ConstructionOnline Blog

Retaining Young Workers: 5 Ways to Boost Workplace Morale

As Gen Z workers enter the workforce, employers across all industries are witnessing a noticeable change. In recent years, employee expectations for the workplace have clearly shifted, placing a greater emphasis on workplace morale. To effectively build for the future, business owners should prepare for what these young employees look for in the workplace. 

Increased productivity and efficiency is linked to high morale, reduced employee turnover, improved quality of life, and overall increased profitability– accelerating the ROI business owners see from their team. According to a 2022 survey from FlexJobs, the number one reason people quit their job was because of “toxic company culture (62%)”. 

As older construction workers retire and companies try to attract younger workers, company cultures can be a dealbreaker. Average employee turnover rates are still high in 2024, and many employers are looking for solutions. What is it that young employees expect for lasting roles in the workforce? How can older generations adapt to Gen Z in the workplace?

1. Recognize Employee Accomplishments

Employees need to understand that their contributions are valued to feel continued encouragement in the workplace. There are multiple ways management teams show acknowledgement and appreciation to their employees. Organizing events, giving bonuses, or even writing a simple encouraging email from time-to-time positively influences morale tremendously

One of the ways we express our gratitude here at UDA Technologies is by throwing cookouts and other celebrations multiple times a year. This ensures that all of our hard-working employees feel recognized for their contributions. We hold these cookouts at the end of the college semester so that our co-op team members can participate as well. Taking into account small details like timing and food preferences can make your team's scheduled events feel more authentic and genuine.


We schedule the cookout on a Friday, during office hours. Our employees work hard all week for the company. It's contradictory to ask them to give up their weekend for an event to show our appreciation. 

Instead, we set aside a few hours during their workday. Doing so not only fosters a positive association between management and employees, but also enhances personal connections between employees.

2. Nurture a Respectful Environment

Company culture is the most important consideration for young professionals. The primary concern in company culture is the topic of respect, and the lack of such towards employees. When employees feel respected however, they feel more confident in their responsibilities– producing better and expedited results. 

In industries like construction, it's important to prioritize respect by having open conversations about diversity and inclusion. A 2021 study from the National Institute of Building Sciences found that out of 12,000 construction employees, 73% of Black or African American employees and 66% of female employees reported instances of discrimination in the workplace. 

Giving field managers and project supervisors sensitivity training helps them grow as individuals and also enhances the company's overall culture. If sensitivity training is not possible, simply talking about these issues can raise awareness and help make the industry more inclusive.

Some other easy ways to show respect in the workplace are to:

  • Treat employees as you would want them to treat management
  • Speak professionally to one another
  • Highlight an employee's talents
  • Positively phrase critical comments as constructive criticism

Human Resources Departments are experts in these areas. However, for businesses with limited resources, implementing an anonymous feedback system can be a great first step. When employees have these opportunities, they feel heard and valued. It also helps managers evaluate the status of their company-- determining what is working and what they can improve.

3. Leverage Flexibility

During the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, almost all young professionals had to shift to a fully remote position. Since the transition back from remote to onsite work, nearly 50% of young professionals expressed that the lack of remote options was the primary reason for searching for new opportunities (FlexJobs). The shift from a fully remote working environment back to a fully onsite working environment has been a difficult transition for many. 

Having flexible options in the workplace is linked to higher employee engagement. As long as management teams focus on setting expectations for employees, these employees become aware of their performance expectations. Then, they can accurately determine the best environment to efficiently meet these expectations. When these values line up, it allows employers to reduce employee turnover.


That being said, some employees prefer the in-person teamwork and encouragement that comes with fully onsite roles. If the role allows, it's important for young workers and other generations to have hybrid or remote options. Further, a hybrid or remote schedule can be more comfortable for disabled individuals.  Flexible work can reduce pressure, limit distractions, and enhance focus.

Many companies have found that offering hybrid work options mutually benefits both employees and management for several reasons. Flexible options help generate a better work life balance. When employees have more control over their work environment, they feel respected and are less likely to quit their job. As an added benefit, remote roles can decrease company overhead. 

4. Build a Strong Team

Collaboration and teamwork results in stronger relationships between team members. According to a Gusto survey, besides salary, 37% of employees stated that the reason they stayed with their company was because of the team they work with. Strong relationships between colleagues can foster a sense of community within the company– improving teamwork, collaboration, and communication.

One way that companies encourage collaboration is by clarifying roles and teams. Better communication results in improved clarity and efficiency between employees - decreasing potential delays and increasing company profitability. Creating a clear network between employees reduces liability and improves task completion rates and accuracy. Additionally, having great people on staff that bring a positive attitude, strength, and results builds an inviting environment.

Proper organization instills workplace confidence and encourages collaboration. Having a system in place to keep a team connected is important-- it ensures that important information does not get lost, and collaboration is easily accessible.


Construction management software is a great resource to facilitate teamwork and consolidate resources. Site-to-office, office-to-remote, and leadership-to-employee communication has never been easier than with web-based construction management software like ConstructionOnline.

5. Embrace Labor Limitations

Evolving workplace dynamics, environments, and modern technology have enabled the importance of recognizing labor limitations. Gen Z workers have been the most vocal about the importance of flex days in the workplace. However, employees from all generations have increasingly experienced the benefit of taking a day of leave. Having the flexibility to do so is part of what makes a work environment attractive to young workers.

Between 1,500 actively employed adult Americans, 63% opted for a flex day– keeping them feeling fresh, recharged, and engaged. 44% of employees from all generations claim they already take mental health days but disguise them as sick days. They understand what is expected of them at work, but many express that they are afraid of how their employers would respond.

This is not to say that hard-working employees resort to “laziness”. Instead, the motivation that once fueled a young professional’s passion will die out. This leads to decreased productivity, workplace loyalty, and encouragement. Many employers have begun to proactively prevent motivation burnout by recognizing labor limitations and offering more flexibility for workers. 

Key Takeaways >

> The newer generation of employees emphasize the need for healthy work environments.

> For growth-minded companies currently hiring employees in this age range, studies show that the likelihood that an employee sticks with a company for the long haul is dependent on the workplace environment.

> By proactively understanding trends in the younger generation’s workplace expectations, companies can set their team up for success.

> Hiring younger generations equips companies to build the next generation of team members to continue company growth.

> By adding modern perspectives to the team, companies get to expand their client base and connect with younger clients.  

Topics: Business Building Best Practices