The Construction industry is at risk from a wide range of potential worker misconduct due to its structure. These challenges, while not unique to construction, can damage productivity, reputation and workplace culture if not managed appropriately.
The successful management of these risks depends on the following factors;
Policy and Process – Organisations should have in place a comprehensive and clear set of policies covering expected standards of behaviour, the investigative process, anticipated outcomes and how and why someone should make a report. Whether present in standalone policies or amalgamated into a Code of Conduct your policies should cover;
- Attendance and Timekeeping
- Confidential Reporting / Whistleblowing
- General Conduct
- Gifts and Hospitality
- Equal Opportunities
- Health and Safety
- Modern Slavery
- Substance Abuse
These policies must also be clearly communicated and enforced in order to be effective.
Your workforce should be in no doubt of the behaviour expected of them and the policies and processes that are in place to protect them and their colleagues from harm and to promote a productive work environment. This is particularly relevant with a transient workforce as the workplace culture can be weaker. Communicating your policies can be harder with a less stable workforce, so you may need to get creative.
Conduct training should be part of your induction process and should be refreshed periodically, particularly following any substantial changes to your policies or processes.
Organisational leaders, at all levels, play an important role in setting and maintaining standards. The tone from the top must be appropriate and the organisations leadership should lead by example and not just pay lip service to your policies. The behaviour of leaders trickles down through an organisation and can have a positive, or negative impact. Create a culture where everyone has ownership and responsibility for doing the right thing.
It is important to enable your workforce to raise concerns. This is the most common and effective means of detecting misconduct which can then be resolved. Without these tools in place misconduct will go undiscovered and unresolved, damaging morale and acting as a drag on performance. The EU has recently established a minimum set of protections for workers who raise workplace concerns which is currently being implemented in all 27 member states.
Organisations which face up to these challenges and manage their risks appropriately will be rewarded with positive cultures and superior performance in the long term.