How to Promote Intergenerational Mentorship in Construction

How to Promote Intergenerational Mentorship in Construction

Intergenerational mentorship across all industries has been a time-honoured tradition. As such, many professionals who start in the construction industry learn the trade from those who came before them.

Building a culture focused on mentorship and learning at every level is one way construction companies can ensure sustained growth and the continued success of their employees.

Mentoring is important to help rising current leaders navigate career challenges. Seasoned professionals generally feel empowered by the opportunity to share the lessons they have gleaned over the years while working in the industry, while junior level professionals seek to benefit from traditional techniques and years of in-the-field experience.

In turn, junior staffers can provide their teams with fresh outlooks on how to tackle projects as well as insight into emerging technologies currently being taught at the collegiate level. Through collaboration on all sides, the benefits of having multiple perspectives present are apparent.
While intergenerational teams are inherent in the construction field, below are several tips for successfully promoting mentorship between team members into everyday operations and elevating its importance to the entire firm.


To emphasise a collaborative spirit and environment where all employees feel their voice is heard, leaders should remain open to everyone’s ideas and experiences. It is easy to simply prioritise the feedback of the most senior staff; however, taking note of all viewpoints and confirming everyone’s thoughts are considered is vital to any operation.


Leverage daily developmental experiences for teaching younger staff members. This step is critical to ensuring knowledge sharing and fostering a culture of mentorship between teammates. Additionally, this helps to facilitate certain processes that have been engrained within the companies’ typical procedures. 


Actively make an effort to staff onsite project teams with people who have different backgrounds and experience. It will guarantee a variety of on-the-job perspectives and levels of knowledge, which produces more opportunities for both teaching and learning. 


Cultivate a workplace where early career professionals feel comfortable with sharing their opinions and speaking up when they have questions. Businesses must offset any perceived tension between generations by highlighting all employees’ skills and contributions on a regular basis. Ensure the atmosphere in which staff is working is one that uplifts and shows support for all project team members.


While it is essential for more experienced employees to provide mentorship and training to junior staff, there is something to be said about learning from a new generation of employees. Encourage senior team members to take opportunities to not only teach but learn from younger employees as well.

By incorporating winning strategies for maximising generational strengths, companies have the opportunity to strengthen their futures and help those in their corporations build lifelong skills. Hiring smart, talented individuals with high integrity and holding onto those people throughout their careers is the key to generating a dynamic and thriving culture in any company. By nurturing early career professionals from the very start, teams start to create spaces for bonding and can help break down the walls between various age groups. 
Investing in an employee’s personal and professional development is a direct investment into a company’s future. Staff members are better equipped to deliver world-class solutions for clients, and industry partners and businesses can offer their employees a more satisfying and rewarding career path. 
Over the past several years, there have been more organisations of all types focusing on attracting, developing and mentoring diverse individuals in the construction field. This reality is coinciding with an increased awareness that most, if not all, companies can benefit from having a more diverse workplace including better financial outcomes, performance and client satisfaction. The hope is that this emphasis on diversity will continue to evolve in 2018 and lead to a rise in diversity among leadership positions.

This article was written by Sarah Carr , Vice President, Education Services Group, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. It was first published in the Construction Executive.

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