Last week, we talked about the challenge that is presented by the immense complexity of our world. Often, we hear the lament, “I didn’t need this much training when I started working in this industry. I figured things out on my own.” It’s our contention that there is a lot more information to absorb today than there was twenty years ago, and to get our teams off to their best start, we need to make sure our people have access to all the training they need.
This week, we’ll address another common lament. “If I hire a college graduate, don’t they have all the training they need?” The truth, again, is more complex than it might first seem.
College is increasingly important in today’s world, and we learn much that matters there. At college, students learn to commit to an occupation, to a specialty perhaps. They learn to show up, every day. They learn to ‘get their houses in order,’ managing deadlines and workload, often amidst real-life bills and full time jobs.
Construction Management majors come out of school having seen the textbook elements of the industry. They have seen drawings and understand the base elements of the construction world. Hopefully, they have some skill with software tools that your organization may or may not use. They know the parts that come from the book.
They don’t know much at all about the day in, day out grind of a construction process, let alone your unique and specific brand of that process.
Construction Management majors come out of college ready to learn construction.
There is really only one way to learn to build a thing, and that’s to build the thing. Whether we’re talking about assembling an IKEA chair or a 60 story tower, that truth remains. What’s more, the only way to learn not to make the mistakes that are prevalent all around us is to make those mistakes, hopefully just once.
You, however, have a business to run. You have high-level responsibilities to attend, decisions about your organization’s direction, processes and management. You don’t have time to watch the new hire. Maybe your organization is set up in such a way that someone does have that time, but often we hear from engineers and foremen, and even assistant project managers that that isn’t the case.
New hires without proper training do their best, get their hands dirty and start making mistakes, and at the end of the day, if the mistakes weren’t too major, and a few things fall their way, they eventually learn over time, how not to make the mistakes – how to fix the mistakes they do make.
There’s another way. If someone has the time to guide them, to mentor them and watch them – not doing everything for them, but walking them through it, catching those mistakes soon enough to prevent disaster, and teaching them to clean up their messes, they learn much faster, and with less risk for the organization.
Years ago, Jason showed up, fresh out of college for the first day of his first project, and was fortunate enough to meet just such a mentor. An experienced Project Engineer who had the time, the patience and the knowledge to coach Jason through all the pitfalls of a first project, and that experience may be part of why we focus so intently on this kind of training to this day.
That PE was Michael Martin, and he works here at Arcade today, offering the breadth of experience, understanding of the technical details of a building project, and patience that helped Jason make it through his first project (under budget and ahead of schedule!)
It’s our contention that when a team member who seemed like a good fit fails at an organization, the most common reason for that failure is a lack of training. Don’t let your brightest and best fall by the wayside. Learn more about what we can offer on our Construction Mentoring and Project Coaching page or give us a call today!