Why adding this tool to your tech stack can alleviate your company's workforce shortage
by Anthony Delmedico
September 23, 2019

One of the latest and greatest trends to help construction businesses succeed is virtual reality (VR) training. Construction companies throughout the nation are using VR training to beat the labor shortage and attract, recruit, train and retain highly qualified staff.

Nowadays, the things we can do at the touch of a button are incredible. The construction industry utilizes an amazing array of technology to improve safety, jobsite monitoring, workplace performance, customer service enhancements and more. This allows companies the ability to do things only dreamed of before. The key to progress is innovation. And that includes a mindset to adopt new ways of doing things.

There are more technologies coming out every day, including apps, drone technologies, 3D jobsite simulators, measurement tools and safety enhancements. The sky is the limit. Digital technologies are picking up serious momentum and that is only growing, as these are becoming as important to us as a fax machine was to us back in 1980.

There are numerous reports stating that the construction industry is severely lagging behind other industries and that previous underinvestment in technology has been the root cause of low productivity. It’s no secret—one of the biggest hurdles in the construction industry today is attracting, recruiting, training and retaining talent. But there's a solution: technology. 

The Need for Emerging VR Technology

For construction companies to stay competitive and continue to compete in a world full of an increased need for infrastructure, commercial construction and restoration services, they need a steady pipeline of qualified staff. That doesn't have to mean trained or skilled staff, because those are simply harder and harder to come by. The trick may be in the training. But first, you need to attract them.

It is becoming increasingly important to attract the younger generations. Born between 1981-1996, millennials are not only the first digital generation, they are currently the largest segment in the workforce. Unfortunately, they are also known as the “least engaged generation in the workforce.” 

Born after 1997, Generation Z is the latest wave of young professionals entering the workforce. It is estimated that Gen Z will influences nearly $4 billion in discretionary spending by 2020 and will make up 40% of consumers. Most of Gen Z has used the internet and technology since a very young age and are very comfortable with it.

And coming up after Gen Z is Generation Alpha, the children of the millennials, born between 2011 and 2025. In about 10 years, they will be of working age.

Attract, Recruit & Retain Talent

Construction companies have had great difficulty recruiting and retaining talent, especially in the fields of production, property assessment and inspections, project management, estimating, and sales. Compared to previous generations, including the baby boomers, the younger generations have veered further and further away from the skilled trades.

To overcome this hurdle, many construction companies are now using VR goggles at career expositions and job fairs to attract the younger generations and show them what various company roles actually do on a daily basis. The technology helps package it up into a fun, lucrative opportunity—one solution to the problem of attracting and recruiting talent.

Beat the Labor Shortage With Cutting-Edge Training

Contractors throughout the nation are adopting VR training to overcome the hassles and headaches of the labor shortage. VR training allows construction business owners the ability to train their new hires, without additional staff time, resources or having to be dependent on the weather. VR training allows businesses to save major time, resources and money.

For example, a new hire in a commercial property inspection department can put on the VR goggles and be transported to a 500,000-square-foot roof to learn how to do a full-scale damage assessment.

In commercial production departments throughout the nation, contractors can train their employees and subcontractors on various roof installation procedures inside the 360-degree, fully immersed, real-life VR training experience. Additionally, the apps are in both English and Spanish, which helps beat the language barrier, too.

Education & Entertainment = Edutainment

VR training goggles are becoming increasingly popular because edutainment is as important as the technology itself. VR is fun to use and watch. It’s tangible. It’s interesting. It’s real. And it’s brand new to the industry, which adds to the novelty factor. 

Industry Disruption & Virtual Reality

While unemployment is currently low and jobs are abundant, it can be tough to find qualified hires in this economy—especially in the construction industry. Many construction business owners are in a constant period of growth and are often moving through the hiring process. For any business to thrive, we all know retention is key. The less time, resources and money you have to spend attracting, hiring new staff due to high turnover, the better.

It’s important for the industry to learn how to attract and retain the younger generations and keep them on your team. One effective way is by utilizing technology from the onset. The competitive landscape is ever changing, and VR training has filled a massive void in the market. Companies have two choices: evolve or dissolve.

Training Evolved

Training time and the many resources involved can quickly add up to one hefty investment for construction business owners. Maybe your best efforts at building your train-the-trainer program have failed, or your top performer isn’t in fact a great trainer. Or maybe you find yourself having to get involved in the middle of personality conflicts and office squabbles. Whatever the issue, you can eliminate all of this with a virtual reality training program.

Rain or shine, new hires can train indoors, in a real-life virtual platform with a laser pointer and a set of goggles. Welcome to the future of the industry.