Last edited 04 Nov 2016

Human resource management in construction

Contents

[edit] Introduction

Human resource management (HRM) is the process of managing people within an organisation. In construction, HRM is primarily concerned with ensuring that a project has sufficient human resources, with the correct skill-sets and experience, for the project to be successfully completed.

HR managers have to be able to identify and document project roles and responsibilities, and develop a plan describing the end-to-end processes that will be required on a project (or series of projects) in order to determine its human resource requirements.

HRM typically involves the following core areas:

  • Job design and analysis.
  • Workforce planning.
  • Recruitment and selection.
  • Training and development.
  • Performance management.
  • Compensation (remuneration).
  • Legal issues.

[edit] Role of HR manager

The functions and responsibilities of a human resources manager might include:

  • Determining the need for staff.
  • Recruiting and training temporary and permanent staff as required.
  • Managing employee payroll, benefits and compensation.
  • Communicating with employees.
  • Resolving disputes.
  • Evaluating performance.
  • Managing employee relations.
  • Ensuring equal opportunities.
  • Making sure that site facilities are suitable and well-maintained.

Some HRM functions can be outsourced to external suppliers, such as those involving payroll functions, background checking, benefits administration, training, the production of employee handbooks and so on.

[edit] Challenges in construction

The construction industry is one of the most complex and problematic sectors within which to manage people:

  • The operational realities faced by construction organisations, means there is a risk that the needs of employees are subjugated by performance concerns.
  • There can be insufficient time for strategic planning because of the tendency for construction projects to be awarded at short notice following a competitive tendering bid.
  • Several organisations may work together on a project, perhaps forming a joint venture or some other form of special purpose vehicle.
  • There tends to be a transient workforce that may be made up of different contractors and subcontractors. There is an increasing tendency for construction industry organisations to appoint sub-consultants and sub-contractors with skills suitable for particular projects, rather than making internal permanent appointments. This gives greater flexibility but can make training and long-term planning more difficult.
  • The workforce may work long hours, claim high travel expenses, have different nationalities and working cultures, and so on.
  • Staff turnover tends to be quite high on construction projects.
  • Personnel change as projects progress and different skills and experience are required.
  • There are many health and safety risks which must be managed.
  • There are a great number of legal requirements that must be satisfied.

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