Understanding your construction workforce is the key to success
With coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination rates on the rise, and mask mandates being lifted across the country on a daily basis, people are inching toward post-pandemic life with a mixture of caution and hope. But as demand begins to pick back up, and a return to normal seems inevitable, a new set of challenges are threatening to impact the way businesses operate moving forward.
A recent business strategy report released by trend forecasting company WGSN determined the general population has been forever changed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and have been navigating the “new normal” in drastically different ways. According to the findings of the company’s Future Consumer 2023 case study, this has resulted in the emergence of four new consumer groups each defined by a specific set of desires, motivations, fears and expectations.
The first group described by WSGN is the Predictors, who are driven by their need to seek out stability, security, comfort, and normality in all aspects of their life. The three other emerging consumer groups are categorized as follows: The New Romantics, who are focused on rethinking their whole work/life balance in the aftermath of the pandemic. The Conductors, who have navigated the pandemic (and beyond) by channeling their energy in various directions and by pursuing new opportunities. And the Impossibles, a cohort of activists who are fueled by anger and driven to use technology to create a future in which anything is possible.
While WGSN’s findings may not seem immediately applicable to the construction industry, we’re already seeing how shifting priorities are inspiring change across all industries. As such, it’s possible that better understanding how to communicate with and sell yourself to consumers in these contrasting groups could be the key to attracting the right type of talent for your business.
In regard to changes being made within the construction industry as a result of the pandemic, Dodge Data & Analytics’ Safety Management in the Construction Industry 2021 study recently found that more than one in three contractors (35%) increased online training over the 12 months prior to the study being conducted, and nearly two-thirds (63%) of contractors now use it. That study also gathered data suggesting three quarters (75%) of industry employees expect some of the changes they’ve implemented to be permanent, with a particular focus on their increased attention to cleanliness/sanitation (53%) and adjusted safety and work procedures (42%).
These statistics seem to support the current trend of businesses actively addressing the evolving wants and needs of their workforce post-pandemic. We’re suggesting that leaders within the construction and manufacturing industries take this a step further by familiarizing themselves with the four different types of consumers determined by WGSN so that they can start tailoring their communications accordingly.
So what does that look like? It looks like crafting everything from your purpose and positioning, to your brand, messaging, website, and job postings while taking the four emerging groups into consideration – and speaking to each as they would want to be spoken to. This is especially important when communicating with the laborers, drivers, project managers, superintendents, and estimators who belong to a different consumer group than yourself, and who you’re trying to recruit and retain.
In the words of WGSN President & CEO Carla Buzasi, “Normal has been redefined for us all. And while the pandemic has shifted both our world and our thinking, there is cause for reflection and optimism. Careful planning, an open mind and a flexible approach will be crucial to future survival and success for all brands and businesses.”
Simply put, businesses who engineer their messaging and marketing strategies to connect with their audience on a personal level are sure to make stronger, longer-lasting connections. And understanding how people within the emerging consumer groups navigate the world and workplace is a great place to start.
Photo credit: Benjamin Jenkins
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