Housing and the High Cost of High Turnover
by Troy Schrenk
The shortage of skilled workers in the energy and construction sectors is a common topic. It makes sense to offer quality lodging to attract the valuable skilled workers needed for today’s critical projects on remote sites. Recruitment, however, is only half the battle. Keeping these valuable employees is critical—maybe even more critical than recruiting them in the first place. For the rotational workforce, housing is at the core of retention issues.
The Growing Knowledge Gap
Our white paper, Workforce Housing as a Recruitment and Retention Strategy:
The Other 12 Hours, by Graham Chandler, Ph.D., lays out the challenges. The U.S. government forecasts that the mining industry will grow by approximately 50,000 workers by 2019—but will need 78,000 replacement workers due to retirement. As more skilled workers retire and fewer step up to take their place, companies need to address the knowledge gap. In an international survey of 10,000 mining respondents, 35% of respondents from North American saw skills shortages as a major concern.
Now more than ever, companies must quickly bring new employees up to speed; this means spending substantial time, money, and effort training employees and moving them up the ladder of responsibility. As the Engineering and Mining Journal notes, “Many workers we see from day to day are being forced to step up in their careers at a much faster pace.”
Housing’s Role in Retention
Each skilled employee represents a valuable investment. Every time one quits and leaves for home, or takes their skills to a competitor, it means that investment in time and money is lost. As Graham Chandler notes, “An entire company shares the burden of having to bring in and train new people and fill the holes every time someone leaves dissatisfied.”
Better pay and better benefits are part of the equation, but superior lodging (or the lack of it) can be the so-called straw hat broke the camel’s back. To put it bluntly, in a remote location with harsh weather, far away from family, quality of life matters. The promise of better food and more comfortable quarters can inspire many rotational workers to jump ship for a competitor. This lost investment in skills and training is bad news; a lost investment that ends up benefitting the competition is even worse.
Reducing Turnover by Reducing Substance Abuse
It’s not a secret that workers in remote locations can be vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse. Graham Chandler’s other white paper, Reducing Alcohol and Substance Abuse: A Benefit of Workforce Housing in Oil, Gas, Mining and Construction Industries, explores the issue in depth. He notes, “…transient workers often exhibit high susceptibility to alcohol and substance abuse due to loneliness, social distancing and lack of social support where inadequate local accommodations are used.” Rotational workers who make do with motels or rented rooms are especially more susceptible to alcohol and substance abuse.
The results? Higher rates of on-the-job accidents and employee turnover. Higher costs from legal issues, health care, and recruiting and training replacement workers. Higher risk to projects and timetables.
Quality Lodging = Higher Retention
Target Lodging focuses on housing solutions that attract and keep the best workers. Our lodges boast unparalleled amenities and comforts.
- 24-hour dining rooms offer healthy, hearty, delicious meals.
- We offer a wide variety of accommodations including private rooms with a recliner, flat screen TV, and dedicated bath.
- Beds are made up with high-thread count sheets, comforters, and hotel-quality mattresses.
- Recreation opportunities include fitness centers, game rooms, and even pools.
- Complimentary lodge-wide Wi-Fi help guests stay in touch.
- Most importantly, we provide a positive, safe atmosphere with zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol.
By providing a high quality of life in “the other 12 hours,” we support companies and their investment in the training, health, and safety of their highly skilled workers. Target Lodging understands that keeping employees happy and healthy in their jobs means they’ll stay for the long haul. An investment in lodging means an investment in worker retention.