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The construction industry faces pressing challenges in attracting and retaining talent. With an ageing workforce and skills shortage in key areas, companies need to focus on nurturing their people now and in the future. 

Over the past 50 years, Chisholm & Winch has built a solid reputation and is known for its unwavering commitment to excellence. At the heart of this success lies our commitment to our people as they are the driving force behind our achievements.

Here are some insights we’ve garnered over the years and tips on cultivating a loyal and inspired workforce, drawing on our experience of building a culture that supports employees and helps individuals realise their full potential.

1. Recruitment: shaping the future from the start

Behind any successful team is an effective recruitment strategy. For Chisholm & Winch, this means identifying talent that meets our current needs and individuals who can adapt to future challenges. Our strong reputation within the industry and repeat business from a historical client base enables us to attract top talent.

We focus on the culture and skill set of the business and emphasise internal promotions, allowing our employees to develop their skills and progress from within. We have a robust, diverse and inclusive culture which is vital for a company’s long-term success.

2. Continuous learning and development: investing in future success

The rapid pace of technological advancement requires employees to get ahead by acquiring fresh skills and staying updated on industry trends. Employees need comprehensive training programmes and mentoring initiatives to develop in today’s fast-changing environments.

Chisholm & Winch’s training matrix, tailored to each job role and project requirements, is reviewed weekly to ensure our employees – from apprentices upwards – are well-equipped to tackle the challenges of their specific roles. Weekly toolbox talks and daily site briefings help us communicate with our on-site staff and ensure their training needs are met.

Working with top-tier contractors like MACE allows us to access learning programmes where different trades share techniques and best practices. This gives our employees a rounded understanding of other trades and business operations.

3. Flexibility and work-life balance: adapting to modern working methods

A healthy, engaged, modern workforce has flexible work options that respect individuals’ well-being. At Chisholm & Winch we offer hybrid in-office/remote work options that allow individuals to tailor their schedules based on project demands and personal requirements.

We’re continually looking at ways to reduce workloads. For example, at the end of an eight-hour day, the last thing people want to do is to spend two hours on paperwork, so we have just introduced Procore. This electronic platform lets our employees use tablets to record and report on their day-to-day tasks as they go about their work. By doing this, we are reducing the reliance on paperwork and contributing to a better work-life balance. This shows the importance of leveraging technology to benefit employees.

4. Employee well-being: prioritising physical and mental health

The nature of the construction and fit-out sector can be physically demanding and mentally challenging. The health and well-being of employees must always be a priority, so introducing wellness programmes, providing access to mental health resources and creating a safe working environment is essential. 

Healthy employees are likelier to be engaged, productive and committed to a company’s long-term success. Focusing on well-being has the added benefit of contributing to a positive culture, which helps us attract and keep the talent we need.

We’re currently considering an app called ‘Fit For Work’ that can be accessed via a phone or tablet and helps manage the mental health of our employees. People in our industry tend to keep things close to their chests which can create issues down the line. This app will allow us to check in with all our employees, see if they need anything and ensure they’re fit for work. Our teams are spread across numerous sites, so this will help them feel connected and let us provide them with the support when needed.

5. Focus on employee experience: building a supportive culture

Encouraging collaboration, innovation, and growth is at the core of our approach to employee experience. We actively promote two-way communication between site employees and management, creating a supportive culture where employees feel heard and valued. This supports collaboration and motivates employees to invest in their professional development, contributing to the business’s long-term success.  

Our low staff turnover proves the success of this approach, as employees recognise that their contributions matter.

Pioneering the future of work

As demands on the workforce intensify, we need to continue to nurture and empower our people if we want to succeed. By prioritising recruitment, continuous learning, flexibility, employee well-being and an exceptional employee experience, we are creating a workplace that is inclusive, diverse and well-prepared for the challenges ahead.