Why Knowledge Transfer is Key for Construction

Millennial construction worker learns from her Baby Boomer supervisor

When the Baby Boomer generation retires, their skills and knowledge retire too. Recent statistics have found that 40% of the entire construction workforce is Baby Boomers — with 54% of all construction managers being in this generation. These people will very soon be trading the 9-to-5 for retirement time. This could potentially have a major impact on the effectiveness and productivity of your team — which will affect your bottom line. So what can you do? Knowledge transfer and succession planning are the best ways to safeguard your team from the impact of these departures.

Baby Boomers used to make up a large proportion of the workforce, but in terms of the largest working generation, the number of Millennials is greater. Falling between the ages of 18 and 34, this is the youngest population in the professional workforce. It is up to construction managers to ensure these Millennial employees have the long-term skills to step up and take the lead. The key is working towards moving all employees at least one step up the employment ladder: hiring young STEM graduates into entry level positions, and empowering those in current entry positions to grow their skills and be promoted to mid-level roles.

The Online Knowledge Transfer Solution

So how can we solve this issue? This Harvard Business Review article says companies need to lead the way in fixing the middle skills gap. It argues government training initiatives lack effectiveness and financial support, and that company managers, unions, and training institutions must work together to ensure companies are prepared for senior staff retirements.

A Learning Management System is one way construction managers can limit the effect of industry brain drain. A centralized, online solution, the right LMS will be around long after the last Baby Boomer has retired — and is a way to permanently capture their knowledge for years to come.

Getting started with an LMS today will mean your team has the time to engage in a social learning experience that includes employees of all seniority levels. The BirdDogHR LMS has a social learning and collaboration component so employees can easily create work groups and access and share information around a certain topic. There is also the opportunity for staff to upload supporting resources they found useful, ensuring all staff benefit from that knowledge. Built in skill tests and the opportunity to access premium training content means there is a wide variety of skills and competencies your employees can work towards at their own pace.

So don’t just train — knowledge transfer. An online LMS can save companies up to 50%, raise course completion rates, and increase employee productivity.

Think About Succession Planning

Succession planning is about creating a sustainable road map for your business, and it’s something that should happen sooner rather than later. If you’re managing a large construction company, it can be difficult — if not impossible — to know the skills and competencies of each team member. Succession planning solutions sort LMS data to give management a quick snapshot of employee progress and potential.

Let your employees know that you recognize the importance of succession planning. A lack (or a perceived lack) of career advancement opportunities is the number one reason why employees quit their jobs. Being transparent with your succession planning will help achieve your own goals, and retain employees who will see the opportunity to develop within the company. Succession planning solutions encourage the creation of individual plans, the progress of which can be assessed by management with just a glance.

Construction managers know it can be difficult to hire team members — so remember it is just as essential to replace departing ones. Get started with your knowledge transfer and succession planning today, and Baby Boomer retirement will be more of a speed bump than a sinkhole.