Millennials: Changing Construction as We Know It
There’s a construction worker shortage, but I don’t need to tell you that. Construction companies are facing a labor shortage and an aging workforce faster than any other industry in the country. As a result, the industry is desperate for new talent. As Baby Boomers continue to retire, many vacancies in your workforce will be filled by the next generation: Millennial workers. According to a survey by the Associated General Contractors of America, 79% of companies are having trouble filling positions for hourly workers.
There’s no doubt that recruiting the Millennial generation can bring hardworking, enthusiastic employees who are eager for new opportunities to your company, but recruiting and retaining these workers is different than it was for prior generations. Holding on to Millennial talent can be a challenge for many organizations, and turnover-related expenses can be costly.
What Millennials Want
According to the Gallup Study, “The State of the American Workplace,” Millennials are very likely to say they’ll leave their jobs in the next 12 months if the job market improves. So, how does an employer engage and retain its Millennial workers? A 2012 study, “Maximizing Millennials in the Workplace” conducted by the University of North Carolina Kennan-Flagler Business School, offers four suggestions. The study found that Millennials want their employer to have the following traits:
- Coaching. Millennials were raised with constant coaching and feedback and expect it to continue in the workplace.
- Collaboration. Employers should be clear about the big picture so employees understand their roles.
- Measures. Millennials were raised with a lot of structure and evaluation rubrics and are accustomed to understanding how they’ll be judged and assessed. They expect these metrics to continue in the workplace, so employers should define clear and consistent job assessment criteria.
- Motivation. Millennials want a work environment that’s comfortable and inspires them to contribute without fear of being criticized.
Recruiting and Retaining Millennial Workers
Recruiting and retaining workers from this generation is drastically different than the traditional techniques construction companies are used to. Here are some suggestions for effectively recruiting and retaining Millennial workers:
- Have existing Millennial employees assist in your recruiting efforts.
- Recruit employees online using LinkedIn, job boards, career building sites and industry-specific forums. Many Millennial workers look to these sites before thinking of applying to companies in a more traditional way.
- Avoid paper applications that are tedious and take a lot of time to fill out. Allow potential employees to apply virtually through your company website or through a career site.
- Connect your employees with the issues that are important to them. Millennial workers want to find substance in their lives, which includes their careers. To motivate them, offer on-staff career coaching so employees can move around within the company and hold different positions. This will produce loyal employees who want to stick with your company for the long haul.
Whatever the look and feel of your construction company, recruiting and retaining the future of your workforce is key in not only remaining productive, but also minimizing your risk.
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