alright”? They can’t see beyond the bleak outlook. Your promises aren’t going to keep them on the job. So, now what?

Shift the mindset.

Builders appreciate the importance of training their sales teams. Our training guides them through the critical shift of divorcing the outcome. Instead, we coach them to put their love into the behaviors they CAN control. This outlook makes a huge difference in managing daily obstacles, like rejection.

Rejection is commonplace in sales, but not on the production side. Prior to this pressure, the construction teams didn’t have the pushback on scheduling and the departure of workers. These are types of rejection. The rules they’re accustomed to have changed and no one told them how to deal with it.

We need to give our construction management professionals the same tools we’ve handed to our sales team. Instead of motivating, start facilitating. Commit to supporting your construction leaders with the emotional intelligence you’ve presented to your sales professionals. Focus on bringing back the pride that these harried workers have lost.

I worked with a superintendent who was ready to walk off the job. The intense stress from juggling delays and shortages had taken its toll on him and he had reached his breaking point. His health was suffering and his marriage was falling apart because he brought home the stress. He said he had never felt so physically and emotionally ripped apart.

About a month into the coaching process, this superintendent has successfully divorced the outcome and turned his attention to what he could actually control. He said he is better prepared to do his job and handle the obstacles in a more effective way.

This got me thinking about the real challenges facing our industry, so I recently brought on a Director of Construction to the Cannonball Moments consulting crew. This professional will be working directly with the construction side of our builder clients. He will help them learn how to function in this twisted dynamic—to handle scheduling and communication in a less stressful way. He will be working on the “soft skills” of breaking through the emotional turmoil they’re experiencing on a daily basis.

If you don’t support your production pros right now, you’re going to lose them. And it will be a loss for both sides. As they try to manage the steady stream of problems, your team could experience compassion fatigue. This type of burnout is crippling, personally and professionally.

Don’t let good people go. The suffering is real. Show your commitment to helping them find a better way to process their struggles, you strengthen your workforce.

 

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