If you scroll through your newsfeed these days, chances are you’ll come across a new post or conversation about the Great Resignation. The phrase refers to approximately 33 million US workers who have left their job since early 2021.
This mass exodus from the workforce paired with an existing labor shortage makes hiring and retaining workers increasingly challenging for the construction industry. Beyond that, this disproportionately impacts female workers who are already underrepresented across the construction industry. According to the Guardian, “During the pandemic, women have exited the labor force at twice the rate that men have; their participation in the paid labor force is now the lowest it has been in more than 30 years.”
To overcome the impact of the Great Resignation and continue attracting a diverse workforce, construction firms need to embrace the Great Reset. This means adopting more flexible and people-first policies that prioritize work-life balance. Bridgit, a construction technology firm that creates workforce planning solutions for general contractors, has been ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting policies that put people first. Furthermore, the company has remained a champion for inclusion within the construction industry to attract a stronger and more diverse workforce on the whole.
To gain insight into Bridgit’s strategy, we spoke to Lauren Lake, COO & Co-Founder of the company, about how the construction industry can attract and retain talent, the importance of family-friendly policies, and more.
What opportunities do you think construction firms have to attract new and diverse talent during the Great Resignation and labor shortage?
There’s a massive opportunity for construction to attract people who are looking for a change. In order to do that, the construction industry will have to be open-minded and recognize that these individuals will likely be coming from other industries and will not have the same level of experience, if any. While the perception in construction is that hard skills pay bills, this is an industry with many doors and career paths, and there are transferable skills that others can bring with them. The industry can capitalize on the shifting job market if opportunities are communicated well.
Bridgit went through a similar challenge. We consistently heard that barriers to entry in tech were high, so we hosted a “Getting into Tech” event to showcase the opportunities that exist outside of just writing code. We sold out in half an hour. We learned that if we presented the full scope of the opportunities available, more people would listen, and we could cast a wider net. This not only helped us grow our team faster, but it built a diverse team with people from different industry backgrounds who continue to bring new perspectives to the table to this day.
How is your own company strategizing to retain talent amidst the Great Resignation?
Passion, purpose, and belonging. Transforming the workforce planning process for an entire industry doesn’t happen overnight. Bridgit Bench helps general contractors put their people first and we truly believe in what we’re building. Knowing we’re making a significant change in our users’ lives and the ripple effect it will have throughout their company gives our team an incredible sense of purpose.
At Bridgit, we focus a lot on teamwork and our employees have felt close to each other and supported despite the effects of the pandemic. Carrying out the vision excites our team and the strong camaraderie and bond between team members has made our company strong, despite the changes in the work environment happening right now.
Do you think more construction firms will prioritize family-friendly policies in the future of work?
We’ve seen, both with Bridgit and our customers, the impact of prioritizing your people. Knowing your company is looking after your needs and creating a team environment for everyone helps you be excited for the challenges ahead.
When it comes to a people-first approach, we practice what we preach. We’ve seen the importance of trusting our team and giving them the power to make their own decisions about how they work. Giving this space has allowed our people to perform at their best. At Bridgit we give team members flexibility in location and hours, we have an open vacation policy to empower employees to take time for themselves, and we have expanded our parental leave plan so our people can put their families first. We are intentional in building a diverse team and can proudly say we have a 50/50 gender split across our team of 100 people.
We know that creating a diverse and inclusive team emphasizing work-life balance has paid off for Bridgit, which leads us to believe there’s a big opportunity for general contractors to implement similar policies to attract and retain the diverse talent that’s widely sought after.
Share Your Thoughts on the Future of Work
Have thoughts about the Great Resignation and Great Reset and their impact on the construction industry? Share your thoughts in The Big Room, our community of construction professionals.