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Stuck in a room with your competition

Close your eyes... oh wait, you need them to read, scratch that... OK, imagine you are in a room... with all your competitors. The 60 companies that you compete with every day for work and for talent. You know that XYZ Construction off to the left just won the last bid that you really needed, and that ABC Contractors near the wall has been poaching your people for the last six months. What would that feel like? Would you even talk to any of them? Would you stay on guard? Would you try to leave the room?

Last week I spent two days in that room with 110 construction talent acquisition leaders (yup, the ones poaching your people) representing 60+ companies at the LEAP TA Construction conference. New attendees to the event shared similar fears; they were worried everyone would be cut-throat, out to steal the best ideas and take them back to their organization. That once the event was over, the race was on.

Turns out, that wasn't the case at all!

These leaders came prepared to share their best practices, discuss challenges, and build a stronger network. It was a relief, and the results were amazing.

Construction in a unique industry. We know, we live it every day. Not only do people in other industries like healthcare or tech just not understand the day-to-day work of staffing up craft for a shutdown or keeping travelling superintendents engaged, but being in HR or Talent Acquisition can be isolating. Folks in these roles often feel like they are on an island with no one to talk to nor share their worries. (I know this feeling very well; I lived it for much of my career.) This conference (as well as the LEAP HR Construction conference, coming up in December!) creates a place for these professionals to come together, to remind themselves - and each other! - that they are not alone.

Having the honor to not only attend, but to be the chair at this event, provided me with a unique vantage point (no, I don't mean being on stage), perspective, and opportunity. As attendees filled the seats on the first morning, I saw some familiar faces, as well as some hesitation. Through a fun game of get to know you bingo we broke the ice talking about fun socks, unusual pets, and who had the ability to do a cartwheel.

As someone who has attended a few LEAP events, I was also able to set the stage early on: this event was different from others. Not only were we going to build a network, but the expectation was to learn from and share with each other. No organization has it all figured out, but we all want to make the construction industry just a little bit better, not just for the folks currently working, but for the next generations to come. As a third-generation construction professional, this is near and dear to my heart. But it also near and dear to many folks in this industry, especially those at this conference, for which I am grateful!

So imagine you are back in that room with your competitors... the hum of the voices in the room fills the space and, while you can't hear all of the conversations, you catch snippits...

"We don't have it all figured out yet, but here is what we are doing..."

"Does anyone have a recruiter capacity modeling tool that works for them?"

"I faced that same problem! Here's what we tried..."

"What has been your experience building buy-in from leaders that don't come from the construction industry?"

So... now how are you feeling? Ready to go sit down at the nearest table to learn from others and share your lessons learned?


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