Young talent is very tough to come by in construction these days. The emphasis on college and university degrees has led young people away from trades and careers in construction. While these jobs may not be as desirable to some, having a career in construction can result in many great financial opportunities while also becoming part of a fantastic construction community. But at the moment, these construction careers are not as heavily pursued as they used to be and construction businesses need strategies to combat this. Moreover, not only will you need to attract young workers to your team, you have to get them to stay and that can often be the hardest part.
In order to make construction more attractive to the Gen Z and Millennial generations, it's vital to leverage technology as much as possible. While at first that statement sounds a bit ridiculous, if you really stop to think about it, younger generations have been exposed to rapid technology advancement throughout their entire life.
But technology alone won't be enough to attract and retain a younger generation of workers, so without further ado, here are 4 key strategies you can use to do just that:
1. Allow Smartphones on the Job Site
I'm going to go ahead and preface this first strategy by acknowledging the fact that allowing smartphones on the job site may not be suitable for every construction business out there due to regulations and any other potential concerns. But the point remains the same: be comfortable with your employees using their smartphones. Period.
Allowing workers to use their own phones onsite for all job activities can significantly improve your productivity as well as profitability. But if this option doesn't work for you, you could even provide company phones or deploy a shared laptop/tablet that workers can use onsite.
If you consider the average young person's habits today, one of the first things that'll probably cross your mind is how often they use their smartphones.
It's important to remain open-minded and understand that young people can do great things with technology. They will find innovative ways to use their devices and they may even help develop new job strategies that make work more efficient. They also want to be using the most modern technologies in any work environment. If you want your business to stand out among the large sea of competition out there, you need to incorporate technology and this includes phone usage. Adding phones and other technology like computers can be super important to attracting and retaining young talent. This should be a key selling point when hiring young talent as they know they will be using technology that they are comfortable with and these devices will allow them to complete their jobs efficiently.
2. Use Modern Field or Project Management Software
When you combine smartphones with powerful software, young workers will see your company as leaders in the industry. Technology is what young workers are looking for. They don't want to use old and inefficient methods such as pen and paper, or software that looks like it belongs in a museum. If young workers are able to easily access documents and files, track their hours worked, provide progress updates easily, and do everything that's required of them on their own devices, they will do their job much more efficiently. The construction software that you use should be designed in ways that are similar to the apps young workers already use in their daily lives. If we think about all of the apps that young people use, they are incredibly user-friendly and innovative. Apps like Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, and even Slack, are all commonly used by young people. You want to pick a construction software that incorporates some of the features that these apps offer so that young people will have an easier time using it. If you invest in a software that is too complicated and expensive or an app that is not very attractive, young workers might not be so inclined to join your team or stick around. Make sure that you pick a software solution that will make young people comfortable and ease their transition to the job.
Modern, user-friendly software is key to drawing in young workers and getting them to stay for the long run.
3. Use Social Media
Young people spend a good amount of time on social media, whether it is networking, posting pictures, promoting a brand, or just simply scrolling for leisure. So if you want to be an employer and a company that is relatable to young workers, you should create a company social media account to share behind-the-scenes footage of what a day in the life of someone working at your company is like. You can even select employees to highlight their day on the job via stories.
For more tips on how to implement a good social media strategy, click here.
4. Provide In-House or Paid Training
The final strategy I would recommend is to provide training. This would include paying for training or having in-house training you could provide. Young people in particular will look for leadership training which could be beneficial to your company. Training could also include anything that would help them advance in your company to take on larger roles. You can help them develop into a future supervisor or manager. In order to make construction and your company attractive to young people, providing any kind of construction training or professional development will encourage young talent to work for you and stay for the long run. While this is not a technology-based strategy, this can be very beneficial in attracting young talent to work for you and retain them as they work through the ranks in your business.
Times have certainly changed in construction. With the younger generation moving into the workforce and the lack of young talent that is in construction, you need to make sure that you and your company keep up with the times so that your business can continue to be successful.
The most important thing you should take away from this article is that having modern and user-friendly technology will give you a leg up over your competition, not just in terms of profitability but also when it comes to recruiting.