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The construction industry is very labor intensive, which is why is it critical to have a pool of skilled workers available to staff projects. Unfortunately, that is not the case. As most contractors know, it is very difficult to adequately staff jobs with people who have the right skills.

Launching a formal mentoring program can help contractors to attract and retain employees. Although there are plenty of internships and apprenticeships sponsored by schools and industry groups, mentorship provides the opportunity groom workers for a job. This explains why the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) requires trainees to participate in a mentor-mentee relationship as part of the Construction Manager-in-Training (CMIT) Program. The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) has a voluntary mentorship program, offered through local chapters. Mentoring initiatives can benefit management, as well as supers and tradespeople.

The Mindset of the Younger Workforce
The younger workforce is not going into construction at the same level that they once did. While there are many reasons for this, contractors can learn for corporate America. Businesses outside of the construction industry are finding that mentoring and coaching initiatives are important to attract and retain talent, especially among Generation Zers (born between 1995 and 2014), Millennials (born between 1980 and 1994) and Generation Xers (1965 and 1979). According to a key study by Intelligence Group, 72% of Millennials would like to be their own boss. But, if they must work for someone, 79% would want their boss to serve more as a coach or a mentor. Another study showed that Mllennials want 50% more time dedicated to mentorship and coaching, and twice as much time focused on developing leadership skills.

The Intelligence Group study also showed that 88% of Millennials prefer a collaborative culture over a competitive culture. This generation wants their work to contribute to the success of the company. Millennials need to know that their work matters and they are willing to change jobs as frequently as needed to perform purposeful work.

PGi released a study that dove into the Millennial mindset. Seventy-one percent stated that they wanted meaningful connections at work and hope to find a “second family” in their coworkers. Seventy-five percent of the Millennials surveyed view mentoring as crucial to their success.
Mentoring Managers for Success
Recent reports from Deloitte, Gallup, Center for Creative Leadership and other highly regarded organizations have highlighted a critical gap in the leadership development pipeline. Research from the Association for Talent Development shows mentoring managers boosted productivity by 88%, whereas training managers resulted in a 24% increase in productivity.

Sixty percent of all newly promoted managers fail within the first 18 months of being on the job and 50% of managers are regarded as incompetent or failures. This can be attributed to the fact that 58% of first-time managers never receive management training prior to being promoted.

Ineffective and failing managers have a tremendous impact on the productivity, commitment, engagement and innovative thinking of their entire team. Gallup found a direct correlation between management competencies and engagement. According to Gallup, managers are responsible for at least 70% of their employee’s engagement.

Top Benefits of Mentoring

The top six benefits of formal workplace mentoring initiatives include:

  1. More skilled and prepared workforce;
  2. Development of a diverse pipeline of skilled workers;
  3. Enhanced manager success and improved succession planning;
  4. Significantly higher retention rates, especially for Millennials;
  5. Increased employee engagement and commitment; and
  6. Happier and more inclusive workplace culture.

The business case for mentoring is so strong that in a Wharton study, people who mentor got promoted six times more than people who did not, and mentees were promoted five times more. Retention was 20% higher in both groups five years later.

Study after study proves that there is no downside to mentoring if the program is well-engineered. Across the board, companies that invest in formal workplace mentoring programs experience substantial returns on their investment. DDI World disclosed in its Mentoring Global Leadership Forecast (2018) that 54% of organizations in the top third of financial performance have formal mentoring programs, as opposed to 33% of organizations in the bottom third.


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