Financially Responsible Marketing

The Future of Construction Post COVID-19

Posted by on Jun 18, 2020

The Future of Construction Post COVID-19

Last month, The Empire Club of Canada hosted a live webcast discussion about the changes in the construction industry as a result of  COVID-19. While every business and sector has been touched by the pandemic in some way, construction was hit especially hard in Ontario because it was deemed an essential service. Safety measures had to be put into place immediately and tradespeople had to decide whether they felt safe enough to return to work.

The experts included were:
Gianni Aggozino, President and Partner, Network Mechanical Inc.; President, Metropolitan Plumbing and Heating Contractors Association (MPHCA)
Patrick J. Dillon Business Manager and Secretary Treasurer of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario
Joe Vaccaro, Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA).

Ana Bailão, Deputy Mayor of Toronto acted as Moderator.

The webcast provided important insights into the issues facing the construction industry both before Ontario’s state of emergency and going forward. Here are the main concerns the experts discussed.

Time off would have reduced workforce losses
All the experts agreed that instead of being declared an essential service and trying to continue work while working through safety measures, even a two-week break would have given workers the opportunity to see that their job sites would be safe. It would have reduced the number of people who walked off job sites in fear for their health and the health of their families.

“The construction industry doesn’t get much credit as essential workers,” said Patrick Dillon. “I thank them for their efforts through the pandemic.”

Takeaway: Two way communication with your workforce is essential, particularly during a crisis. Even if a break in work isn’t possible, active listening and ongoing communication about what measures are being put in place can help maintain workforce confidence.

Safety measures have improved
Some safety measures that should have been in place prior to COVID-19 are now finally being put into place and enforced. Water, sanitizing stations and washrooms have always been part of the health and safety act, said Dillon, but the industry wasn’t as attentive as it should have been.

Takeaway: Every situation has a silver lining. Doing the right thing may cost more upfront but will increase success in the long term. If a company has always had proper safety procedures, not only are their employees happier but they will be ahead of the pack when those changes are enforced.

Productivity is down but the playing field is level
“Safety is personal,” said Joe Vaccaro. He explained that as people got used to the new safety measures and did what they felt was needed to stay safe, productivity on job sites decreased. He said that productivity needs to decrease to keep everyone safe. On the other hand, with everyone following strict safety measures, contractors can’t undercut their pricing to win jobs by ignoring safety.

Takeaway: With the same safety measures in place across the board, independent contractors will have to elevate their marketing to communicate the value of their work, especially if prices have to rise. Your marketing budget doesn’t have to cut into your profits. Do it well and it will make you money.

Effort to attract women to construction is increasing
With other sectors struggling, there is hope to recareer women from other sectors into construction. But changes need to be made to attract women, including changing benefits packages.

Takeaway: Defining buyer personas isn’t just important for customers. Want to attract more women to the trades? Figure out who your ideal employee is and focus your content strategy on the benefits to females. Make changes that will appeal to their needs.

Innovation and technology will lead the way
Changes need to be made to maintain safe sites while improving productivity. And while improvements in technology may help the industry, Gianni Aggozino said “nothing is going to replace the two hands of a good tradesman.”

Takeaway: Adopting innovation isn’t always about keeping up with the latest technology trends, it can increase productivity, and diversity of thought while improving the lives of your workforce and customers.

Looking to elevate your business and unlock revenue opportunities? I’d love to chat about a Financially Responsible MarketingTM program that will help you stand out.