The not-so-secret ingredient to attracting and retaining employees

Published · 2 min read

A lot of construction companies these days are wondering what is the secret sauce to attracting and retaining the best employees. Many experts believe that a main ingredient is mentoring.

I’ve already covered in a previous post how construction firms are getting involved in high school mentorship programs aimed at promoting construction as a career opportunity. But how do you encourage mentorship within your own company to transfer knowledge, improve job satisfaction, and cultivate a culture of support that many of today’s workers are looking for?

In its 2015 Talent Development in the Construction Industry study, FMI reported that 51% of construction companies are using formal or informal mentoring to retain key talent. Not surprising given the value today’s employees, particularly millennials, place on regular feedback and personal development—key benefits mentors provide.

In-house mentoring programs can take many forms depending on your organization’s goals.  Some ways to use mentoring include:

  • Training new employees
  • Teaching a specific skill
  • Transferring knowledge from soon-to-be-retired company veterans
  • Developing your firm’s next leaders
  • Attracting and supporting new hires, particularly women and minorities

Selecting the best counselors

One would assume that someone who excels at their craft, job or career would be a natural mentor. Not necessarily. A mentor requires special skills (more on that in a later post) and, according to experts, should be someone who:

  • Has deep knowledge of the job and your company.
  • Wants to share their knowledge with others.
  • Is respected within your organization.
  • Will commit the time to mentoring.

Make sure your mentors understand the goals of your mentorship program and are properly trained to achieve the best results.

Reverse mentoring

Traditionally mentors have been seen as older, more experienced individuals who help guide their younger colleagues. Not so any longer. It’s not uncommon for younger workers to be more tech savvy and have a better understanding of new techniques and processes. Many companies (including construction firms) are taking advantage of this by having entry-level workers teach their elders (yes, even top managers) some new tricks of the trade.

No matter if we are young or old, one of the best ways to learn is through someone else’s experience and knowledge. Cultivating that known fact will help position your company as the place people want to be.

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