Almost one third of the 783 respondents to this survey indicated their constructor has a personnel department, with 82% of the departments having fewer than five employees. In a majority of cases, the personnel director reports to the constructor's president and/or CEO.
Constructors with personnel departments were more likely to be guided by a strategy and be engaged in both formal strategic planning and formal human-resources planning. In addition, constructors with personnel departments indicated they are more likely to have a written statement on human-resources philosophy and to use a greater variety of selection, training, performance appraisal, and promotion practices.
This study found that the personnel director has a slightly less-than-moderate involvement in formulating and implementing his or her constructor's strategy. Indeed, the study found that the constructors themselves are engaged in formalized strategic planning to only slightly more than a moderate extent.
The most frequently used selection, training, performance-evaluation, and promotion practices were summarized. There is no implication that the use or nonuse of the HR practices are indicative of effective or ineffective HR practice.
This study is, to our knowledge, the first broad study of HR practices in the U.S. construction industry. It provides descriptive information about selected characteristics and practices of the HR function among U.S. constructors. The writers believe the study can be useful to constructors in two ways. First, by providing data on characteristics of the HR function, the study can help constructors appreciate the potential contribution of HR professionals to their competitiveness. Second, by identifying commonly used HR practices in four areas, the study provides constructors with a reference point for assessing their own practice in these areas.