5 Generations in Construction - Making It Work

Embrace and respect generational diversity.

Mar 27, 2018

Balancing the traits and quirks of multi-generations in the construction industry can be challenging, but on the other hand, it is also rewarding. Many companies have four – and even five generations spread between interns and board members. Focusing the unique positive styles of each generation and embracing the difference opens the door to growth opportunities. 

For clarity:

Traditionalists (born between 1927 and 1945)

Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964)

Generation X (born between 1965 and 1976)

 Millennials (born between 1977 and 1995) also called Gen Y

Generation Z (born 1996 or later) also called iGen or Centennials 

Each generation brings positive aspect to the labor table. 

  • Traditionalists: Having lived through the depression and typically worked for the same company the majority of their years in the workforce, they bring a strong work ethic and deep loyalty to the table. Since the youngest ones are now in their 70’s, they bring wisdom and direction to management and board positions. 
  • Baby Boomers: Growing up in a post-war, booming economy, with a penchant for materialism and me, they enjoy being in charge and driving the workflow. They are self-starters who bring confidence and a willingness to work hard and delay retirement. They can be great mentors/coaches to younger generations . . . And also learn a lot – about technology – from Millennials and GenZ. 
  • Gen X: Often “lost” between the dominating Boomers and Millennials, this valuable generation are both balanced and independent. They not only can be relied on to complete independent projects but also are dynamic group leaders. While neither tech-savvy like the Millennials nor tech-reliant like GenZ, GenXers are tech-literate and receptive to change that brings results, as well as personal benefit. They bring work-life balance to the workforce. 
  • Millennials: Growing up in a constantly-evolving tech-world, Millennials are tech-savvy and expect frequent and fast change as long as it makes an impact. While they want to be paid – and paid well – for their expertise, they are more concerned about flexibility in the workforce, integrating their life into work, and commitment to causes. More than any other generation, they have brought “giving back” philosophies to companies, which translate into projects like  HomeAideNo Roof Left Behind, and Habitat for Humanity
  • GenZ: Born into technology, they have grown up in a smartphone, snapchat, gamification, and totally tech-reliant communication world. Having experienced the great recession, they are savers and realistic entrepreneurs who are very capable of multitasking. In spite of their tech communication world, GenZ values one-on-one with older generations, mentoring and feedback, and growth opportunities within the workplace as opposed to job-hopping. They bring tech skills and practicality to the construction industry.

Tips for managing multi-generations within your construction companies.

  • Match your employees to the best position. Don’t fall into the trap of stereotyping, but use your knowledge of typical generational characteristics when placing talent. Remember that the end of one generation may, in reality, be more like the coming generation. For examples, the youngest Millennial may be more similar to Gen Z’s.
  • Encourage two-way mentoring and training among your employees. While Baby Boomers can teach safety policies, workflow insights, and leadership to younger generations; Millennials can teach Boomers a more flexible leadership, how to integrate life into work and giving back. GenZ can teach GenX and Boomers how to utilize technology in on the job, in marketing and time management . . .
  • Promote technology in the workplace, but adjust training styles and expectations according to the generation.
  • Encourage your workforce to recognize the diverse communication avenues among the varying generations and make adaptions for each other.
  • Lead by example in respecting the strengths of each generations and embracing the differences. At the same time, define the role and responsibilities of each position. Be firm in your expectations, regardless of which generation is filling the position. Embracing diversity within your workforce, while maintaining core values builds a healthy community and a stronger bottom line.

Lofton Staffing  gets seasonal peaks, special projects, rush orders, and tight deadlines. We evaluate candidates for skills, traits, and industry knowledge. We place a high value of safety. As a winner of Inavero’s Best of Staffing Diamond Award, we provide superior service to our clients through placing quality employees from multiple generations. Contact us today.






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