People Strategy and Sustainability

Bryant Black

Director, Workforce Development
Greater Houston Partnership


After the first day on the job, does a new apprentice or newly hired experienced craft professional instantly become a company asset who no longer needs additional coaching or mentorship? Has the employee graduated from the need for performance evaluation to ensure the employee is assimilating, reaching full competency or proficiency, and actualizing the full scope of their talents? Of course not. The reality is, as posited by Herb Kelleher, co-founder of Southwest Airlines, “The business of business is people – yesterday, today, and forever.” The business strategy or strategic plan of companies in the commercial construction space is directly aligned with the people strategy embraced by company leaders. Confidence in the sustainability of strategic plans is not simply founded on having the best suppliers, most innovative applications, standing relationships with owners, sterling company reputations, or the best bidding processes, but also on having the right people, harvesting employee proficiency, and driving worker engagement.

Tony Dungy, Pro Football Hall of Fame former head coach of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Indianapolis Colts, asserts in his book The Mentor Leader,

“Engage, educate, equip, encourage, empower, energize, and elevate. Those are the methods for maximizing the potential of any individual, team, organization, or institution for ultimate success and significance.”

Coach Dungy expressed in an interview with the Positive Coaching Alliance that “I think as a coach, you are more than just an athletic instructor. You are there to help them grow.” Construction leaders who align themselves with C3’s mission commit to positively impacting the future of the industry by strengthening the safe, skilled, and sustainable craft workforce talent pipeline. The effectiveness of this strategy is aligned with embracing the sustainable workforce process of effective recruiting, onboarding, development, evaluation, and identifying future leaders. This process is the focus of C3’s Driving Business Results through Talent Management course.

One vein that runs throughout the sustainable workforce process is mentorship. Mentorship is a process that begins during the onboarding stage and continues, either formally or informally, until an employee exits your organization. Mentorship is a structured, often one-to-one relationship in a professional setting with an outcome of increasing engagement, advancing institutional knowledge, and building skills for future goals and milestones. When organizations set into action well thought out mentorship programs, they can “engage, educate, equip, encourage, empower, energize, and elevate” individual employees, future leaders, and the entire organization.

Just like many of you, I have seen the explosive power of effective mentorship in my professional and personal life. Sergeant Major Charles Covington offered me my first operations management role in the military and help me to embrace my ability to solve complex issues by developing exhaustive task lists. Master Sergeant Jesus Marchan helped me to speak frankly with those in positions of power and to effectively develop courses of action for executive decision-making. Sergeant Major Michael Terzian taught me to embrace failures and course correct to ensure that performance or planning gaps were filled. C3’s Executive Director, Angela Robbins-Taylor has taught me the value of casting a larger strategic vision and managing multiple lines of effort. This is not intentionally a recognition of my mentors but rather an empirical example of where mentorship can take an employee and how that development can benefit your organization. C3 is excited to offer the NCCER Mentoring for Craft Professionals course on February 8, 2022. We encourage Accredited Employers to identify experienced craft professionals to attend. These professionals will receive tools to bring back to their companies which will help drive your people strategy.

Mentoring Statistics: The Research You Need to Know

  • 67% of businesses reported an increase in productivity due to mentoring (National Mentoring Day Global, 2022)
  • 55% of businesses felt that mentoring had a positive impact on their profits (National Mentoring Day Global, 2022)
  • More than 4 in 10 workers who don’t have a mentor say they’ve considered quitting their job in the past three months (CNBC, 2019)
  • 71% of people with a mentor say their company provides them with good opportunities to advance in their career, compared with 47% of those without a mentor (CNBC, 2019)
  • 94% of employees said they would stay at a company longer if they were offered opportunities to learn and grow (2021 Workplace Learning Report)
  • Retention rates were much higher for mentees (72%) and mentors (69%) than for employees who did not participate in the mentoring program (49%) (Wharton University, 2007)
  • 79% of millennials see mentoring as crucial to their career success (Forbes, 2021)


Nick Guidry, MBA, M.Ed., SHRM-SCP
C3 People Development Team

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