Turnover rates in construction are high and must be slowed to meet the needs of an expanding and evolving industry. Therefore, it is critical to understand what makes construction professionals continue their employment in a company and persist in the field. This exploratory study examined the work values that influenced construction professionals’ decisions to seek employment at a company (i.e., values influencing recruitment) with the work values they perceived as lacking within the company (i.e., values influencing retention). Qualitative analysis of open-ended survey responses from 314 construction professionals identified three salient work values for improving recruitment: (1) development, (2) autonomy, and (3) belonging; and three values for retention: (4) advancement, (5) inclusivity, and (6) flexibility. Two actions that companies can exercise to support these values were also identified: (1) communicating and demonstrating a commitment to building people as they build work such as promoting modus operandi, trust and practice, and personification, and (2) building an employee-centered structure for communication, empowerment, and acknowledgment that is not stifling to employees. These findings point to a larger implication for construction companies’ recruitment and retention efforts to build employees as active agents in navigating their career paths at a company.
Keywords: Employee Values, Employee Agency, Recruitment/Retention, Construction, Human Resource Management