Building a Construction Mentorship Programme: Top Tips for Contractors

In this article, guest written by Patrick Hogan, he explores the importance of setting up a mentoring programme for contractors in the construction industry, as well as how you can go about setting one up properly.

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The greatest asset of a construction company is its workforce. The competency of a construction firm’s employees is a huge competitive advantage, especially when bidding for contracts. Unfortunately, not a lot of companies are too keen to invest in attracting fresh talent, cultivating employees’ skills, and making them feel that they are key to fulfilling their companies’ mission. After all, the industry is already experiencing a lot of challenges, including payment issues and thin profit margins.

The inevitable result is a workforce that lacks drive and is disengaged from their work. This may not seem to have an obvious impact on the bottom line at first but it actually costs companies a significant amount of money. According to Gallup, 57% of UK employees are not engaged, and 26% are actively disengaged. This means they are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and less likely to be productive. Employee disengagement costs their organization between £52 billion and £70 billion of lost productivity.

It is abundantly clear that construction companies should invest in keeping their workers engaged. Not only does investing in your employees improve the performance of your organization, but it is also a great motivator for retaining them. And one of the best ways to keep your employees engaged is to build a mentorship program.

Benefits of Mentorship in Construction

When one thinks of mentorship in construction, most people think of internship and apprenticeship where young talents are immersed in the construction environment to do basic tasks and learn what they can from their seniors.

Over the past few years, however, mentorship has changed to adapt to the times. Because of the high employee turnover rate in the industry, mentorship can be used as a trial phase for potential employees before they formally enter a company. It is also a good opportunity for construction firms to teach young workers about how they operate and make them realize that they are a great place to work in.

In addition, the mentors themselves also benefit from supervising peers and younger employees. It is one of the best opportunities for them to develop leadership skills and improve their communication skills. In addition, mentorship can also help reinforce their own knowledge and work techniques.

Mentorship is also a way to fill in the jobs that will be left by senior employees. Construction managers and senior tradespeople are ageing out of their positions and need to groom their successors before they leave.

Finally, mentorship is also one of the best opportunities for employees to get to know one another. Improving cohesiveness and camaraderie has a huge effect on productivity and safety. Construction work is dangerous so it is crucial that employees look after one another as they work.

Tips on Building a Construction Mentorship Programme

Starting your own mentorship programme? Here are some ways you can create an effective construction mentorship programme.

1. Identify the right employees for mentorship roles
The success of your mentorship programme depends on the people who participate in it. That is why it is important to take your time in identifying which of your employees are best suited to being a mentor. They need to have not just the right set of skills and abilities but also the attitude and disposition to be able to impart what they know to their mentees. That said, you need to be mindful of whether these potential mentors have enough time to provide mentorship. Your top employees may have great wisdom to impart but if they don’t have time to prepare, it will be detrimental to the programme and could affect the mentor's own work productivity.

2. Match mentors with mentees
Mentorship can be more productive if there’s a good match between a mentor and a mentee. Getting the right match, however, is easier said than done. Each mentor will have different teaching styles while each mentee will have different learning needs. The best practice in matching mentors to mentees is creating a profile for all participants. These are their work goals, topics they are interested in, and their level of experience. You should also consider letting the participants have a say in the matching process by selecting their mentor or mentee.

3. Perform evaluations regularly
Regular evaluation of your mentorship programme will ensure that it is working to meet the goals that you envisioned. It also gives you an opportunity to refine and adjust things as needed. One of the best ways to evaluate your mentorship programme is to ask each participant about their feedback. Ask them about their overall experience as well as their opinions on things that they think need improvement. Aside from this, determine if the goals you have set at the beginning have been achieved by the mentorship program. An increase in work productivity and an improvement in employee retention are good signs that the programme is working.

4. Ensure the correct support is in place
Mentorship programmes take time and resource to manage when done manually, the above three tips are all about how you can start your mentoring scheme but can take time to implement. PushFar's mentoring software is here to support you in a resource-effective and streamlined manner. PushFar's technology takes care of automated, intelligent mentor matching, management, reporting and ongoing engagement. It is easy to setup and scale. If you are interested in getting started, click here to request a free demo of PushFar's mentoring platform.

Mentorship takes a lot of time and investment but the benefits to your business, especially the improvements in the workforce’s core competency and employee engagement, are very well worth it.

About the Author:
Patrick Hogan is the CEO of Handle.com, where they build software that helps contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers with late payments. Handle.com also provides funding for construction businesses in the form of invoice factoring, material supply trade credit, and mechanics lien purchasing.
Mentoring Solutions: PushFar
We are a global mentoring solution for individuals and organisations! We can help you get a mentoring scheme up and running in minutes or help you to find mentors, mentees and career progression.