Engaging the Next Generation of Construction Professionals

By: Bethany Tesche, Director of Marketing & Client Relations, Houck Group, Inc.

We’re at a very interesting juncture in the overall culture of companies today, and the construction industry is no exception. The current leadership is faced with the question of how best to groom the next generation of men and women to take their companies into the future. Having a qualified string of professionals ready to take on leadership roles is certainly not something that happens by chance. It requires proactive planning and strategically motivated actions - actions that are best taken sooner rather than later.

We all know that the construction market is still recovering from the hardships it has encountered over the past ten years - the current workforce shortage we are experiencing attests to that. Now more than ever, it is crucial to make your team feel they are a part of the industry and to truly connect them with their trades. There are several important things to keep in mind while attempting to engage the next generation in construction:

Give responsibility
53% of young professionals aspire to become senior executives within their organization (according to a recent Deloitte study) and nearly three out of four feel their employer is not making full use of their skills.  

Young workers are actively pursuing opportunities to prove their worth. Always be on the lookout for chances to place them in positions of responsibility. The challenge will be very much appreciated.

Give recognition when it is due

Young professionals are extremely responsive to positive recognition, but they don't want it unless it is earned or deserved. Be generous with commendations to your emerging leadership for jobs well done, but be sure to give that recognition in ways that are personal and genuine.

Provide opportunities for growth

The emerging leadership of today wants to feel connected with their industry. They are looking for engagement and opportunities to grow and advance themselves. Capitalize on that drive for knowledge by encouraging participation in industry conferences, seminars and webinars. Make continuous learning a part of your team’s development and quarterly reviews. Be open to ideas on how to enrich their development, and, if it’s a specific skill that can be taught in-house, bring in an expert and schedule a class. Continuous learning should be a way of life for your team.

Utilize the opportunities available through ABC
ABC offers a variety of training and education opportunities, but the occasions for networking and professional development are crucial as well. Encourage the young professionals in your company to get involved. Personally invite them to attend a mixer, class or join a committee.

Your years of being a member of ABC have helped you build relationships and have provided you with many opportunities. When retirement time comes, who will take your place at events and on committees? Who will continue representing the legacy of your company to your industry?