This year’s conference was preceded by a pre-conference Strategic Management Workshop for construction HR and training professionals. During the workshop’s opening session, HR, T&D and the CEO, presenter Jathan Janove of Ogletree Deakins was entertaining and engaging as he demonstrated techniques for addressing the critical needs of the CEO when it comes to HR and training matters. In other sessions, Construction industry HR professionals Catherine Hambley of Granite Construction and Suzi Benoit of Wright Ryan Construction shared their company’s experience with developing a high performance culture and aligning performance evaluations with company strategy.
The official opening day of the Conference started off with Melissa King and Cari Williams, training professionals with DPR Construction, sharing best practices for Infusing People Skills into a Traditionally Technical Environment. Both presenters discussed DPR’s philosophy that “who we build is as important as what we build.” The speakers also addressed their internal process for conducting regular employee satisfaction surveys, and how they use the results to help guide the direction of DPR’s professional development program each year. Additional sessions throughout the day covered such tops as Developing Practical Market-based Pay Programs, Managing Absences for Employees with Long-term Illnesses, Building and Sustaining Long-term Project Teams, and Best Practices for Encouraging Employee Participation in the Company’s Contributory Retirement Plan.
Compliance was also a big focus at the conference, particularly concerning the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as new affirmative action requirements imposed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The OFCCP rules deal with the recruitment and promotion of veterans and individuals with disabilities. To help companies comply with the requirements of the ACA, AGC offered a session that relates specifically to the ACA issues faced by construction employers – multiemployer plans, seasonal workers and the Act’s effect on the execution of the Davis-Bacon Act. The presenters were Adam Bonsky of the Fringe Benefits Group and Mary Komornicka of Larkin and Hoffman. To assist with compliance with the new OFCCP regulations, attendees filled three related sessions. In one session, L. Steven Platt, attorney with Clark Hill, highlighted the requirements of the new veteran and disability regulations. Mr. Platt later joined economists Dubravka Tosic and Bo Shippen, both with ERS Group, to explain OFCCP’s new outlook on compensation analysis. During the session, the three speakers shared examples and best practices for administering and evaluating compensation programs that are nondiscriminatory. In addition, Mike Meagan, recruiter and diversity manager for Penhall Construction, shared techniques used by his company to successfully recruit veterans.
There were several engaging and interactive sessions at the conference as well. For example, HR consultant Nora Akins provided a hands-on demonstration of “The Supervisor Game.” While playing the game, attendees learned fun techniques for training supervisors to be an extension of the HR department. Attendees were out of their seats and role-playing during the session on Using Improvisation to Make Learning Stick lead by training consultant and former construction industry worker Brent Darnell. During the closing session, FMI consultant Randy Nemchin unveiled FMI’s long awaited Talent Development Survey 2013. The report is based on responses nationwide from a mix of general contractors and construction managers at firms of all sizes and specialties.
Planning for the 2014 conference is underway, so stay tuned for details.