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April 2018

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The Realities and Challenges of a Multi-generational Workforce

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Once upon a time, HR managers preferred to hire the more experienced candidate over the well-educated. These days they are being forced to take education in lieu of experience, leaving a workforce heavy on theory and light on practice. The fact is the steeper learning curve, the less time to get inexperienced team members on board and up to speed. Making the situation even more complex, is the lack of middle management in many organizations. In this article, we will take a look at the demographic reality of today’s workforce, and discuss strategies for hiring, managing, and training those with less experience.

Demographic Reality of the Modern Workforce

  • The majority of today’s workers are either over 50 years of age or under 30.
  • The mid-90s through the early 2000s witnessed a sharp decline in middle-management, due to corporate restructuring.
  • Most companies admit they have not sufficiently addressed the gap in management.
  • Today’s over-burdened middle-managers are suffering from burnout which leads to higher than average numbers of alcoholism, depression and other mental health issues.

5 Common Scenarios and Strategies to Consider

1. You aren’t sure how to hire for your future needs.

Perform workforce projection for all upcoming projects, including succession planning and replacement planning. This is the only way to know where your deficits lie and where they are likely to widen in the future.

2. You have a multigenerational workforce that is not performing as a cohesive team.

Managing and leading a multigenerational team takes patience and understanding. However, if you can help your team overcome the personality clashes that are inherent, you may discover some great mentorship opportunities. When the outgoing staff is motivated to properly to take newcomers under their wing, the bulk of training takes care of itself.

It’s no secret that people are living and working longer and the days of two generations making up a workforce will be a thing of the past. We will likely see three to four generations working together in the near future. The key is to develop methods where the younger and older generations have respect for one another and cultivate an environment or culture where they all learn from each other, working together to create a  productive workplace.

3. You don’t know how to engage your new millennial workforce.

Let’s face it, this generation is different. They are not only very well-educated, but they also have ideas and values that set them apart. We have discussed previously, how best to attract, engage, motivate, and keep millennials by responding to their deep need for purpose and place within your organization.

4. You need to have your new hires up to speed faster, but you don’t have the HR support that you need.

Consider outsourcing part of your human resources operations. This simple step can eliminate much of the admin work that weighs down your already overworked middle management staff. A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) can help in a wide variety of areas, from sourcing and pre-screening candidates to complete onboarding and even initial training.

Another important consideration is the different styles of learning. Here are a few tips to help differentiate the generational learning preferences:

Veterans: Prefer classroom setting with little ambiguity and clear direction.

Baby Boomers: Generally they are team-oriented but like to have the opportunity to practice new skills alone before proficiency is checked.

Gen-X: Typically pragmatic, like succinct and clear instruction with less emphasis on non-value added activities, have little tolerance for incompetent instructors. Hands-on learning should be conducted in small breakout sessions.

Gen-Y or Millennials: Accustomed to group work. Requires more instruction, structure, and supervision. They appreciate highly visual displays and digital media. They do not like to reach out for help, meaning it is important to be proactive when offering guidance.

“Encourage your employees to take advantage of specialized training to enhance their skills, and access promotions.” – Important HR Tips for Small Business Owners

5. You lack management bench strength.

Focus on hiring for the mid-term instead of the long-term. This may seem counter-intuitive. Of course, you’re told to target enthusiastic go-getters who will disrupt and innovate your organization. However, with a lack of leadership and experience, that may not be the best strategy.

As a business owner, you want to focus on running your company but you know that hiring the right team is critical —because every bad hire is costly and risks damaging the morale and continuity of your workforce. Fortunately, we can help. Harbor America is a leader in the Professional Employer Organization space. From HR, payroll, and benefits administration to training, risk management, and compliance, we leverage our technology and know-how to expertly hire and onboard your crew. Get started today with a free consultation.

Tips to Keep Your Construction Site Safe

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Running a construction site can be quite stressful. You may have more employees than you can keep track of, multiple pieces of equipment being used, and heavy pieces of construction material being moved around. Even if you don’t know anything about the construction industry, this sounds dangerous.

That being said, it is up to you to keep your construction site safe. Here are some tips to help you do that:

Plan, plan, and plan some more. Proper planning and organization is key to a safe construction site. You need to know exactly what needs to be done and when. You should also plan carefully about where you plan to store your materials so that they are out of the way.

Proper employee training. Your employees need to be trained. They need to know about common worksite hazards and the best ways to avoid them. People who are running equipment need to know how to handle them perfectly before they should be allowed to run them around people.

However, once your employees complete basic training, your job is not done. You need to have daily or weekly safety meetings to ensure that your employees will be safe – no matter what!

Proper personal protective equipment (PPE). It is essential that your employees have the right safety equipment in order to keep them safe. Hard hats and steel-toed shoes are just a start. You need to make sure that your employees are wearing the correct fall protection equipment and other PPE that is needed for whatever job that they are doing. This may include goggles, face shields, and much more!

Fall protection systems in place. You are required by law to have fall protection systems in place to protect your employees. Many employees walk and work on surfaces that are high off the ground. You need to make sure that you have guardrails in place so that nobody falls. You may also want to have safety nets, just in case.

Keeping it clean. A cluttered construction site can lead to many accidents. Because of this, you should make it a priority for you and your employees to clean up and keep your site well organized.

Get everyone involved. It is important that everyone on your team is dedicated to safety. If not, you may struggle with safety. If everyone is always thinking about safety first, you are less likely to have accidents.

Safety meetings. One of the best ways to keep your construction site safe is by having regular safety meetings. While many do this daily, even weekly or monthly ones will help to keep the importance of safety on the top of everyone’s mind.

If you do have meetings every day, you can also use this time to talk about what is going to happen every day and how your employees can avoid any common hazards that they may be dealing with that day.

Posters. Though you may notice posters and signs hanging up in various businesses, it can really remind your workers to focus on the hazards that they face, along with how they can stay safe.

As a construction business owner, safety should be on the top of your mind all of the time. You need to make sure that your employees are safe from falls and other dangers. To achieve this, you should plan as much as possible to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Employee training is also necessary. While you should make sure that everyone is trained when they start, it shouldn’t stop there. Daily, weekly, or monthly safety meetings and training should be a part of the job. If your employees know how important safety is to you, it will be the same for them!