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Building a Workforce From the Ground Up

How Jaynes Attracts and Retains Labor in a Competitive Market

It’s no surprise that the construction industry has a staffing problem. We heard the same concern raised across disciplines at our last Market Outlook meeting: it’s hard to find skilled workers and even harder to keep them.

The reasons for this industry-wide labor shortage are varied. One factor is the age of the workforce. Older, experienced workers are retiring or moving to other fields, and there aren’t as many young skilled workers as there used to be. There are more roles to fill than ever, thanks to an influx of government funding for infrastructure projects and a booming demand for multifamily housing.

With higher demand and a smaller labor pool to draw from, companies need to be smart about attracting and retaining workers. Competitive pay isn’t enough, and wage increases can be unsustainable, especially on government contracts with fixed budgets and tight margins. But other incentives, from good insurance to a healthier work culture, can have just as big an impact on employee retention.

Raising Today’s Apprentices to Become Tomorrow’s Leaders

At Jaynes, we have a long-time philosophy of investing in our workers. We hire young and build careers over decades. The way we see it, someone took a chance on each of us and coached us to reach where we are today. We owe it to the next generation of construction workers to pay that forward.

We train in-house and do our best to pair off younger workers with more experienced ones. We promote from within because it’s important that our leaders be raised up in our company culture. Ongoing career development is a priority for us. We find promising talent, even if they lack practical experience, and build upon it with mentorship and training.

Our executive vice president of field operations, Greg Krause, started as a laborer in the 1990s. Shad James, our president, started twenty years ago as an engineer. Those types of origin stories are common when you talk to our company’s leaders.

There aren’t that many jobs out there anymore where people can stay and grow for 40-year careers, but that’s the reality for many of our Jaynes employees. Communicating that value to potential hires has helped us with recruiting and retention.

Taking Care of Our People

Jaynes is well-known for our consistency and trustworthiness. That’s not something we come by on accident. We’ve intentionally built a workplace culture where employees can grow and thrive, which reduces turnover and ensures higher quality workmanship:

  • We are an employee-owned company (ESOP), meaning every worker shares risk and profit. This keeps workers invested in the long-term health and performance of the company and its growth.
  • Our full-service on-site health clinic manages the basic medical needs of our workers and their spouses. We also work to keep our employee health insurance costs as low as possible without sacrificing coverage.
  • Our company culture prioritizes safety and communication. We complete incident reviews for every on-site injury, even among subcontractors when Jaynes isn’t directly involved, and focus on training opportunities to improve safety.

The value of just listening to employees and answering their needs cannot be overstated. If you’re a good place to work and invest in taking care of your people, you’ll attract the kind of talent who will want to put in the effort to improve themselves and make the company excel.  It’s not easy, and it won’t solve staffing problems overnight. But it should be how you form the foundation of a strong company.