If we want to attract and retain the right employees, we need to make some big changes. Both employees and employers need to come to the table to rethink what it looks like to work today. For construction, in particular, if we want more women in the workforce, businesses need to redesign the employee experience.
The reality is this: Gartner says 65% of women report the pandemic has made them rethink the place that work should have in their lives. Nearly 70% of women with children agree the pandemic has changed how they value certain aspects of their life outside of work.
Here’s the deal. Both employers and workers need to make some hard decisions here.
Employers need to redesign the employee experience. Let’s compare this for a moment to something many companies get: the customer experience. Many big organizations recognize two-thirds of the drivers of customer satisfaction are due to “feel factors.” We have long known that how a customer feels during and about their experience drives sales. This is why places like Starbucks have seen great success. They capitalize on how a customer feels when they drink a latte—and they can upcharge for it.
Employers now need to do the same thing for employees if they want to attract and retain the right workers. Businesses need to create that same experience for their workers. This might include improving employees’ feelings about their overall experience through the use of psychological, motivational, and social principles. If businesses can figure this out, and improve the way an employee feels, it will ultimately lead to greater engagement—and greater productivity, which is so desperately needed in construction today.
Some specific ideas for how to do this can include the following. Consider providing greater flexibly and control over the workday, which could potentially lead to greater overall employee wellness (and greater overall employee productivity). Be intentional about in-person gatherings (and Zoom meetings). Move away from the visibility-based management.
Offer fulfilling work. Gartner found while 65% of men reported they look forward to going to work, only 57% of women agreed. More than half of women (53%) reported the pandemic caused them to question the purpose of their day-to-day job, at a time when deriving purpose through work becomes even more central.
At the same time, women need to decide what their nonnegotiables are. Is it the salary? Is it the flexibility? Is it hybrid? Is it the company culture? Is it doing fulfilling work? Is it something else entirely? Sometimes if we want something, we need to give something else up. Said another way, if we want flexibility that comes at a cost sometimes. Perhaps it is time we think about what exactly we want out of the workplace—and then stick to it. What are your thoughts?
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