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Climate and weather are the biggest and most important factors in construction, and as such, the construction industry often sees seasonal fluctuations. Add to that holiday season orders that come at a time when regular staff tend to take annual leave, and managing fluctuations can prove difficult.

Seasonal temperature changes are different in every state, however, particularly in New South Wales, there are considerable rainfall variability across regions. This means there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all busy period, especially with projected climate changes.

So, how do you anticipate staffing needs and cash flow successfully?

One way is to have a great casual workforce that’s on call for you, without you having to pay a cent when they’re not needed. You have a ready-made talent pool to tap into any time you like, and should you choose to recruit or downsize rapidly, the process is relatively easy.

The problem with this, however, is that your casual staff might not be available when you need them. You cannot expect casual employees to sit around and wait for your call and there is no guarantee that they won’t seek work elsewhere. Can you afford to keep customers waiting because you don’t have adequate staff?

Another problem with casual workers that you occasionally tap into is that the motivation to help you succeed is often low. With no real prospect in place, casual staff often lack the same engagement and enthusiasm as demonstrated by potential long-term candidates or permanent staff.

So, what do you do when you don’t have extra staff at your fingertips?

1. Hire ahead of time

When hiring seasonal construction workers, it’s important to be proactive rather than reactive. It’s tempting to keep staffing levels low until the last minute to cut costs, however this can quickly become problematic. Hiring sometimes takes months of preparation, and for busy times such as the lead up to Christmas, you may need to start the hiring process as early as October.

When beginning your search, try tapping into your network of family and friends. Are they – or anyone they know – keen to take on some seasonal work? You can also ask existing employees to help spread the word or put their hand up for extra work.

If this proves fruitless, get in touch with Olympus Solutions. We can assist you with the right person and right support to get the job done.

2. Explore the Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Wage Subsidy Scheme provides payments to eligible employers to help cover the wages of an employee in the first few months of employment. This can be great when training an employee ahead of your busy period when cash flow may still be low.

The scheme helps you to find affordable employees and also benefits people with disabilities, helping them to gain skills and experience through employment. You may be entitled to up to

$1,500 as an incentive. Again, talk to us at Olympus Solutions to see if you meet the eligibility criteria.

3. Take advantage of labour hire and contract staff

Requiring ‘extra hands’ to help out with work overflow is something many businesses face. That’s where short-term labour hire and contract staff often come in. Both options provide workers on a temporary basis but vary in other details.

Labour hire is provided by another company, meaning you make an arrangement with an agency rather than the worker you’re hiring. Your worker’s employment obligations remain with the agency in which they’ve come from, making them ideal for situations in which you’re not sure for how long you will require the extra help.

Contract workers can be defined as a contract for the provision of service. The contractor will perform the work for your business (known as the principal) using either their own resources or yours. The worker stays in control of their time and method for performing the work, although an employment period and specific rate of pay will be defined at the beginning of the employment contract. Quite often contract work comes at a higher cost than labour hire.

4. Develop a training manual

One of the most difficult things about managing new hires is the process of getting them up to speed. Training can take a long time, particularly in the high-risk construction industry. To get the most out of your employees, use staff trainers and develop a training manual. This will not only improve the quality of new staff members, but it will also help you get an idea of the amount of time it will take to get your new hires ready for the job. Reading your training manual should be a compulsory element when taking on the position.

5. Attract the most skilled tradespeople

To attract the right people for the job, it’s important you write a great job description. You’ll also need to interview smarter, evaluate ‘business fit’ and prioritise workplace safety. Candidates should fit company culture, enabling them to operate in small teams. They should have relevant construction experience, good problem-solving skills and a genuine interest in helping you reach your seasonal goals. Your interview should be professional and the candidate should look to take it seriously. On-the-job training is great, but character is the difference between a good worker and a great worker.

Struggling to find employees who are work-ready and motivated? Contact the friendly team at Olympus Solutions today who can help you secure the right talent for your next job opportunity.

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