SECTOR SPOTLIGHT: CONSTRUCTION CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE, TRANSFORM YOUR BUSINESS - TBT Worldwide

Introduction to the Industry

Now is a pretty poor time to be a construction company. The year started optimistically with Channel NewsAsia reporting BCA (Building and Construction Authority) projecting “construction demand to grow in 2017”. By July, Singapore Business Review reported MTI’s (Ministry of Trade and Industry) gloomy statistics: the sector had further shrunk by 5.6% in Q2 2017, extending a decline of 6.1% in Q1 2017. With more than 8,000 companies in the S$26 billion industry (2016 figures), if you did not have at least S$3 million in revenue, someone else is doing better than you.

What’s Wrong with the Industry

If you are a construction company and you are wallowing in misery, we hear you. Everything is wrong with the industry, from asphyxiating regulations to vulturous competitors, manpower challenges to volatile demand, rising costs to poor paymasters. Regardless of workhead and company size, most of the time you are at the receiving end of the political and economic upheavals and adjustments, and you have no say whatsoever. As a small player in a cutthroat industry, what can you do?

The Carrot, the Egg and the Coffee Bean

There is a famous story about a young woman distraught with her life seeking advice from her mother, who put a carrot, and egg and some coffee beans into a pot of hot water each. She likened hot water to adversity: the tough carrot softened like a headstrong upstart who crashed into a brick wall and broke his spirit; the fragile egg hardened like a soft damsel who went from riches to rags and stiffened her heart; only the coffee beans changed itself and thus its environment, making fragrant coffee. The question is, who are you in the face of adversity?

What’s Wrong with You

We live in a time of rapid change. You cannot change change, and the industry is not going to change for you because you are having a tough time with policies, recruitment, technology and competition. The only thing you can change is your own company: be the change you wish to see in the world. To survive in this unpredictable and uncertain market sector, you have to understand the external changes in the industry, and embrace internal changes inside your company in answer to the external changes. Lamenting and resisting change is the wrong attitude that will make the gloom gloomier, but can we convince you to change your attitude?

How Employer Branding Can Help

Foreign worker levy for the construction sector has increased as planned in July 2017. The point is not to give tasks that has been hitherto performed by foreign workers to local workers, but to encourage the adoption of new technologies and deployment of innovative equipment. The next logical step is to redesign jobs to reflect a suitable job nature that appeals to local workers, ideally resulting in productivity and work quality improvements. This is where employer branding is crucial – how do you create and communicate the message that your company’s vacancies are desirable to local workers amidst the entrenched stigma associated with being a construction company’s staff?

How Internal Branding Can Help

While employer branding is intended to attract potential hires, there is an even more important aspect of branding that your company would need to do well: internal branding. Internal branding creates a strong company culture, especially important for manpower-intensive construction companies, to align your staff to the vision and purpose of the company. This will improve staff retention and tenure longevity, allowing your company to be more productive and deliver better quality of work. Compare the case of a company that was fined for safety lapses due to the prevalence of negligence in its work culture to the case of a company who retained employees from three generations of the same family because their employer is a stalwart advocate of staff welfare. Which company would employees and clients prefer to work with?

How The Brand Theatre Can Help

Changing stigmas and creating cultures are massive undertakings in their own right, and you may be too occupied to properly strategize and execute them to best effect. The verdict is clear though: companies thrive because of positive regard for the industry and loyal employees who are proud of their career. The Brand Theatre has had 20 years of experience consulting for MNCs, SMEs and government institutions, helping 1000 brands transform themselves in the face of change. Are you ready to change your attitude and transform your company?

References

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Building and Construction Authority, Singapore, 2017. Building and Construction Authority, Singapore. [Online]
Available at: https://www.bca.gov.sg/keyconstructioninfo/others/free_stats.pdf
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Lim, P. J., 2017. Construction demand projected to grow in 2017: BCA. [Online]
Available at: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/construction-demand-projected-to-grow-in-2017-bca-7533372
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Talavera, K., 2012. Huffington Post. [Online]
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