iGen on the Job Site; A New Era in Construction (PartII)

This is part one of two on iGen in the workplace. Part one presents some of the challenges, while part two covers the upside of things.

igen construction technology generations small medium contractors job site workforce

In part one, we discussed many of the challenges the iGen will bring to construction. Healthy challenges, in my opinion, but still challenges.

But let's not just move past the upside on all of this! As this new generation steps into the workforce they also bring a lot to the table. And they bring it in places where we need it most (although it will be tough for lots of owners and upper managers to agree). 

"What got you here won't get you there"

-Marshall Goldsmith

Blowing out the cobwebs on old processes

The best (and, arguably the most painful) part about getting some fresh blood on the job site is that it's going to blow the cobwebs off old processes and breathe new life into the way we do things. In part one of this iGen post, we talked about communication. This is a perfect example of how this new generation will uproot old practices and push for new. Painful? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.

Just think about how we built things 10 years ago. Nothing but hard copies of drawings and specs. TONS of hard copy letters. And now? It's all about email, cloud storage, and virtual plan tables. Have an issue? Snap a pic with your cell phone, attach it to your daily report and the claim process is started.

Remember - this iGen doesn't even remember what it's like to live in a world without social media. They'll have NO IDEA what it was like to try to manage hard copies of submittals on a $300M project or having to hand-deliver letters to the Prime's office. 

Boosted productivity & efficiency

iGen has grown up with technology being an integral part of their life. They are less dependent on it (like Millennials and GenX) and more savvy with it. Instead of seeing job site technology as something they should use, they see it as just part of the way they do things. They've never NOT used it, so why wouldn't they use it in construction?

What this will bring is productivity & efficiency. You can expect them to use the tools around them to guide decisions they make on the job site. Like referring to a 3D model using clash-detection instead of flipping through 50 drawings to make sure there aren't issues. Or track quantities by using a GPS to measure the stock pile instead of counting truck loads.

Exciting stuff (and scary for some)! I, for one, am thrilled to see this generation make our job sites smarter than ever.

construction technology generations job site

Marketing & business development breakthroughs

This generation is curious and competitive. And that makes them great for marketing breakthroughs and business development. Their speed of communication feeds this need to constantly look for new ways to reach clients, where to find new deals and how they can join the global conversation on all of this.

A better quality of life

The line that's drawn between work and life is all but non-existent for iGen. Work IS life, and life IS work. Which, in their mind, is the perfect balance. We're talking flex work hours and the ultimate use of mobile technology to actually be more productive. The days of sticking around the office because your boss is still there is gone.

Stewardship is very important to iGen. What this means is that they are going to find ways to contribute back to the community. Volunteering, cleaning up trash, building non-profit homes and running 5k's are all on their list. So be prepared to get involved locally.

And there's one last things I wanted to share that will really change the way you think about and work with this new generation. 

Go watch this video. It will completely change your perspective on the iGen. My favorite part: The youngest members of iGen will think the Jetsons is about the PAST, because they've only even known a world where you can see the person on the phone. What?! It's a TED talk, so you know it's good, and it will be 18 minutes that will help you better understand the workers that are about to take over your job site.

RELATED: Talent Development, Goals & Mentoring in Construction online course.