flexiblefullpage -
Currently Reading

How to Attract and Retain a Multi-Generational Workforce

Advertisement
billboard -
Business

How to Attract and Retain a Multi-Generational Workforce

Attracting skilled laborers remains a top priority for the construction industry, but according to Steve Bench, founder of Generational Consulting, the biggest roadblocks to recruitment and retainment are generational differences


By Layne Deakins June 5, 2023
Black magnifying glass over red wooden figurine
Image: showcake / Stock.adobe.com

Talent attraction and retention are among the most crucial and time-sensitive issues currently facing the construction industry, but according to Steve Bench, founder of Generational Consulting, the largest roadblock comes from generational differences rather than talent. 

The key to attracting and retaining skilled workers is to first acknowledge and understand their generational differences and ultimately leverage their unique life experiences to create a cohesive team. In an education session at the 2023 International Builders’ Show, Bench outlined the steps to get there.

Understanding generational differences

“We’ve never had this many generations working side by side before, and each one has had a fundamentally different childhood,” says Bench. “They were raised differently, they were taught in school differently, they were parented much differently, but now, they’re all working together on the same projects. We need to figure out how to overcome these differences and turn them into strengths, because similarly, our vendors, suppliers, and clients are multi-generational.”

Today’s labor market is seeing baby boomers retire at a rate of several thousand per day, and according to Bench, not enough younger generations are stepping up to replace them. As a result, the employee has leverage over the employer with more open positions to choose from than people available to fill them. 

Different generations are molded by their upbringings, which is why Bench says it only makes sense that baby boomers would have a much different work ethic and career mentality than millennials. “Millennials have more freedom, flexibility, and mobility than any generation in American history,” Bench explains. “As a result, many prioritize lifestyle over career, a luxury which older generations never enjoyed.”

Even though they may only be a few years younger, Gen Z, the future of the workforce, has even more vastly different demands. Responding to their needs, Bench claims, will not only bring them onboard, but will get them to stay long-term.

“Gen Z is more focused on mental health than any generation that came before them, and understandably so,” Bench says. “They feel like they’re inheriting a world that they’re about to be in charge of that is coming apart at the seams. As a result, they’re going to have very different expectations and demands than the generations before them. If they don’t see a reflection of themselves in the people they work with or if they don’t believe that their employer is socially responsible, then they’re going to go elsewhere because they have that choice.”


Pew hiring data graph

 

The pace of baby boomer retirements is accelerating.
Image: Pew Research Center

How to create a multi-generational company culture

The first step to creating a strong company culture, according to Bench, is to establish mindful and receptive mentors who are willing to look past stereotypes to effectively train and educate younger generations. “We are all products of the culture that raised us, and in both our personal lives and our professional lives, we have to find ways to work together.”

The key to that functionality is constant feedback, not just when mistakes are made, but when employees are also meeting or exceeding expectations. That feedback drives up loyalty, respect, and ultimately, retention rates. It also creates an opportunity for constructive criticism. 

“Trust is the key to providing criticism,” Bench explains. “Employees may not handle criticism well if their mentors haven’t taken the time to gain their trust and get to know them. But if they know that their employers care about them because they got to know them as a person, they’ll be much more receptive to criticism rather than simply shutting down.” But building trust isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. He adds, “Find some common ground, demonstrate vulnerability, and set your ego aside.”

Talent retention

In a digital age, retaining workers begins with first attracting fresh talent, and nowhere is it easier to connect with younger generations than on social media, Bench says. Not only is it important to connect and network with other industry leaders through platforms like LinkedIn, but brand promotion on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter can also generate interest from prospective employees. 


Linkedin country member statistics

 

As of 2022, LinkedIn is made up of 706 million members, 50 million listed companies, and is available in 24 languages with members in 200 countries.
Image: LinkedIn

Once new hires are brought onto the team, providing them with opportunities for growth and advancement leads to more fulfillment. “Young professionals want access to new people, new information, new opportunities, and certification training so that they feel like they’re constantly thriving in their workplace,” Bench says.

That growth trajectory can be achieved by establishing more frequent milestones with shorter time horizons as well as benefits and recognition once those milestones are met. But according to Bench, that mentality isn’t just important for older generations looking to retain younger workers. Instead, it’s essential for all employees, regardless of age or experience.

 

Related Stories

Business

Custom Builder to Talk Color Design with Becki Owens at IBS

At this year's IBS, renowned designer Becki Owens will sit down with host James McClister, editor of Custom Builder, to discuss a variety of topics from basic color play in design to the Allura Spectrum palette, a collection of Sherwin-Williams colors curated for the benefit of pros

Business

PERC Highlights Sustainability and Efficiency at IBS with 'Clean Build Conversations'

Hear from industry standouts Matt Blashaw and Anthony Carrino at this hour-long Show Village event

Business

The Five Foundational Cornerstones

Business coach Scott Beebe shares insights into the often ignored business basics that could be the difference between long-term success and failure

Custom Builder

Start With the Why: Fundamentals of the Custom Builder Business

In our inaugural episode of Taking Care of Business, host and custom builder Duane Johns sits down with Scott Beebe, head coach and founder of My Business on Purpose, to talk vision, purpose, mission, values, and more

Business

Why AI Is Now Key to Our Trade Partner Strategy

Thompson Custom Homes Business Manager Erin Day explains how AI became a crucial part of building and maintaining successful trade partner relationships

Business

Defining Outdoor Living in 2024

Residential experts weigh in on outdoor living trends in new report

Business

Thriving in 2024: Tips for Succeeding in an Uncertain Environment

Author and sales expert Mark Richardson shares his insights on the industry and how to rethink your approach to success in the new year

Business

Taking Advantage of Incentives Through Weatherization

Industry insider Kristen Lewis walks us through the basics and benefits of weatherization

Business

November Data: Custom Architects Weigh In, New Construction Trends, Contractor Confidence, and Material Price Changes

We've collected highlights from a number of data reports published throughout the industry in November

Business

Choosing Humanism, History, and Beauty Over Modernism

Celebrated architect Laurence Booth, whose career spans half a century, shares insights on modernism's flaws, the characteristics of beauty, his design process, and more

Advertisement
boombox1 -
Advertisement
boombox2 -
Advertisement
boombox3 -
Advertisement
native1 -

More in Category

Business

Custom Builder to Talk Color Design with Becki Owens at IBS

At this year's IBS, renowned designer Becki Owens will sit down with host James McClister, editor of Custom Builder, to discuss a variety of topics from basic color play in design to the Allura Spectrum palette, a collection of Sherwin-Williams colors curated for the benefit of pros

Business

PERC Highlights Sustainability and Efficiency at IBS with 'Clean Build Conversations'

Hear from industry standouts Matt Blashaw and Anthony Carrino at this hour-long Show Village event

boombox4 -
Business

The Five Foundational Cornerstones

Business coach Scott Beebe shares insights into the often ignored business basics that could be the difference between long-term success and failure

Custom Builder

Start With the Why: Fundamentals of the Custom Builder Business

In our inaugural episode of Taking Care of Business, host and custom builder Duane Johns sits down with Scott Beebe, head coach and founder of My Business on Purpose, to talk vision, purpose, mission, values, and more

boombox4 -
Advertisement
native2 -
Advertisement
halfpage1 -