Training Top 125 Best Practice: Dellbrook | JKS Construction’s Construction Immersion Program
The construction industry has been booming for the last six years, and the need for talent in this industry is greater than ever. However, there hasn’t been enough professionals in the industry to do the available work. In 2016, Dellbrook | JKS Construction experienced significant new hire turnover, and decided to implement a formal rotational program with a goal of 20 percent or less turnover rate for this group upon “graduation,” a decrease in recruiting costs by 10 percent year-over-year for employees at that level, and a plan to promote 30 percent more of its employees annually than it had in years past.
From this, the formal Construction Immersion Rotational program was born.
The project scope included a plan to hire 6 to 10 people annually for the foreseeable future who had no experience in construction and teach/grow them internally over a two-year time period. During this time, they would learn all aspects of construction management to help them become more well-rounded employees while also figuring out what role would best suit them for their long-term career.
These employees were placed on teams that had shown success in coaching/mentoring employees in the past to ensure the best experiential opportunities while doing their day-to-day tasks. They were given mentors from the company’s Next Generational Leadership Program to provide an opportune view of the culture and what opportunities exist when hard work is shown. They were given regular formal training on a monthly basis and formal performance check-ins quarterly, as well as at the end of each rotation to rate their performance and provide feedback from the executives on long-term growth and project success/issues. After two years, these employees would be able to fill a more permanent role in the organization.
At the same time, many employees who were transitioning between task managers and people managers were given the opportunity to manage these new employees, which, in turn helped them grow in their roles and provide promotional opportunities internally, keeping the growth within, the employees happy, and the culture intact. As these new employees were hired for their ability to deal with adversity, teambuilding capabilities, communication styles, and their hunger to learn, employees who are not in the program have had to learn how to become trainers, doubling if not tripling growth in Dellbrook | JKS Construction’s employees.
The entire executive team, CEO included, jumped on board to help promote the program, explaining the benefits to the organization and the project teams who would be receiving inexperienced new employees and the opportunities available to them by taking part. Executives met with the group during onboarding to welcome them to the organization and formally provided a few courses, checked in with them regularly during project team meetings, and met with each employee at the end of each rotation to provide feedback and advice during this growth period.
Over the last two-and-a-half years, these employees have far surpassed the company’s goals, and recruiting costs have decreased by more than 24 percent while keeping turnover for this group at only 4 percent. Dellbrook | JKS Construction has promoted 31 people during this time period, a 27 percent increase from years past. In addition, a majority of the candidates who graduated most recently have been rated as high performers/high potentials compared to their limited industry knowledge just two years prior.