Written By: Rachel Dempsey
MCL Construction keeps growing -- up from 75 employees to nearly 175 employees in roughly four years with over 50 employees having been hired in 2019 alone! Director of Human Resources, Mark Berner, knows this to be true because he was one of the newly hired employees that came aboard four-and-a-half years ago. When he first joined MCL, his role was somewhat undefined, spreading himself between accounting and operations duties.
“My first year, I evaluated processes in the Accounting department and also worked with Safety and the MCL Shop. The company then began growing so fast that we needed help finding people, so I was tasked with starting a recruiting process for MCL which has now grown into what the Human Resources (HR) department is today, including recruiting, governmental compliance, benefits, employee relations, onboarding, and more,” said Mark.
Mark wasn’t too out of place when MCL moved him to more of an HR role. A few years earlier he had worked at G4S Secure Integration, a Kiewit spin-off, in primarily accounting and financial management roles, and was asked to review and improve the company’s benefits contracts. This soon morphed into more and more HR-type work for Mark.
With his shift to HR, Mark quickly discovered that there is a lot of money allocated to HR, stating, “If you think about it, what are two of the largest expenses in any company? It’s people and benefits, so it makes sense to put some real focus there.”
For Mark, there are many duties for him in HR but, in short, it comes down to these primary focuses: recruit employees, develop employees, and retain employees. With recruiting of carpenters and laborers, HR works closely with MCL’s Manpower Coordinator, Scot Stangl, while the non-craft positions are done mostly by Mark and MCL’s HR Administrator, Grace Wiers.
The hiring process includes a system that helps find workers in this competitive market. One facet of this is MCL’s use of the Predictive Index. The Predictive Index is a behavioral assessment given to potential, or even current, employees to help determine if they are going to be the right fit for the job.
“The Predictive Index is mostly used for hiring employees but, down the road, we hope to use it more in determining if a certain person is in the right position, or to analyze and create project teams to assist in avoiding conflict later on,” explained Mark.
As for recruiting new employees, Mark has put together a few selling points to help pique people’s interest in the company.
“We have several excellent selling points for MCL, one of them being that we are very competitive in this area. We are a great-sized company but we aren’t a huge company, and yet we compete every day with the regional and national players and are successfully doing that,” Mark noted. He added, “We can take on a $150 million job just as easily as we can a $10,000 job, so we aren’t limited.”
Mark also mentioned other selling points, such as MCL’s technological advancements in Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) and Building Information Modeling (BIM), as well as an increasing focus on MCL training programs.
“We are investing in training and development of our employees with the hire of Tanna White, MCL’s Director of Training and Development. With the focus on training space in the new building, I think people and employees truly understand that we are focusing more and more on training,” commented Mark.
Also, Mark has been involved with this summer’s interns and improving the internship program. MCL’s internship program was somewhat informal so this summer the team of HR and Operations focused on creating a more formal program.
“We formed a much more thorough program with a specific curriculum as well as regular social interaction. This year we had interns acting in several roles including Field Engineer, Project Engineer, VDC, and Marketing/Writing. Near the end of their internships, each intern did a presentation and, lastly, an evaluation of the program so we can see what worked best and what needs to be improved,” advised Mark.
All in all, Mark has been able to be part of the amazing growth for the company in this competitive market. He is pleased with where MCL is going and looks forward to continuing and improving the programs that he and the rest of the HR team have put in place.
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