Do You Understand What Your Construction Employees Want (and Need)?

Times have changed.  It’s not enough to hire a team of people for a job and then let them go after a project wraps up.

Unlike years ago, today’s construction employee is not just in it for a paycheck — they’re looking for a viable career.

But this is fantastic news!  

Hiring people who are looking for a great career are the best people to have on your team because:

  • They’re dedicated to showing up every day both mentally and physically

  • They’ll strive to do the best job they possibly can

  • They’re happier, healthier, and more invested

  • You’ll have people who can get up to speed quickly for new projects


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Read on to learn how to foster an engaging and dynamic environment that sets great people up for success with your company.

An Engaged Workforce is a Happy (and Loyal) Workforce

Have you ever been at a job and felt as though your boss didn’t appreciate you or value the time you put into your day to day activities and tasks? You’re not alone.  

A 2017 Gallup poll showed that only 15% of employees worldwide are engaged in their jobs.  What does that mean for the other 85% of employees?!

That they are in a state of limbo of hating their job, daydreaming of ghosting you or just working for the weekend?

It’s likely that many of these employees are experiencing some level of dissatisfaction with opportunities for growth, lack of recognition for their work, or they simply took the job because they sold their soul for a paycheck. (It happens. We’ve seen it.) Many people in the workforce, specifically millennials, are aching for a job where they feel appreciated and happy.  

While the percentage of workers feeling low engagement in their job may seem dismal, you as a company owner have the ability to turn this around and ensure that your team isn’t off interviewing elsewhere on their lunch break.  

Two ways to quickly boost morale are through recognition of work and recognizing desirable benefits and perks:

Recognize publicly, criticize privately

It’s important to take notice of when an employee is doing a great job.  When possible and when it makes sense, acknowledge them in front of the team. Highlighting their accomplishments will allow them to understand what they did well and will encourage positive momentum throughout other projects and opportunities.

PRO TIP: Some people are very uncomfortable with public displays of recognition.  It can be helpful to pull them aside and check first. If it would make them uncomfortable, you can do something less dramatic like making an announcement in the company newsletter or on social media. Even just the simple act of gaining acknowledgment from a superior is sometimes all it takes to make them feel great about the work they are doing for your company.   

On the flip side, if an employee isn’t performing to company standards, it’s important to let them know how they could improve; however, it’s absolutely critical to do this in private. The last thing you want to do is put them down in front of their team which can cause a loss of personal confidence and a loss of team confidence.

What is their motivation?  

While you can’t rely on a job perk to be a motivator in and of itself, you can offer attractive benefits that show employees you see them as more than a cog in the wheel.  Survey your employees to find out what perks would be attractive. Some employees are dealing with issues that can be distracting such as child care or caring for a parent.  

Flex time can really help these employees fight burn out and stress. For other employees, discounts to favorite retailers, gym memberships, new equipment, or an extra week off after five years of employment can go a long way to boosting morale.  

Importance of a Stable Career Path for Construction Employees

Stability is essential for all humans, especially so when it comes to a career. Many people rely on their paycheck to buy food, pay for rent or a mortgage, or to put their kids through school. While the paycheck is essential to most employees, it is not enough to create engagement in your workforce.  

While it is acceptable for today’s workforce to job hop, don’t be so quick to buy into the myth that young workers have no sense of commitment to their jobs.  Millennials are now the largest generation participating in the workforce, and contrary to popular discourse they are craving job stability.

A recent survey found that younger workers believe in long term positions (20+ years) and gaining access to training and development would keep a whopping 86% of them with their current employer.

No matter what stage or age, offering training, and development are some of the most important ways you can show employees that you care and that they have a future with you.  Work to cultivate training and development specific to your team and where they want to go in their careers.

For some this is cross-training as part of strategic planning  management training, professional craft training programs, or mentoring positions for those looking ahead to retirement.

Loyalty is a two-way street. You are more likely to gain a loyal and engaged construction employee if you hold up your end of the bargain by acknowledging them, helping them grow in their career, and providing the training and learning that will take them into the next five years and beyond.

When you engage your employees, you create success for everybody.

Create a supportive environment with the recognition, benefits, tools, and training that employees need to achieve long-term success with your company.  

In return, you’ll see a job that’s done right and done well the first time with a team that will stick by your side for years to come.

Do you have any unique ways of engaging your employees?  

Drop us a comment below! And while you’re here, sign up for News Wire.    

Josh Denton
Co Founder of Ground Up Construct. Josh Denton came to the world of construction through a broad career in consumer goods, specifically in the Action Sports Industry. He was surrounded by career minded leaders that lead him to project management in construction for retail locations globally. Through this experience he was exposed to the amazing professionals in construction and the talents they hold. As he witnessed amazing careers in construction he also realized that this was not a career path actively spoken about. This was solidified as he became the GM for a contractor. Professional glaziers and installers surrounded him yet none of them considered themselves the professionals that they are. He partnered with Josh Munns to change that narrative and bring a spotlight back to the strong careers that exist in construction.

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