In a survey by the Associated General Contractors of America, employers reported adding 23,000 construction jobs in September 2016, the highest level since the end of 2008. Beyond wages, what types of incentives are drawing skilled operators to construction companies? These four machine comfort and productivity features may give you an edge when it comes to operator recruitment and retention.
1. Increased visibility to the worksite
Manufacturers have made numerous adjustments to improve overall visibility. Improvements to excavators include front windows that allow a better view overhead, to attachments and to the ground. Rear and side cameras give operators line of sight to other equipment and workers even in tight quarters. Even truck design has been upgraded with camera technologies, sloped hoods and additional mirrors for better side views.
Operators who aren’t constantly bending and straining to see experience less fatigue and stress, with greater efficiency and productivity as a result. When they can continuously upgrade their performance and feel good about their work, they’re more likely to stay in your employ.
2. User-friendly dashboards
Onboard screens and dashboards can be as big a draw in equipment as they are in cars and trucks. Advances in display technologies give operators the ability to review and adjust settings and reduce machine failures. Some manufacturers offer a split-screen mode that can display machine information and the rearview camera simultaneously. When you’re looking to buy, lease or rent equipment, working operator features into your equipment specs can be a good way to reward and keep good workers.
3. Upgraded cab comfort
Because operators often work 10+ hours a day, machine comfort is truly king—so much so that some companies promote comfortable cabs in their operator recruiting and employment communications. Enclosed, pressurized cabs that keep out unwanted dust and debris and reduce noise are becoming the standard. Advanced climate control—once considered a luxury—is now par for the course. And air suspension seats that adjust to operator preferences add to productive operation and physical comfort.
4. Smooth, low-effort controls
Joystick controls have been used in heavy equipment for some time, with responsiveness and functionality steadily improving. One-switch controls have been upgraded to multiple buttons controlled by either a finger or thumb, like video controllers. As young operators enter the construction workforce, fleets with this type of equipment can be a strong selling feature for your company. Similarly, investing in these types of features can be one way to keep the most skilled operators on your team.
Talk to your equipment dealer about incorporating operator features that will deliver more value to your operation—and help you recruit and retain skilled operators.