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Editor's Desk

Monday, May 14, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kevin B. Wood, LS
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The primary issue that most Surveyors deal with is staffing. It does not matter if you are a large firm or a smaller sole proprietor, you must hire at some point. The VAS is pushing to create a Workforce Development strategy that will help the upcoming generation follow a path into the Survey discipline. The current Surveyor is a definite stereotype, but what will the future bring?

The Survey office is already changing in diversity but the younger and future generations approach work and life in a different manner. How does the average Surveyor adjust? Maybe a blueprint of what the young Surveyor might look like will help. I had ideas of what that might be but thought it better to ask a few questions to others. So, I spoke to one person from the Generation X and then one person from the Millennial group. Below are some comments based on that conversation:

Gen-X: 1965-1979

a.       Hard working

b.       Goal oriented

c.       Family oriented

d.       Hard work values

e.       “Work education” equally valued to “formal education”

f.        Social skills are important

g.       A telephone call is the first line of communication

h.       Looks at work as a series of projects

i.         Verbal information/instruction is easily received

Millennials: 1980-1994

a.       Less traditional family emphasis

b.       Contemporary values

c.       More focused on personal improvement or achievement

d.       Concentrates on life outside of work

e.       Formal education is important

f.        Better social media skills

g.       The first step in communication-use email or social media, not the phone

h.       Sees work as part of the career selection, more personal

i.         Criticism is taken as a point against character, needs positive reinforcement

j.         Written information/instruction may be received easier

The average Surveyor works long hours and sacrifices a great deal of his own time to the project at hand. We have expectations of others to provide similar commitment. The different generations have a great deal to offer. Each person may be ready to work just as hard as you, but the reasons may not be the same. Working with the future generations will mean expressing ourselves in a different manner. This includes explaining projects through different formats. It also includes communication through various methods. Team building is the modern concept to create chemistry in the work place. Relationships are important, and each generation approaches those relationships differently.

Creating a culture for the future Survey office will take some changes but not at a sacrifice to quality. The next generation is talented and willing to try many new things. This will help with advancement in technology. The current generation may not create duplicates of who they are, but our current selves may not be the right person for future work in surveying. So, we need to create a path for young Surveyors in the profession but while we are waiting on them to arrive we will also need to create an environment that will develop that talent. I am sure there are many Surveyors with a better understanding of Generation X and the Millennial, but my suggestion is to start a conversation with your staff. Find out what and how they see things. Maybe it will allow you to mentor the next Surveyor with a little more confidence and not quite as much stress.

 

Kevin B. Wood, LS

Virginia Association of Surveyors

2nd Vice President