Tuesday, June 07, 2011 6:51 PM
Coping with Change
Granting the top spot to the ongoing economic upset, perhaps the second most challenging situation we face today—and one that will become even more critical in the future—is the evolving makeup of our work force. Nationwide, nearly two-thirds of our construction workers do not have English as their primary language, and in many cases do not speak, read, or understand English at all.
Technology can and will help us adapt to the situation, but that’s only a small part of the answer. The solution lies with you and your ability to stay on the front side of the power curve when it comes to change. What does this entail? Well to begin with, it means taking an inventory of your entire operation to see how it measures up to the challenge. Just what are the language and cultural conditions in your work force? Do such things as your policy manual, instructions, signage, and warning decals reflect the actual needs of your work force? Are you and your supervisors able to communicate fully and precisely with your workers? Have you found ways to provide both the education and training to develop the language and technical skills of your non-English speaking workers?
Those who are able to meet challenges such as these will have a distinct advantage over those who carry on “business-as-usual.” Staying on top of change is tough, but luckily there are a lot of resources out there to help. We’re one of them, and it’s our job to tell you about them. But you can help us be even more valuable by letting us know about the changes you’re experiencing and the steps you’ve taken to stay on top of them.
Beginning in our July/August issue we will be presenting a “Training” column for which, though we’ll do the writing, we first need to hear from you. If you’ve met and overcome challenges of change through training, how about contacting us by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and allowing us to share your experiences with others?