CIL, the leading management consultancy, has unveiled its annual report on the UK construction industry. The research amongst 140 companies, shows a very clear link between successful, growing companies and three key factors – employee engagement, strong relationships with sub-contractors and the use of technology.
The research separates the 140 firms into three categories. First, share winners – businesses with sales growth of more than five per cent p.a. Second, share decliners – businesses with declining sales, and third, non-movers – businesses with sales growth of 0-5 per cent p.a.
In a sector which has an increasing skills shortage, which will be compounded by Brexit, those companies taking market share consistently reported a more engaged employee base compared to those who are losing ground. 41 per cent of market share winners described their employees as highly engaged, compared to just 12 per cent in the market share decliners. This is key to winning the battle for talent.
The ability to develop strong sub-contractor relationships through collaborative working is another key factor for success – 29 per cent of market share winners strongly agreed that they have loyal subcontractors, compared to 10% in the share decliner category.
Those firms most willing to engage with technology and new building practices are better able to drive efficiencies and increase sales, thus improving performance. The research showed that 31 per cent of market share winners reported that their onsite processes are becoming much more efficient, compared to 15 per cent of market share decliners.
The tight labour market in the sector also means that the more enlightened firms which focus on recruitment and retention of talent are best placed to succeed. 27 per cent of market share winners have a well-structured apprenticeship scheme, compared to 13 per cent of market share decliners. When it comes to recruiting graduates, again the growing firms are ahead of the pack with 24 per cent recruiting from higher education institutions compared to seven per cent of those in decline.
With just one in 20 construction workers being female, successful firms also place much greater emphasis on engaging with women, with 36 per cent actively working to improve the work environment for women. Training is also crucial to develop expertise and improving productivity and again, the market share winners far outpace the lesser-performing firms in this regard.
Commenting on the report, Sebastian Chambers, Partner and head of the construction and building products practice at CIL Management Consultants, said:
“Our report makes it very clear that executives and investors need to take KPIs around team engagement seriously as it is a crucial success factor. For every initiative around technology, order book, sales pipeline, operations and productivity, there needs to be an equivalent emphasis on recruitment, diversity, career development and retention.”