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How to attract and keep Gen Z employees on job sites

Construction teams are up against a labor shortage.

The ABC reports that 430,000 more construction workers still need to be hired in 2021 to meet demand. The industry is also facing a generation gap, and the median age of a construction worker continues to increase as new generations aren’t entering the field as quickly as they’re leaving it. Combined with a fluid workforce that has traditionally high turnover rates, construction teams need to attract new employees and reduce turnover to be able to support their backlog and deliver projects on time and on budget. It’s time to start recruiting the next generation of construction workers. 

Adapting to a younger workforce

The construction industry is experiencing a major shift as Baby Boomer employees move towards retirement and Gen Z joins the workforce. Though only a couple of decades apart, younger generations have undeniable differences in their career mobility, values and priorities, meaning the industry must adapt to attract a younger workforce and keep its workers energized and satisfied. 

Technology plays a huge role in the future of work for this generation. Gen Z’ers are digital natives: they’ve grown up in a world where the internet and mobile devices have almost always been at their fingertips, and they are quick to learn and adopt new technology. Mobile applications are an essential part of Gen Z’s day-to-day life. From ordering lunch to catching a ride, technology is embedded in their daily habits, making it no surprise that they’re inclined to establish a career in a forward-thinking, technology-driven industry. 

It’s a common misconception that the construction industry doesn’t use technology. According to JB Knowledge’s 2020 Construction Technology Report, 92% of the construction industry uses a smartphone for work daily, using mobile devices to safely view BIM models, installation drawings, project documents and more while on the job site. Adding a communication strategy with your work force will streamline information without causing distraction. This group of up-and-coming workers is accustomed to using their cell phones to communicate with friends and coworkers, and younger generations are likely to be even more inclined to adopt new technology than previous generations of construction workers.  

A younger workforce also means a higher turnover risk. Recent reports show that the average turnover rate in the construction industry is 21.4%, where the turnover rate of employees 24 and younger is about 64%. High turnover is associated with increased injury and decreased quality of work, ultimately hindering your project effectiveness and potentially damaging your reputation. 

An influencing factor in high turnover rates in younger employees is the lack of engagement and connectedness they feel in the workplace. In an industry as fluid as construction, keeping the entire workforce connected and engaged with each other is challenging. But, successfully engaging your workforce allows your company to complete higher quality work, on time, with fewer injuries and losses, elevating your reputation and keeping you competitive. And technology will help.

Attract Gen Z to your workplace with engaging technology

We know Gen Z likes to use technology, but how are they using technology? The construction industry can better communicate with this important group by adopting their ways of learning and communicating. Research shows that:

75% of Gen Z’ers rate their mobile device as their primary device of choice 

25% spend more than five hours on their mobile phones every day

73% cited texting and chatting as their primary mobile phone activities

There’s a huge opportunity for the construction industry to start connecting to these workers through mobile communication devices. In addition, integrating technology into your organization’s everyday operations can help ensure Gen Z has higher workplace satisfaction, which is shown to reduce turnover. 

MindForge facilitates workforce engagement through communication and education, reducing turnover rates and improving job satisfaction. With chat features and message boards at your fingertips, MindForge makes it easier than ever to establish a safe and strategic communication network throughout your job site and team, helping employees connect with all areas of the team. Staying connected with their peers is a driving factor in Gen Z’s workplace satisfaction, helping you ultimately retain them in your workforce. Gen Z is also encouraged by visible growth opportunities in their careers. When using a mobile communication platform on the job, they are not only connected with their peers, but also with senior members of the workforce, giving them a transparent view of how they could continue elevating their career, moving from a skilled laborer, to foreman, to superintendent. This connection will help your organization retain the Gen Z workforce for years to come. 

MindForge also offers training capabilities, where organizations can organize and disperse training materials to their entire workforce. With a natural inclination to adopt new technology, Gen Z is more likely to appreciate and easily accept virtual training capabilities.

Mobile-based communication is native to Gen Z’ers. By adopting and integrating this type of technology into your job site, you can help attract and retain this new generation of employees.

Learn more about how MindForge can improve your job site communication, reduce employee turnover and protect the bottom line by ​scheduling a demo​ today.

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