As we have mentioned in numerous posts, the future of the construction site is a technologically advanced one. It’s also an age-diverse one. After the housing crash of 2008, a great number of skilled workers left the construction field. This left a significant void that’s slowly being filled with Gen Xers, Gen Yers, and millennials. While diversity of any type is an opportunity to bring new ideas to the field, it can be a challenge to manage.
When disagreements happen on the construction site, it’s easy for people rest on stereotypes as part of their argument. Millennials are lazy and entitled or baby boomers are stuffy and tech-adverse. While stereotypes are rooted in some truths, they will prevent you from managing effectively, if you rely on them.
In the first part of our series on managing a multigenerational workplace, our Birmingham construction lawyers provided a few tips for maximizing the strengths of each group. In this part, we will provide tips that promote harmony among these groups.
Understand Your Employees’ Lives Away from the Construction Site
Each generation of employees come with their own values away from the jobsite. Recognizing the importance of these values is the key to keeping all groups happy, which leads to better productivity. Millennials may seek to advance their skills or build their career and may want to take classes. Gen X and Yers may have to meet the needs of young children. Baby boomers may take time off occasionally to meet medical needs. Work schedules and time off should be flexible to meet those needs.
Use Multiple Forms of Communication
An important difference among generation groups is the way they communicate and the tools they use. Baby boomers prefer the longer form conversations that phone calls can provide. Gen X and Yers prefer shorter, more targeted conversations via email or text. Millennials enjoy quick, visual conversations via messaging apps. Managers must become adept at all forms of communication and create a plan that integrates them.
Help Employees Understand the Overall Goal
While disputes will invariably happen, employees of all generations must understand the overall goal: to complete the project safely and successfully. While you will work to resolve differences as they occur, it’s important to know that the project supersedes differences and that you all must work together to complete it.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.