Construction companies have always had to adhere to more standards and guidelines than many other industries simply due to the nature of the work. But over the next four years, as the federal government pours billions into improving the country’s infrastructure, remaining compliant with these laws will be more important than ever. That’s because federal dollars will be handed out to companies to improve roads, bridges, and mass transit, water infrastructure, resilience and broadband. Winning bids for these jobs require construction companies to become federal contractors and adhere to standards set by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).
The OFCCP has guidelines for all areas of HR when it comes to workers including hiring, training and tracking hours. Remaining compliant for each issue is easier with HR technology developed specifically for the construction industry.
Tracking Worker Hours
The Issue: Worker hours aren’t efficiently or accurately tracked.
Every minute worked needs to be paid for, including overtime. The US Department of Labor (DOL) sets standards for worker treatment under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers must at least pay workers the minimum wage for all hours worked, as well as time and a half for overtime and keep detailed records. If construction companies don’t pay workers overtime, they face hefty fines from the DOL.
The Solution: Digital time tracking solutions automatically track clock-ins and out via a mobile app, kiosk mode or rugged time clock. Because time is tracked digitally daily, there’s no need to remember work times at the end of the week, like employees must do when using paper time cards, so all time is tracked, including overtime. And manual entry errors, from transposing numbers and illegible handwriting, are eliminated.
Ensuring Hiring Compliance
The Issue: No one is checking that hiring practices align with compliance guidelines.
Government contractors must comply with standards set by the OFCCP including developing an Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) and keeping detailed records for all applicants and hires. The challenge lies in the fact that your HR team not only has to make sure they are following the rules, they have to track and make updates and ensure all job postings include the required wording. If done manually, compliance can take a huge amount of time and lead to costly errors.
The Solution: The right applicant tracking software (ATS) will automate many of the hiring compliance procedures HR professionals need to follow. Arcoro’s ATS includes a voluntary self-identification questionnaire for AAP reporting, it tracks good faith recruiting efforts, stores all candidate information and updates all required forms like W-9s. The software will automatically include EEO taglines in job postings, ensuring they’re never accidentally forgotten.
Recruiting Quality Construction Talent
The Issue: Recruiting construction talent isn’t resulting in many qualified hires.
Recruiting construction candidates requires evaluating what skills and qualifications are necessary for the position, developing an accurate job description, advertising to a diverse group of candidates and sorting through applicant resumes. All this occurs before the interview stage even begins. And if you didn’t get a good pool of qualified applicants, you must start the entire process all over again.
The Solution: An ATS lets you not only organize your recruiting tactics across multiple channels, but also helps reduce risks and stay compliant. EEO employers must record and track all candidates, even those who don’t get hired, to prove fair hiring practices. An ATS can aid in this process by automatically eliminating applicants that don’t meet minimum qualifications, reducing the number of applications to sort through and significantly expediting the hiring process.
The Issue: Turnover is costing you big time.
Losing an employee, whether by termination or resignation, can cost employers about $4,000 in costs to hire and train a new employee, plus any overtime paid to workers covering their workload. There are other hidden costs to turnover as well. Overall team morale, as well as your company culture, can suffer. When employees start walking out the door or are terminated, the ones that remain can get disengaged and start looking for work elsewhere. That’s a big problem for an industry that’s already struggling to find and hire workers.
The Solution: Start employees off with a strong onboarding process. Only 12% of employees strongly agree their organization does a good job of onboarding. An effective onboarding process is your best tool to get employees on the job quickly and efficiently, encouraging engagement right from the start. A good onboarding process ensures employees know exactly what to expect working for your organization. It should outline job requirements, goals and company policies and procedures.
Encouraging Workplace Diversity
The Issue: Your workplace lacks diversity; you only hire the same type of people with the same ideas.
This is more than just an issue, it could be illegal, especially if you don’t have valid reasons for rejecting candidates who are women or people of color. Racism continues to exist as a subtle undercurrent in our society—even when the most well-meaning among us aren’t aware of it. Therefore, you can’t just coast along and assume that if you don’t do anything bad, then the problem will just go away. A lack of diversity can also stifle your company’s ability to be creative and innovative.
The Solution: Start looking in new places to find a more diverse pool of candidates. Reach out to job boards that target minorities, ask your minority employees for referrals and make prominent mention of your company’s attitude toward inclusion in your job postings. EEO employers must make statements about their equal opportunity hiring practices. A good ATS can help widen your search by having access to a wide range of job boards. An employee referral program that is well-communicated to employees, easy to access, simple to participate in, and clear about expectations and outcomes, will help to encourage more diverse referrals. Improving workplace diversity also requires creating a company culture that is more inclusive.
Training and Development
The Issue: Construction employees aren’t excited to sit through mandatory training sessions.
Construction crews must complete mandatory training sessions from OSHA but also state and local mandated training like sexual harassment prevention. But when content isn’t engaging, no one participates and you can’t validate that everyone has taken the training or signed off on it. There’s also an issue when training isn’t easily accessible or even intuitive, workers won’t elect to develop their abilities on their own, leaving you with a workforce that doesn’t take advantage of learning new skills and specializations.
The Solution: A learning management system allows your employees to complete training whenever and wherever is convenient for them. A mobile solution gives employees the ability to complete required training, like sexual harassment prevention, and update certifications from their mobile devices or computers 24/7. Arcoro’s LMS allows companies to upload custom content so you can deliver training programs that appeal to everyone. Compliance is ensured by mandating your employees have signed off on completed sessions. Plus, maintaining OSHA compliance is second nature with approved courses and automatic updates.
Compensation & Benefits
The Issue: You’re losing employees to the competition at an alarming rate.
Your HR department is too swamped with open enrollment and making updates to employees’ personal circumstances to track when an employee has met a milestone. Your benefits process is also riddled with errors due to manually inputting employee data, putting you at risk to meet deadlines and maintain compliance.
The Solution: Automate both compensation and benefits management processes with modular solutions. Arcoro’s Compensation Management module works in conjunction with Arcoro’s Core HR and Performance Management modules to manage and automate merit increases and bonuses used to reward and retain high-performing employees. When employees meet configurable benchmarks within the Performance Management module, income or bonus increases are automatically calculated and reflected in the employee’s compensation. The Core HR module connects Compensation Management to outside payroll systems for a seamless overall compensation process. Arcoro’s Benefits Management module gives employees access to their personal information, allowing them to update and view benefits at any time It also gives administrators, managers and employees access to crucial documents and information during open enrollment. Built-in compliance features not only make ACA compliance automatic but establishes rules-based eligibility, so employees only see the benefits they’re eligible for during the enrollment process.
Overcoming Software Issues
The Issue: Your HR software is slow and clumsy; it doesn’t update like it should or automate the processes that slow down your HR department.
HR software that is time consuming and lacks mobile capabilities will likely cause many candidates to drop off the application process without finishing. According to CareerBuilder, candidates want to finish the process in 10 minutes or less. And current employees won’t use HR software if they can’t access it on their phones or if it requires them to jump through hurdles to accomplish tasks like clocking in and out or accessing benefits. Another HR software issue to contend with is being stuck with a system that your company has quickly outgrown.
The Solution: Invest in digital solutions that simplify your HR processes while helping to maintain compliance. If you don’t currently have HR software, now is the time to upgrade. Manual processes that still use paper are not only slower than digital but they’re a security and compliance risk. Your employees’ data is full of sensitive information that with a manual, unsecured process could easily get lost into the wrong hands. Plus, there are compliance issues to consider like the Affordable Care Act and government contractors that need to adhere to EEO and OFCCP guidelines. A modular system, like ExakTime and Arcoro, has the ability to scale with your company so you’re only appealing to your CEO and CFO once for the investment.