Working Productively with Different Generations at the Construction Site

In today’s work environment, we are faced with the multiple demands of work load and responsibilities.  On top of that, we also need to ensure we work well with our colleagues.  In construction, this can sometimes prove to be a challenging task being involved with many groups and especially working with a wide generation gap.  Differences in opinion and methods can sometimes cause conflict and heighten stress levels especially when working on a job site where client deadlines are a priority.  We live in a fast-paced world where achieving operational excellence means working with a diverse team to combine the very best skillsets for business success.

Let’s review the qualities that each generation can bring to the big picture:


Most people from this group have worked for one employer throughout their career.  This group is loyal, committed and are willing to work beyond retirement age.  Some, are also coming out of retirement and re-entering the workforce.  These individuals value the traditional methods of construction.  They pride themselves with quality output and are not afraid to work long hard hours.

Baby Boomers

This collective usually holds senior level management positions and comfortably oversee larger construction projects.  Like Traditionalists, they like to carve out the road map to productivity and enforce their leadership abilities.  They too, are willing to commit to working extensive hours on the job site and like to ensure the job is done right.

Generation X

Many employees in this bracket hold mid-senior level management construction roles.  They are adept in mentoring others and comfortable working on complex projects.  This group has benefitted from growing up with technology advancements that have defined the primary stages of the digital age.  They work well with tools, machinery, mobile devices and other technologies.


Also known as Gen-Y, this group is in tune with the tech world.  Varying work schedules, remote and contract roles are what they have seen in the workplace.  They rely heavily on their devices for communications and work.  This group is also big on the environment, renewable energy and sustainable anything.  They want to preserve the world and will work on strategies in the construction workplace to create processes and procedures to uphold these values.

Generation Z

This emerging group of construction professionals relies on technology the most.  This collective is largely responsible for the gig economy.  They are all fully equipped with entrepreneurial flair and are great multitaskers.  This makes them ideal for apprenticeships and general labour projects.  Their love for all things “techie” makes them great administrators for a busy construction office also.

So how do we put this all together to create a balanced and harmonious work environment for everyone?  We all need to learn to get along.  An important factor to keep in mind is to not dwell on differences but looks for ways that can be positive for the team and overall business.

Here’s a few tips to overcome challenges working with older and younger generations when working on-site:

  1. Build collaborative relationships and try different approaches. You know the old saying, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” There are many ways to learn how to work with different people – be open to new ideas and take the time to get to know your colleagues well.
  2. Learn to embrace differences. When everyone is working for the greater good of the company then it’s time combine your skill sets and expertise as a team to move forward with a plan.
  3. Consider different communication methods. Texting, phone calls, emails and even showing up at your colleague’s desk once in awhile are all great ways to connect.
  4. Motivate one another by conducting reverse mentoring activities. We can all learn something from one another.  For example, older employees can learn how to improve their social media techniques whereas the younger generation can learn how to strengthen their industry practices or terminology from the experienced individual.  This empowers everyone and brings different generations closer together.


While there are no hard and fast rules for any generation, there are many qualities that each group can bring to a workplace especially on the construction site.  Respecting and appreciating everyone’s differences and combining strengths results in a high-performing team!  We can also learn a lot about our colleagues and understand how their qualities make them an asset to the company.  Uncover hidden talent from your team and you may be pleasantly surprised with the results.  Let’s chat space planing and office design!  We want to hear from you!  Call 1-888-304-3114.