Managing millennials in your construction company

It’s no secret that labor shortages have been an on and off struggle for the construction industry. And companies are having to shift their focus to the culture, work life quality and engagement to attract and retain good employees. But as companies ignore the facts and continue to spend the big bucks on training programs focused on sharpening employees’ skills and competencies, they need to realize that if the training isn’t being offered as part of a well-designed career development program, then it will not be received as well as you would want.

With millennials making up a large part of the workforce nowadays, construction companies are facing an even greater challenge of attracting and retaining a dynamic, young and new workforce. Young people are looking to add value, make an impact and find meaning in what they do. They also want to learn, improve and advance quickly through an organization so from the very start, they would like to be aware of any career advancement opportunities that might be available to them in the future.

In this industry, employee turnover is already notoriously high (and cyclical) due to economic fluctuations and local market conditions … and add on the idea that millennials are ready to switch jobs as soon as another opportunity presents itself and companies are facing a serious issue currently. But in reality, construction companies can’t control the market. And millennials aren’t going to switch jobs as soon as they find a better opportunity … especially if your company focuses on building a community and culture that engages employees long-term and across all generations. These younger workers come from an extremely connected generation that values things like collaboration, teamwork and even social opportunities so a good company culture is crucial. But it’s important to know that it’s not enough to just buy fancy equipment or treat your employees to a happy hour after a job is done. Sure, those things are great but the work environment as a whole must embody a culture that encourages millennials to tap into their connectedness, share new ideas and offer solutions to client problems.

Now you might be thinking that these changes sound like too much work in order to attract and retain a few younger workers for your company but having new, young people focused on a common purpose for your company will help engage workers of all ages. Taking the time to develop and engage your workers (in addition to managing their performance) will do wonders for your company as a whole, but especially for millennials who want to do more than just punch a clock and take home a paycheck. Millennials are looking to add value, make an impact and find meaning in what they are doing.

Here are a few more things that will help you work cooperatively and successfully with millennials:

Set up mentorships – Millennials can learn a lot from older, more experienced employees like knowledge on processes, techniques and tips for succeeding in that specific organization, and millennials have mastered the use of the internet, social media and all sorts of technology so they can share that knowledge in exchange.

Clarify growth potential – Millennials like to see where their career is heading and they want to know exactly what it will take to get there. Asking them to accept growth with good faith as time goes on might not work as well as it did with older generations that have worked for your company.

Provide structure – Specific due dates, regular hours of work, meetings with agendas, clearly detailed goals, regularly assessed progress, defined assignments and defined success factors are great ways to provide structure and ensure success for the younger workers of your company.

Get employees involved in teams – The social interaction that teams provide will be great for millennials and they will love the opportunity to share their opinions in a smaller group rather than with the entire company.

Provide feedback – Millennials can be very eager to work, and work very hard, but most of them will be searching for some type of feedback and coaching on their performance. Even though they are self-confident, that confidence needs reinforced every now and then, as they want to do their best work for you and your company.

Display your use of technology – As millennials are very comfortable with technology, not only will your company’s use of technology attract them to your company but it will benefit your company to integrate technology into their jobs.

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