Construction Safety Week 2022: Safety-Centered Workplaces and Jobs Skills Training Boost Career and Industry Growth

by Katherine Pappas

Phoenix is one of the fastest growing metropolitan cities in the country. The pro-business and pro-innovation climate provide businesses the infrastructure needed to support their operations and growth. In the last decade, Phoenix has become home to a vast number of exciting industries, including manufacturing, bioscience, wearable technology, semiconductors, cybersecurity, financial services, autonomous vehicles, blockchain and more. This development is supported by organizations like the Partnership for Economic Innovation, a passionate collective of business and community leaders dedicated to accelerating Arizona’s economic opportunities, and its initiatives such as Pipeline AZ, an Arizona career exploration and jobs skills platform that is connecting job seekers directly with employers in these high-demand industries.

All the growth that we’ve seen is naturally tied to construction, both residential and commercial, to house the companies and workers that are coming and growing here. Naturally, construction companies are eagerly recruiting talent to fill the new jobs created by our state’s economic growth. In fact, according to EMSI job market data, there were recently more than 23,967 unique construction job postings in the Phoenix area. Pipeline AZ serves as a resource to help job seekers and students find these opportunities at the hundreds of construction companies posting their listings on the Pipeline AZ platform.

Construction Safety Week 2022 runs May 2 through May 6, a time when the industry comes together to share safety knowledge and best practices to keep workers and construction sites safer, stronger and better equipped. Building a culture of safety and bringing more attention to mental health awareness directly supports hiring, recruitment and retention efforts. And when our community’s construction sites are safe and workers can flourish mentally and physically, that’s when they can help build the infrastructures that will house Arizona’s growing industries and talented workforce.

In the spirit of Construction Safety Week, here are Pipeline AZ’s tips that will help foster a safety-minded work culture to put construction companies in the best position to recruit and retain a healthy workforce.

Build a Culture Centered on Safety

A culture that is centered on safety will permeate every aspect of your company, from the boardroom to the construction site. A safety-focused and positive working environment is one where employees feel connected and supported to each other and the communities they serve. It is important employees understand their value and the expectations of their job and role are clearly and frequently communicated to them. Connection, support and clarity foster honest dialogues, which creates a safer and more productive work environment. When safety and well-being are prioritized, workers are more likely to point out when they see something wrong and more likely to look out for the good of the team. Ongoing training programs are a good way to enforce this. However, company-wide events, community service outings, fundraisers and other non-job-related activities are other good ways to get everyone involved and thinking about the collective good.

Invest in Your Human Resources and Human Services Department

Investing in your HR team and giving them the resources they need to recruit and cultivate top talent, while also instilling a safety-minded approach to every aspect of their job, is a vital step for creating a culture of safety. Get everyone on the same page with internal training programs that spell out your company’s safety goals, strategies and tactics. Understanding individual employee’s career goals and aligning their career path to your company’s mission will help emphasize the importance of safety as they advance through the ranks. Accelerating employee development and promoting from within reduces turnover, so institutional knowledge isn’t lost and values remain strong. Investing in employee benefits will also help retain talent while also ensuring your employees are taken care of. Well-being and wellness programs along with employee assistance programs that get employees thinking about and addressing their physical and mental health concerns help reduce onsite accidents and turnover rates.

Incorporate Safety into the Promotions and Hiring Process

Construction companies invest heavily in training new employees on all processes and procedures, particularly safety. Don’t let those efforts go to waste; prioritize safety in the promotions process. If you have employees who have demonstrated excellence where it comes to safety, trust them with greater responsibility to also set an example about the importance of safety across the company.

For hiring new employees, quality candidates are out there who may not have specific industry experience but may have the right mindset where it comes to safety. Easily identify these candidates by ensuring that your company is nurturing the talent pipeline by offering work-related experiences, apprenticeships and internships. This is a key way to get future employees thinking about safety on the job before they even begin their careers. Pipeline AZ has many resources and tools for employers to connect them to local training and certification programs, including in the construction trade.

As Arizona’s economy continues to be vibrant and grow, it’s important all employers emphasize safety. On a construction site, this is critical as its workers are ones building the physical infrastructure needed to develop Arizona’s future economy.

As director of Workforce Strategy for the Partnership for Economic Innovation (PEI) and Pipeline AZ, Katherine Pappas focuses on the strategic partnerships and education initiatives of Pipeline AZ, PEI’s statewide workforce platform. Pappas brings her experience in workforce solutions, talent development and higher education to her local focus on building workforce strategies and optimizing talent pipelines to grow talent in Arizona.

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