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Building a Solid Workforce

Tips for hiring and growing great employees who want to stay with your company

By Dawn Allen, Vice President of Human Resources


Metromont Dawn AllenWorkforce development has become a popular buzz phrase in many industries lately. It’s no different for precast, prestressed concrete construction. At Metromont, workforce development isn’t just about leading the next generation to a construction career, it’s also about cultivating our current construction team members in order to grow the family and keep the synergy and legacy of Metromont strong.

Industries around the nation of every kind seem to be finding themselves with one very key thing in common … a shortage of labor. Where have all the workers gone?

Blue-collar workers have become particularly harder and harder to find. And once we find them … how do we keep them? Between work conditions, competition from other industries, and personal factors, it seems many people just aren’t interested in a hard day’s labor anymore. That’s why we believe it’s critical to focus our efforts on finding that perfect somebody. Our HR approach seeks candidates who can be a mutual fit and implements pathways that evolve that mutual relationship for us and our associates.

Sweeten the Pot

There are plenty of theories why the blue-collar worker has become elusive for many industries. Perhaps the big box stores are taking all the great workers. We can’t blame them … air-conditioned locations away from the harsh elements of the environment are definitely motivation. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re offering the best incentives and career outlooks you have to potential new hires.

At Metromont, we’ve initiated a new hire employee incentive plan to encourage retention. Perhaps also consider a growth pathway for entry level employees that provides them with a future vision of themselves advancing in your company.

Find New Buckets

As we continue to search for the right candidates, consider finding new resource buckets. Reach out to avenues that speak to high school parents and non-college bound kids. Connect with foreign-speaking recruiting agencies and partner with them to reach non-English speaking people. By tapping into different markets such as women, immigrants, high school career centers, or technical schools you can significantly widen your employee pool.

Do Your Initial Research

It’s common knowledge that retaining an employee saves your company time, talent, money, and turmoil. By taking the proper measures to invest in the hiring process up front, you can alleviate many headaches. At Metromont, we have created two pre-hire surveys we give our candidates. These aren’t talent tests or personality quizzes. These surveys are our initial tool to assess a candidate’s compatibility for a particular role and with Metromont’s culture, based on sociability, work pace, leadership aptitude, and such. It helps us determine if a person will be a good fit for Metromont and if Metromont will be a good fit for that person. With nearly two decades worth of data, we’re able to “predict” certain potential in our workforce that has enabled our company to thrive.

Keep The Lines of Communication Constant

Of course, relying only on a survey isn’t a magic wand to finding the perfect employee every time. Ongoing feedback and conversations with supervisors and managers are also critical. With an intentional focus by our HR team, these conversations help us know who wants to do more and who has growth potential. Because we keep an employee growth mindset, we are often able to coach someone from the get-go. That’s not to say an individual is guaranteed a particular role … but because we are continually engaged in discussions with every department, our HR team is able to develop progress plan ideas for every employee.

Put People Where They Fit

There’s much to be said about not putting a round circle in a square box. Don’t be afraid to experience some trial and error in order to find the perfect fit for you and your employee. For example, we had one employee who started on the beds and was promoted to project management. We quickly realized that wasn’t the best fit for that person, or the company. So we moved him to estimating, which was okay, but still not quite the best fit. Currently, this person works as a sourcing manager and is thriving. Don’t be afraid to recognize when things aren’t working and to change them.

Don’t Just Grow Because They Have Roots

The HR of the past put people in positions simply because they’d been with the company for a certain duration. That growth model often yielded the opposite desired effect. Sometimes people simply aren’t meant to be management. And that’s okay. Keep in mind that when we promote someone, to take a holistic approach looking at the entire person. We can’t all lead and we can’t all follow. To put someone in as a leader who isn’t built that way will wreak havoc on that person, those working for him, and potentially the entire company.

Cultivate Your Culture

Building your company’s legacy is vital. When looking at a candidate ask yourself, can I see this person cultivating our company’s culture in others one day? Metromont was built on longevity. We are proud to have employees who’ve been with us 20, 30, and even 40 years and we value the experience they bring with them. Mike Ward is the director of estimating and has been with the company for nearly 35 years. “Metromont has given me so many opportunities to develop my full potential as a leader. They’ve supported my professional development throughout my career and have helped shape who I am today,” Mike says. It’s this sort of experience and legacy that continues to grow Metromont. Take pride in the people who work for you. Find good hires … not just warm bodies.

As we ride this current wave in workforce development, know that through diligence, creativity, and a true focus on people you’ll start finding the people who will benefit your company. As you find them, be sure to show them that a precast concrete construction job isn’t just a job. It can be the way for them to pave a successful future for them and their family.


About Dawn Allen:

Dawn Allen has been in the human resources field for over 20 years and is dedicated to developing associates who enrich the company’s culture and the lives of their coworkers. In her daily work, Dawn promotes Metromont’s core values and strives to cultivate hard work, dedication, and passion in the people who work for Metromont.


About Metromont Mission & Values:

Metromont exists to be a caring family that delivers excellence to each other and to our customers, partners, suppliers, and communities. Metromont hires people who align with the company’s core values of faith, honor, and passion. For more information about becoming part of the Metromont family, view our job postings


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