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The Benefits and Challenges of Managing a Multigenerational Construction Workforce

The workforce is more generationally diverse than ever before. Construction companies hiring those workers must take that into account.



Hiring construction workers all levels and generations
Construction workers meeting


Hiring Tradesmen from Different Generations


People are staying in the workforce for longer

This trend is largely driven by several factors, including improved health and longevity, changing attitudes toward retirement, and financial pressures that make it necessary for many people to continue working beyond traditional retirement age.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the labor force participation rate for workers aged 65 and older has been steadily increasing over the past decade. In 2011, the labor force participation rate for this age group was 16.2%, but by 2020, it had risen to 20.7%. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years as the population continues to age.


Moreover, a recent report by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that nearly three-quarters of American workers now expect to work past age 65 or not retire at all. The report also found that many workers are planning to work in some capacity during retirement, such as through part-time or freelance work.


Overall, the trend of people staying in the workforce for longer is likely to have significant implications for the labor market, including increased competition for jobs, changes in workforce demographics, and shifts in retirement patterns and financial planning.


What does this mean for the construction industry from an employer’s perspective?

Managing a multigenerational workforce in construction can bring several benefits and challenges. Here are some of the key benefits and challenges to consider:


Benefits:


1. Diverse Perspectives: A multigenerational workforce can bring a variety of perspectives to the table, as each generation has unique experiences and skills to offer. This can lead to innovative solutions and new ideas.


2. Knowledge Transfer: Older workers can provide younger workers with valuable knowledge and skills that they have developed over the course of their careers. Younger workers can also bring fresh insights and technological expertise to the job.


3. Improved Employee Retention: By catering to the different needs and preferences of employees from different generations, employers can improve employee retention rates and reduce turnover.


Challenges:


1. Communication: Different generations may have different communication styles and preferences, which can lead to misunderstandings or conflicts. For example, younger workers may prefer to communicate via text or email, while older workers may prefer face-to-face or phone conversations.


2. Technology: Different generations may have different levels of comfort with technology, which can affect productivity and collaboration. Younger workers may be more tech-savvy and prefer to use the latest tools and software, while older workers may be less familiar with new technology.


3. Work Styles: Different generations may have different work styles and expectations, which can lead to conflicts. For example, younger workers may be more likely to prioritize work-life balance, while older workers may value loyalty and dedication to the company.


4. Training and Development: Employers may need to provide different types of training and development programs to cater to the different needs and preferences of employees from different generations.


Overall, managing a multigenerational workforce in construction requires a thoughtful and nuanced approach that takes into account the diverse perspectives, skills, and preferences of each generation. By doing so, employers can create a positive work environment that fosters collaboration, innovation, and productivity.


Understanding the Generations

Here are some of the common characteristics, values, and preferences of the five generations currently active in the workforce:


Traditionalists/Silent Generation (born 1928-1945):


· Loyalty and dedication to the company and job stability

· Respect for authority and hierarchy

· Formal and professional communication style

· Preference for face-to-face communication

· Strong work ethic and a sense of duty


Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964):


· Desire for work-life balance and flexible work arrangements

· Focus on career growth and advancement

· Strong work ethic and sense of responsibility

· Preference for teamwork and collaboration

· Respect for hierarchy and authority


Generation X (born 1965-1980):


· Independent and self-reliant

· Value work-life balance and autonomy

· Preference for a casual and relaxed work environment

· Desire for career growth and professional development

· Skeptical of authority and hierarchy


Millennials/Generation Y (born 1981-1996):


· Emphasis on work-life balance and flexibility

· Comfortable with technology and social media

· Desire for purpose and meaning in their work

· Preference for a collaborative and team-oriented work environment

· Desire for frequent feedback and recognition


Generation Z (born 1997-2012):


· Comfortable with technology and social media

· Preference for a diverse and inclusive workplace

· Emphasis on work-life balance and flexibility

· Desire for frequent feedback and recognition

· Entrepreneurial spirit and desire to make a positive impact


It's important to note that these characteristics, values, and preferences are generalizations, and individuals within each generation can vary widely in their attitudes and behaviors. Nonetheless, understanding these common traits can help employers create a positive and inclusive work environment that caters to the diverse needs and preferences of employees from different generations.


Strategies for Managing a Multigenerational Construction Workforce

Here are three strategies for managing a multigenerational construction workforce, along with examples of how they can be implemented:


Encourage communication and collaboration: One of the biggest challenges of managing a multigenerational workforce is ensuring that everyone is working together effectively. Encouraging communication and collaboration can help to bridge gaps between generations and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals. For example, you could organize regular team-building activities that bring different generations together, such as group lunches or after-work events. You could also set up a mentoring program that pairs older and younger workers together, so that they can share knowledge and learn from each other.


Be flexible: Different generations have different preferences when it comes to work-life balance, work hours, and work styles. Being flexible and accommodating these differences can help to keep everyone happy and engaged. For example, you could offer flexible work schedules that allow older workers to work reduced hours or younger workers to take time off for school or family commitments. You could also offer different types of work arrangements, such as telecommuting or job-sharing, to accommodate different work styles.


Recognize and reward different strengths: Each generation brings different skills and strengths to the workplace. Recognizing and rewarding these strengths can help to create a more positive and inclusive work environment. For example, you could set up an employee recognition program that acknowledges different types of contributions, such as innovative ideas, mentorship, or teamwork. You could also create opportunities for older workers to share their knowledge and experience with younger workers, such as through training sessions or presentations.


The ProHunters is able to effectively recruit and retain talent from all generations because we make a conscious effort to embrace diversity and take advantage of the unique perspectives and strengths that each generation brings to the table. In turn, our partners are able to take advantage of a larger talent pool, in addition to the strengths of each active generation in the workforce.


If you’d like to discuss how The ProHunters can help you with the challenges of recruiting and retaining tradesmen across generations, please reach out today.

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