8 Ways to Better Manage a Multigenerational Job Site

a group of people sitting around a table

Managing a multigenerational job site has some advantages, such as allowing younger workers to learn from more experienced counterparts. But it also comes with some challenges, such as introducing differences in work ethic or cultural perspectives. If you want to improve the integrity of your job site and maximize your chances of success, you’ll need a proactive management strategy that can help you find the perfect balance.

Safety, Productivity, and Morale

On any job site, your top priorities are likely going to be safety, productivity, and morale, with safety always coming first. Maintaining a safe workplace is an undisputed top priority because it reduces the risk of harm, saves your business money, keeps your business compliant, and even improves your reputation. It also has the incidental benefits of improving both productivity and morale by itself.

When you have a multigenerational workforce, it becomes more challenging to address all of these priorities. Cultural differences between different generations, as well as skill gaps between them, can eventually lead to safety issues – and people from different generations face different hazards, at times, as well.

Plus, if people from different generations aren’t getting along or working effectively together, it’s going to impact both your productivity and morale.

How to Better Manage a Multigenerational Job Site

The good news is that there are several strategies that can help you better manage a multigenerational job site. These are some of the most important:

1. Recognize and embrace differences. Each generation has strengths and weaknesses. Your oldest workers are going to be the most knowledgeable, most experienced, and most mature – but they may not be as strong or resilient as their younger counterparts, and they may be prone to more injuries. Your youngest workers are going to have plenty of strength, resilience, and durability – but they’re also going to be less mature, knowledgeable, and experienced. If you recognize and embrace these differences, you’ll be able to use each group of employees to their fullest potential.

2. Prioritize mutual respect. Your job site should operate on the basis of mutual respect. If your older workers start dismissing or acting condescending toward your younger workers, or if your younger workers blow off older workers’ advice and direction, it’s going to lead to both interpersonal conflicts and higher risks. Establish a culture where everyone is treated equally, at least on the basis of baseline respect.

3. Establish a mentorship program. Your oldest workers have a lot to teach, so consider establishing a mentorship program where they can put their knowledge to good use. Pair your oldest workers with youngest workers, and have them work together frequently so that your youngest workers can learn more – and see through the eyes of more experienced elders. In time, it can make your entire workforce more skilled, more experienced, and more productive.

4. Create a program for advancement. How do you make sure that your youngest workers are willing to stick around and put all their new skills and experiences to good use? One solution is to create a program for advancement. Give your youngest workers plenty of opportunities to learn and grow, and make sure they understand that there are legitimate promotions and higher earning opportunities available to them.

5. Build a growth mentality. Everyone on your job site, including both younger and older workers, is going to benefit from the establishment of a growth mentality. In other words, everyone should feel motivated to continue learning, growing, and perfecting their skills. No matter how long you’ve been around or how much you think you know, there’s always something new to learn.

6. Sustain and retain. Focus on sustaining your oldest workers and retaining your youngest workers; lower rates of turnover can lead to more consistent job-site dynamics, lower costs, and higher productivity.

7. Create an open-door policy. Workplace transparency is increasingly important – and not just in the construction world. One of the best things you can do for your operation is create an open-door policy in which all your employees feel comfortable bringing up concerns and complaints. This way, you’ll be able to identify issues quickly and work proactively to resolve them before they become worse.

8. Build relationships and loyalty. Loyalty comes from strong relationships, so the leaders of your organization should work diligently to build individual relationships with employees in every generation. Simultaneously, you should encourage your employees to build relationships with each other.

Having a multigenerational job site isn’t a bad thing. In fact, as long as you’re willing to make a few extra efforts to mitigate the risks associated with multigenerational employees and emphasize the positive dynamics, it can be a distinctively good thing.

Spend time proactively planning for this so both you and your employees can benefit.