By Matt Storey, Justin Brodnax, and Sam McMath
Millennials will make up 50 percent of the labor market by 2020 (Millennials + Work, Department 26 Strategic Intelligence), so, in an industry where 89 percent of contractors report difficulty finding qualified workers to hire (FMI Talent Development Study), we have to figure out ways to appeal to, and retain, this new group of workers – in this case, those of us writing this blog.
There have been many surveys done about millennials, but there are three values that come up time and time again: finding meaning in what we do, seeing the company vision and how we fit into it, and being part of a culture of innovation.
“Finding meaning” can mean many things. For instance, we enjoy working in the construction industry because we “find meaning” in the communities that we impact and the lives we change along the way. We’re building something that’s going to change that community and be standing for a long time – especially when it’s something as spectacular as a city skyline.
While we’re on projects, we strive to find ways to give back to the local community. That’s been anything from recycling steel and giving the money to a children’s hospital to working with trade partners and collecting more than 400 toys to donate to Toys for Tots at Christmas. Plus, groups like our Austin Office, make lunch for the local Ronald McDonald House once a month (which has been happening for three years straight!).
We also find meaning through our mentors and managers explaining why we do things a certain way and the value associated with the process or task.
Seeing the company vision and how we fit into it probably isn’t just a millennial value. That’s something each employee needs to know to stay engaged. At Hoar, our envisioned future and core values are always at the forefront of our training and processes. Our leaders keep in touch with where the market is going and convey that insight well and often to our company.
We want to know the company cares about our vision of our own future, too. Hoar listened to what each of us wanted to do and where we wanted to go. Our managers and supervisors are helping us with plans on how to achieve those things.
Finally, our generation wants to be part of innovating no matter our chosen field. We want to know that a company is keeping up with the times, especially when it comes to technology and how that can make our work more efficient.
If there’s one thing we see in the construction industry, it’s the ongoing need to adapt to a changing environment. One of our core values is the relentless pursuit of improvement, and we are focusing on adapting and improving by using the principles of lean construction throughout our company. Lean construction requires us to innovate, to challenge our status quo, to stay true to a line we’ve used over the years: “let’s build something better.”
A new idea is one of the most critical things an employee can contribute. At Hoar, ideas can come from anyone, anywhere and that helps us be more innovative in our thinking and doing.
There’s one other thing we want to point out about what millennials are seeking in an employer, and that’s the environment. As the three of us thought about what brought us to Hoar, and what keeps us here, one thing stood out – our work “family.” We care about each other’s well-being. We are a family-oriented company (another core value). We like each other, and together, we know we can make a difference in our industry. What more could a millennial, or any other employee, want?