Time to implement strong HR processes instead of desperate corner cutting


Building Recruitment managing director Kevin Everett says although it’s easy to say, now is the time to stop the desperate corner cutting and to implement strong HR processes.

We all know the industry is heading for unprecedented times regarding supply of materials from overseas due to Covid-19, something that is sure to result in an increased cost of materials, delays on projects, and sourcing alternative solutions.

The pressure will be on businesses to renegotiate contracts for ongoing long-term projects, managing delays and keeping their client happy.

At the same time though, they’ll be having to run their business profitably and ensure staff are not feeling the same pressures.

It is not just materials that are in short demand. We have known for quite some time the pressure of finding experienced staff, regardless of the level, including labourers, tradies and QSs/project managers.

Border lockdowns are proving hard, and it seems salaries and wages are increasing each week.

I realise I have mentioned this previously in my column, and I hate having to keep bringing it up. However, it is a key issue in the industry.

What we are seeing currently is managers and business owners cutting corners in the recruitment process in their desperation to get people into their business.

You may feel at the time this is good, as you have the bodies in the business that you need. The long-term result is completely different though.

Now is the time to implement strong recruitment processes, not cut those corners. With the pressure increasing, you need to ensure new staff can cope, as well as help alleviate that pressure on them. 

It is also the same for job seekers. Many are chasing the money right now. Why? Well, the most common reason is due to increases in rent, or trying hard to get on to the property ladder.

Overseas workers are benefiting from the reduced time lines from New Zealand Immigration for visa variations. This is now down to 10 working days and, as a result, we are seeing more people moving jobs for the additional $1 to $3 per hour, on average.

This is not unique to the building sector, but it is causing us issues with consistency in the workplace.

Below is the trend in employment numbers within the construction sector over the past 20 years:

 As you can see, there has been a steady increase in numbers, and still no real sign of this decreasing any time soon. In the past 20 years the numbers employed have doubled.

We are also seeing another concerning trend in the increase in the use of the 90-day trial period to remove staff.

When employers come to us for help, we discover their recruitment processes were not robust. Many had short interview times, no real due diligence, and no reference checking or drug screening.

They saw the resume and made a fast judgement call.

Remember that pressure we were talking about? Well, it just got worse as a result of hiring the wrong person.

We have all been there, and I am sure we can all relate to this when the pressure is on.

I recommend — and I know this is easier said than done — just taking a step back and thinking about these questions:

Do I want to be doing this again in three months’ time?

Do I need the stress of getting this person out of my business if they are not right?

If they are coming for more money, how will I keep them if someone offers them more?

If you need support around your recruitment process, whether it’s about advertising, interviewing or pre-employment checks, we are here to help and support you. There is no obligation, and our advice is free.

Call one of our team on 0800 EMPLOY so we can help.

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