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10 Effective Processes for Managing Employees in Residential Construction

residential construction employee installing a light bulb in a home residence projectRemodeling and restoration projects are labor-intensive, deadline driven, and have multiple moving parts. That means contractor workforce management must run like a well-oiled machine. One key to doing that is to use effective, repeatable processes. Read on to learn about some processes that might benefit your business.

1. Explain the Big Picture

A strong, positive company culture relies on everyone being on the same page. You can help make this happen with a process that paints a picture about your company. Tell employees about your company’s purpose, vision and values. Define what makes your services different/better than services offered by competing companies. Be clear about your business objectives. Explain how every employee plays an important role. Then be sure to repeat the whole process occasionally as a friendly refresher. Employees will appreciate having a broader view of your business that goes beyond their own job requirements.

2. Draft Detailed Job Descriptions

Back-and-forth communication in construction has long relied on physical files. Many restoration contractors continue to use paper documents for contracts, reports, memos, timesheets and a variety of other purposes. But shuffling papers around can be time-consuming and, at times, confusing. Thankfully, there is a better way: Electronic communication via emails, apps and other digital tools is usually much faster. And it invites back-and-forth discussion to clarify details and clear up questions.

3. Properly Onboard New Employees

A contractor onboarding process designed to welcome new employees is helpful in multiple ways. It informs them about your business. It allows them to get up to speed faster so they can work productively. It also contributes to a good company-employee rapport.

Here are a few suggestions for creating an effective onboarding process:

  • Determine a set time span for onboarding (e.g., three months).

  • Select the person(s) who will be responsible for managing onboarding.

  • Define the overall objectives for the process.

  • Develop a checklist of steps that should be followed. For example:

    • Make the new person feel comfortable and welcomed.

    • Have the person fill out any paperwork required for new hires.

    • Briefly describe our company’s history and current operation.

    • Provide an employee handbook that explains important information.

    • Discuss company processes, policies and benefits.

    • Review the job description together.

    • Ask if the individual has any questions.

    • Conduct a tour of our facilities.

    • Provide appropriate, job-specific training.

    • Meet periodically to review and discuss progress.

  • Formalize the process by putting everything in writing.

  • Fine-tune the process over time as you implement it.

4. Kick Off Each New Project in a Consistent Manner

You can do this by using a uniform contractor process for job-site orientations. That way, you can be sure that each employee is fully informed before work is actually started. That’s a good thing because it means you are likely to get better results.

The process can involve going over a project’s purpose, expectations, schedule, task assignments and other important information. It may also entail reviewing proper daily procedures – how to communicate as a team, how to track time, how to clean up the work site each day, etc. You’ll also want to encourage employees to ask questions, and be willing to listen to their input. They may have some valuable suggestions!

5. Provide the Right Resources

No one wants to stall a project’s start date, right? Here’s how to prevent that from happening: develop a process for ensuring that workers always have the resources they need to begin a new project. This applies to vehicles, tools and mobile devices; project materials and equipment; personal protective gear (hard hats, safety glasses, non-slip footwear, etc.); and anything else necessary to initiate a project on time.

6. Promote a Safe Working Environment

Employees will be motivated and willing to work in an environment where they feel their safety is not at risk. So, you’ll want to establish a process that does the following:

  • emphasizes safety on a regular basis through meetings, messages and other methods

  • makes sure safety qualifications, licenses and certifications are always up to date

  • reminds workers how to be safe by wearing personal protective gear and using tools correctly

7. Perfect Your Project Scheduling

A reliable scheduling process will ensure that your company sticks to project timelines. The main goal should be to allocate adequate labor, materials, vehicles and other resources every day for every job. This will help prevent unnecessary and costly work delays.

8. Train Workers to Succeed

Do you have a process for training current employees? If not, you may want to develop one. Giving employees the opportunity to learn new skills and take on new challenges can boost morale and motivation, increase loyalty to your company, and make them more valuable team members.

9. Conduct Performance Evaluations

Construction employees want to feel respected by their employers. By establishing a regular evaluation process, you can ensure that every worker receives proper recognition for good performance. You can also identify areas for improvement, discuss training opportunities, and set clear goals for the months ahead. Be sure to allow employees to express thoughts during the process as well, and acknowledge their input. Plus, always end on a positive note by stating that you appreciate them and will continue to support their career development.

10. Use Digital Processes to Optimize Productivity

Of course, that’s dependent on having the right digital tools. You and your team may benefit from some or all of the following:

  • A floor plan app – A high-quality app will allow you to sketch rooms quickly on-site before a project begins, add notations and photos, and then share the plan with your work crew during the kickoff process. This method is much faster, easier and clearer compared to working with paper documents.

Read more: Professional Floor Plans: Sketching the Hard Way vs. the Easy Way

  • A scheduling app – Use this to set up individual work assignments, and to make sure the right crew goes to the right location at the right time.

  • A communication app – This is a great way to streamline field employee management: coordinate work in real time, check in on worker progress, and address unexpected problems immediately. Communicating with an app is a much better method than relying on phone calls and emails. (For example, some contractors use Whatsapp to keep projects moving.)

  • A time-tracking app – Since labor is typically the largest expense in residential construction, it’s important to track the hours spent on each project. Armed with a convenient time-tracking app, workers can clock in and out easily from their phones.


Successful remodeling and restoration projects need processes in place to keep everything running smoothly. That’s especially true when it comes to construction workforce management. So, take time to set up and implement some effective processes. Then watch how those improve your company’s overall operation.


Continue reading our guide on enhancing digital floorplans.

Or find out more about how to deal with difficult clients.