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Construction Finance Leaders’ Playbook to Win the Talent Battle

May 30, 2023
Raw materials being prepared for construction

It’s a confusing time in the construction industry. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a backlog in production with supply chain delays and skilled labor shortages, forcing companies to rethink how they do business.  

While the pandemic is largely behind us, construction companies are still dealing with a backlog because of material and skilled labor shortages. The Associated Builders and Contractors projects the construction industry will need to add an estimated 546,000 workers in addition to the normal pace of hiring in 2023 to meet demands. But in an Associated General Contractors of America survey, 80% of respondents reported they are having a hard time filling some or all of their salaried and hourly craft positions. 

Older generations of workers are retiring while others are considering careers in different industries or choosing not to return to work. As a result, construction companies have to find new ways to work more efficiently and meet the desires of the current workforce by providing flexible options. 

That’s why retaining talent and driving employee engagement in the construction industry is more important than ever. It’s not only a retention tool – but it’s also linked to improved business performance. According to Gallup, highly engaged employees increase profitability, productivity and customer loyalty. 

In this blog, we’ll look at three key insights from the AvidXchange, IOFM 2023 AP Professional Career Satisfaction survey that can help you drive employee engagement in the construction industry. 

1. Finance Employees Want to Know They’re Doing Meaningful Work

10% don’t feel at all connected to the mission or purpose of their organization. Educating finance employees on the impact of their insights and how they drive business results can lead to higher career satisfaction.

“AP automation provides general contractors and subcontractors with better analysis and reporting capabilities so they can track the progress and profitability of their business, improve bid margins and identify more opportunities for growth.”

2. Investing in Technology is an Investment in Your Employees’ Careers

85% of AP pros agree or strongly agree access to tools and technology helps with professional development. Giving your staff the tools and technology they need to be successful can improve their work experience, keep them around longer and allow them to grow. 

“The more you can, automate and try to cut out as many of the repetitive, mundane mindless time that you spend – sometimes a mindless task is a breath of fresh air – but if you have that eight hours a day, you’re not going to retain somebody because a really strong, ambitious person is going to thrive on a challenge.”

3. Growth Opportunities Lead to More Engaged Employees

84% of AP pros said learning or skills development opportunities are important when considering a job opportunity. Freeing finance staff from redundant, manual tasks can give them more time to work on higher-level, strategic initiatives. 

“If a firm’s work doubles, the volume of invoices and payments double as well. To keep from hiring more people, they need productivity tools to allow their current staff to do more. Automation allows them to take on bigger workloads and removes the need for paper so it’s quicker to submit invoices and release funds to pay contractors and suppliers.”

Are You Ready to Help Your Construction Business Win the Talent Battle?

The construction industry is seeing a digital skills gap between those who have been in the business for decades and those just entering the field. 

While some are comfortable with a paper-based process, younger generations expect to use technology in their roles. Some may not even be familiar with hand-writing checks. 

In a time when it’s difficult to attract and retain talent, investing in the back office with the right technology can help give your employees what they’re looking for in their careers. 

Nearly half of the survey respondents said they would be “extremely unlikely” or “unlikely” to consider a job opportunity at an organization that didn’t have tools or technology in place to automate parts or all of their work. Ninety-three percent described their AP department as at least partially automated. 

The value of financial technology in the construction industry may not have always been clear, but with skilled labor shortages and unreliable supply chains, it’s time for construction firms to embrace technology rather than resist it. 

Download our guide,9 Stats That Define the Modern AP Professional,” for an in-depth look at how to attract and retain talent in a competitive market. 

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