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By Duane Craig
October 23, 2017
With large numbers of skilled construction and manufacturing employees set to reach retirement ages in the next two years, companies are in the hot seat when it comes to employee recruitment and retention. Employees seriously consider benefits when thinking about jobs. And, there is a big difference between what employees want when just starting their careers, and what they want in the autumns of their careers. Here is a take on what is important to employees across their careers, and ways you can make them think twice about leaving.
According to construction industry recruiters, you can inspire employees to stick around longer if you give them what they want. As reported by Kimmel & Associates, the recruiters talking at a roundtable event said employees in the first decade of their careers have conflicted goals. On the one hand, they want jobs allowing them to travel, but they also want flexibility in where they can move when they decide to put down roots.
These newbies typically like to have varied job experiences, and as stated in a report from Thomsons, an online provider of employee benefits, they also choose employers based on very different factors than people traditionally consider. For example, they might focus on the employer's social responsibility record, or on how engaging it makes the workplace.
Early Career Strategies: For construction employers, attracting and retaining these early career employees requires showing them how their work fits into the larger picture, and then mapping out their potential progression. Offering them a variety of work within their specific specialty can help provide the change they seek while also giving you a more well-rounded employee. Mentoring early-career employees and offering them apprenticeships help with retention, too. While you might not be able to provide travel opportunities because your firm works in one geography, maybe you can offer travel for training or industry events that will benefit the employee while contributing to company goals. Allowing time off for personal travel could also help subdue the wanderlust bug.
The Crowd in the Middle
As employees enter their second decade of working, they gravitate toward boosting their career potential, according to the roundtable participants mentioned above. They really want to grow professionally because they have already made up their minds and decided this is the career for them. Of course, more money is part of that equation. These employees are the most likely to jump ship to get into a situation they feel fits their long-range goals better.
Mid Career Strategies: Having career progression well-mapped out is very important for people in this stage of their career as well. Include alternative career paths in case the timing of other factors affects their upward movement. Offering opportunities for these employees to gain new credentials and certifications boosts their quest to grow professionally. Allowing time for them to work at local, regional, or industry initiatives helps them develop their professional network, as well as get recognition while improving company visibility. Give them opportunities to mentor or apprentice others. These activities help them deepen their interpersonal skills and improve the workforce as well.
Employees in the third decade of their careers are also likely to make job changes, but this time it is for a better work/life balance. They might want to have more free time, less stress, and more time to pursue other interests. As they near retirement, they could also start looking for opportunities closer to a retirement location they have their sights set on.
Late Career Strategies: Construction employees in their third decade are often in higher stress positions. If you can offer changes in schedules, changes in work requirements, or changes in positions to help them find a pace that fits them better, you can keep them around while benefitting from latent talents you have not realised they had. Years and years of working in construction often means they've tucked away pages of wisdom and whole books of perspectives that they have not had the time, or encouragement, to act upon. When you harness these insights by applying them to operations and project management, you stand to gain efficiencies. They can also bring a big picture view to things because they have perspectives spanning decades.
You should combine these very general guidelines about what people want in the different decades of their careers with your knowledge of each individual. Many people nearing retirement today do not really want much to do with retirement, while many younger people like it just where they are. There is no substitute for knowing your employees and spending time with them to understand their individual motivations for working. Also, do not overlook benefits as key to attracting and retaining employees. When benefits meet an employee's needs, 95 per cent say they would recommend their employer to a friend, according to the Thomsons report. And, friends are a prime source of new recruits for construction.
skilled labor shortage
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