Time for construction to make it make sense.
Here are some ways companies can successfully engage talent and prepare for the next generation while building a future-focused culture.
- Understand the current state: Every day the shortage of skilled workers in the construction industry becomes more acute. In 2013, it was projected that 40% of construction workers were over the age of 49 and 54% of construction managers were over the age of 49. By 2015, it was projected that over a million construction workers would retire by 2024. While the industry was thriving as of 2019, there was a shortage of qualified workers and there were few schools and technical-education programs. The awareness has been there for quite some time, but companies and organizations have struggled to know what to do.
- Create space for open dialogue: When we talk about diversity and inclusion, one piece that gets overlooked is cognitive diversity. That is simply the act of bringing together people with different experiences, backgrounds, and skill sets. Organizations that tend to thrive put their most experienced workers alongside people who are new to the organization. As a result, intergenerational collaboration increases, relationships thrive, and people feel like they're part of a team. Anytime collaboration and innovation increase, employee engagement increases.
- Prioritize your employees: We spend a huge proportion of our time at work so there's this mindset that, "I want to work somewhere where I enjoy my work, it's a valuable use of my time, and it's something positive in my life.”A people-first culture has become the driving, motivating factor, especially for younger generations and where they choose to work.
- Get started now: There continues to be urgency to this. I would encourage leaders of construction companies not to be overwhelmed. If you can just think of one change you could make in your organization to foster teamwork, put people first, and be more mindful of the future, it would make a tremendous difference. We've got to turn the tide, and there's no better time to start than right now.