I am issuing a challenge!

On behalf of the OGCA and the entire construction industry, I have decided to issue a challenge to everyone reading this article!

Yes, the challenge is wide-reaching, but this is the type of challenge that has the potential to yield incredibly positive outcomes; if you so choose to accept the terms!

Now, before anyone gets offended or misunderstands, this is not one of those challenges where you are expected to meet me in the parking lot or out in the back alley. Nor is it some ridiculous Pokémon challenge where you need to “catch them all.” It is actually something constructive that may essentially alter how people are connected to construction.

The terms of the challenge are straightforward and relatively simple.

Firstly, I challenge each and every one of you to talk to one person who is not currently in the construction industry daily, for an entire month.

I know that most of the people you speak to daily are within construction, but with the government-mandated restrictions loosening and the vaccination rates increasing, you will all be progressively going out to restaurants, activities, gatherings and shopping. (So stop making excuses and keep listening to the instructions.)

The point is to talk to someone who has perhaps been displaced by COVID-19; and there are a lot of them. These people may have lost their jobs and are currently picking up what they can to get by. Or whoever you speak to may know someone in this situation. There are no limits to whom you can speak. Uber drivers, cashiers, waiters and bartenders, at the hair salon, drive through window — anywhere is within bounds. Heck, you can even talk to all the baristas at the local coffee shop where you pick up your ridiculously long sounding coffee that you order every morning. Simple enough criteria, as long as that person is not currently from our industry.

Now before you have all claimed victory before the actual challenge begins, there are still specifics to you must adhere

The second term is that you must ask that person if they have ever considered a career in construction. And then you must discuss with them the potential possibilities that a career in construction has to offer. Don’t worry. You are not limited to the general contractor category. You can highlight any aspect of construction from the trades in general to a specific trade that you know needs people. I encourage you to also advocate for our valuable suppliers who always need people to manufacture, distribute and sell products. There are also our supportive players such as accountants, lawyers, insurance and bonding people — the list goes on… If you are really keen on winning, you can also talk about your own company and how amazing it is to work for you. The only requirement is that it must be a career in construction.

Thirdly, you cannot speak to the same person daily and count that as progression. I highly recommend speaking to the same person you have in a previous encounter to reinforce and reiterate how amazing construction is and how one can access a satisfying role in our industry, but to follow the rules, you do need to speak to new people each and every day. Relax, it’s not that hard.

Lastly, and this one is only optional since strict adherence is probably not possible, but I want everyone in our industry to keep track of who they spoke to. This can be accomplished in a myriad of ways through perhaps a quick notation on your calendar or a business card or a name scribbled on the back of a napkin. This will ensure that all of us are actually advancing the challenge and not slacking.

Speaking of slacking, if you should miss a day, you are not out! This just means that you need to make up for that day on a future date. But don’t let too many of these occur, otherwise you may need to resort to a soapbox on the street corner or going door to door asking people if they have ever heard the “good word?” Clearly, that word is construction!

So why the challenge? Let me break it down for you.

The construction industry is a fantastic place to work, but we do a terrible job of promoting ourselves. Since there isn’t a clear-cut option for students to access all of the careers in construction at the school level, and due to an overwhelming emphasis being placed only on the trades, the general public really has no clue how amazing our industry is or how to access these careers. So, this is how we change that, through one person at a time. We need to become our best cheerleaders and sooner than later.

Before any of you throw your hands up and claim that this will take forever, let me show you how this crazy plan will work to our favour.

Let’s begin with 200 contractors, those representing the OGCA. Now each contractor has, let’s say 10 employees (conservatively speaking). We now have 2,000 people talking to one different person daily for 30 days. In one month, we have directly communicated with 60,000 people who aren’t in construction, and that is keeping things conservative for our assumptions.

Continuing our assumption, let’s say that 10% are interested and continue talking with us and want to develop a role within the construction industry. That is 6,000 new potential employees within that first month! Now this is where the compounding happens. If assuming the initial 2,000 people continue this trend, then within sixteen (16) months, we have 100,000 new people into construction.

The rationale for this crazy scheme is simple. To truly communicate to someone about construction, it should be done on a one-to-one basis, since our industry is so encompassing, new entrants can’t see the forest through the trees. We need to guide them to a place where they have a satisfying career and we have the necessary people we need to keep construction thriving.

So, what do you win for participating?

  • You attract people to where they need to be.
  • You become a cheerleader and constant advocate for construction.
  • You take this simple plan and make it a movement wherein we change how construction is viewed by the general public and how people communicate about our industry.

So, I ask again… Are you up for the challenge?

Should anyone want to discuss how else to attract more people to our industry or if you require any assistance from the OGCA, please contact me directly at giovanni@ogca.wpengine.com or via phone at 905.671.3969.