In 2018, the Harvard Business School and the Boston Consulting Group collaborated together on a study to identify if there was a gap between the way managers and employees are confronted with changes on-site and the speed with which those changes need to happen. The Harvard Business Review recently posted an article discussing the results of the study.
To make a long study short, there’s certainly a gap.
The managers – Construction operations and resource management are faced with the constant anxiety of mobilizing the workforce of tomorrow, focused on finding the experienced workers they need, and dealing with the employees whose skills are no longer up to scruff.
The employees – Adversely, the employees are focused on the opportunity to learn and the benefits that come along with the disruption of new technologies and processes on-site. They are more eager to learn than management will give them credit for.
Minding the gap
While most executives and managers tend to think about technology as the primary cause of workplace disruption, the study actually identifies six basic categories:
Accelerating technological change – new technology to augment human labor
Growing demand for skills – shortage of skilled workers with an increase in technical knowledge and formal education required
Shifting labor demographics – the need to increase participation of underrepresented demographics, ie. Generation Z
Transitioning work models – growth of temp workers, contractors, and self-perform workers
Evolving business environment – economic and political volatility
Changing employee expectations – increase in flexibility and work-life balance, and a greater desire to influence the way work is done and delivered
The primary result of studying these six categories is that employees clearly recognize their organizations are dealing with disruptive forces, but they are more adaptive and optimistic than their leaders recognize.
Employees recognize that automation and technology have a positive impact on projects, most of them citing the prospect of more meaningful and interesting jobs. The concern comes from forces that might allow other workers to take their jobs, not machines.
“There’s a vast reserve of talent and energy companies can tap into to ready themselves for the future: their workers.”
Finally, the study also found that employees are looking for more support and guidance to prepare for future projects than management is providing.
Workforce intelligence plays a major role in being able to track employee growth and experience. Bridgit Bench gives operations and resource management teams the ability to pair employees with projects they find more meaningful and give new experience to employees looking to expand their knowledge or skill set. Retaining staff and acquiring skilled workers in the construction industry has been a significant struggle for the last decade, and investing in your people is the first step to eliminating it.