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Why Train Managers? The Benefits of Construction Supervisor Training
Jul 26, 2021 - AEU LEAD

Good construction supervisors help you make the most of your workforce. With the right mix of people skills and technical know-how, front-line leaders create cultures of productivity, safety, and success. On the other hand, a poor foreman can prove costly: More than 50% of workers polled by Robert Half International have left their jobs because of poor management, with younger workers making the switch far more often than their older peers.

So, why train managers? Because the benefits of leadership development training—in productivity, engagement, and other vital areas—greatly outweigh the cost. Here's how construction supervisor training can make a difference:


A trained construction supervisor can create a more engaged and productive workforce

Research from Gallup, a leading data analytics firm, has found that only three in ten employees feel engaged by their work—and that management quality is largely to blame. Worse still, their surveys find that safety incidents, errors, and turnover all significantly increase as motivation falls.

Leadership development training equips construction supervisors with the skills needed to create a culture of engagement. A well-trained manager can build rapport with direct reports and serve as a role model—someone who employees trust to communicate clearly, show genuine understanding, and help their careers flourish. 

With training, leaders can better understand what their followers care about and provide feedback (both positive and critical) that speaks to those motives. When they combine that support with clear expectations, managers can measure success, identify areas of improvement, and encourage long-term growth.


Construction supervisor training creates a firm foundation for cultures of safety

Knowing about safety—in company policies, the law, and industry practice—is one thing. Implementing it is another.

Safety is a shared responsibility. Construction supervisors act as the nexus between policies and day-to-day behavior: They can see what's happening on the job site and issue corrections as needed.

But discipline isn't enough. To build durable cultures of safety, leaders need to provide a living example of how to work safely. And by coupling that example with the right approach to communication—one that emphasizes collaboration, improvement, and a focus on the future—employees are more likely to take lessons to heart.


Better management and reduced turnover go hand-in-hand

Turnover rises and falls with managerial quality. Research published in Public Management Review shows that middle management has a significant impact on how often employees leave their jobs. The potential savings are sizable: A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) estimates that significant improvements in "people management" reduce turnover (and with it, new hiring costs) enough to lower total labor expenses by 5%.

The NBER's research shows that workers are more likely to stay when managers:

  • Communicate clear expectations
  • Help direct reports improve
  • Support career development
  • Engage in collaborative decision-making
  • Boost morale
  • Project a sense of trustworthiness

The bottom line is this: Front-line leaders who coach, communicate, and express genuine care make workers more likely to stay. Construction supervisors with good people skills can help you retain talented employees—and positively impact company finances.


Better communication is one of the leading benefits of leadership development training

As we've suggested so far, "people skills" can strengthen cultures of safety, increase engagement, and reduce turnover. Improved communication skills—because they impact morale, trust, and the willingness to collaborate—may be the single most significant benefit of leadership development training.

Why train managers in communication? Here are three key reasons:

  • Clear communication keeps teams on the same page. Plain, to-the-point language can minimize miscommunication. Timelines and tasks should be specific, and instructions assertively delivered. And by pairing careful speech with good listening skills, construction supervisors can recognize when workers aren't getting the message—and adjust accordingly.
  • Buy-in on day-to-day tasks increases. Trained supervisors know when to situate their directions in context: Why do this task? Why do it this particular way? Providing glimpses of the bigger picture can build trust, deepen understanding, and give individuals a chance to bring their knowledge to the table.
  • Relationships become more resilient. Healthy, strong relationships between supervisors and employees matter. But sooner or later, those who stay with your organization over the long haul will find those relationships tested by issues outside of work. Talking with employees about difficult life events—like grief, poor health, and personal struggles—shows compassion and reveals opportunities to lend aid.


A trained construction supervisor can facilitate bottom-up and top-down change

Change is often difficult. Making it stick requires buy-in at every level—or else half-hearted participation, backsliding, and turnover may follow.

Major overhauls get easier with construction managers who help front-line workers understand the need to change. A well-trained supervisor acts as a leader: someone who can articulate your company's vision and model the behaviors necessary for success. And with individual coaching, clear communication, and well-defined milestones, your leaders can help workers learn the skills they need to thrive as your organization evolves.

What's more, good leaders also facilitate change from the ground up. Front-line workers are often in the best position to identify small changes with real impacts on productivity and safety. Supervisors trained in participative management styles encourage workers to share those observations—and help you build a better business.


Training provides construction firms with a competitive edge

So, why train managers? One of the most important benefits of leadership development training is that supervisors get better at building relationships. As those relationships grow more robust, it becomes easier to create a safer, more productive workplace. Training helps you retain—and make the most of—your talent pool.

AEU LEAD strengthens organizations and empowers managers with leadership and safety training tailored to your business. Explore our services or talk with our team to learn more.



The opinions and comments expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the opinion of ALMA, The American Equity Underwriters, Inc., AEU LEAD or Amwins. None of the aforementioned parties or the authors are responsible for any inaccuracy of content or for any loss or damages incurred by any party as a result of reliance on information contained in this article. Content may not be published or reproduced without the written consent of the authors. Prior articles may not be updated for accuracy as pertinent information changes over time. The AEU LEAD blog is intended to provide general information and should not be construed as legal advice.
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