Across the country, employee engagement rates are alarmingly low. Only 32% of employees in the United States are engaged at work, according to a Gallup poll. That means that two out of three of your employees are disengaged with their work.
While every business owner dreams of a workforce that’s actively engaged in what they do, construction companies need to develop an engaging culture that produces results. Since construction workers work in a high-stress market, they must be engaged at work or their safety, and the safety of the project is compromised. So, how can construction companies increase engagement enough so that employees thrive at work?
You can create an environment where your employees enjoy coming to work every day if you do the following.
- Make Them Feel Valued
Your employees desperately want to feel valued. In a recent Ted Talk, Christine Porath, a Professor of Management at Georgetown University who studies what happens when people don’t feel appreciated at work, explained that incivility and underappreciation at work make people less motivated.
Porath further explained that during a study she conducted with Harvard Business Review it was found that, “The No. 1 thing that affected [employees] and that people seemed to want most was respect, or the sense of feeling valued. And that was more important than recognition, appreciation, than useful feedback, even than opportunities for learning and growth.
Of the people that felt respected, the study found that they were 92 percent more focused, 56 percent healthier, were more likely to stay with their company, and were 55 percent more engaged. If that doesn’t give you a reason to express appreciation to employees, what will?
To implement this into your company, try focusing on positive reinforcement. Express gratitude for a job well done. Send a company-wide email discussing project successes and congratulating specific employees. These little moments will do wonders for your firm.
Another way construction companies can value their employees is by emphasizing safety.
“Safety is a part of our daily conversation and at the forefront of everything we do,” said Matt Wollam, President of Wollam Construction. “Even if someone gets a small injury, it may not have a major impact to our company, but it hurts our employee’s life outside of work. That is not acceptable to our team. That’s why we set up projects that not only work safely but keep our people going home safely to their lives outside of work. Keeping our team safe is our top value. It’s really a part of how we built and continue to build our company culture.”
- Boost Morale
Construction companies have the opportunity to continually check in on employee engagement by looking at individual projects. “If a project isn’t going well the first thing we notice is the morale of the employees working on that particular project,” said Wollam. “Often we see that when a project is struggling, our employee morale is low. When that happens, we make sure to look for ways that we, as management, can support them.”
Wollam suggests looking at each of the factors that may be hurting the project. For instance, ask yourself about client and employee interaction. Is the relationship collaborative? If not, how can you support the construction team and client to build a win/win project?
“We believe that project morale feeds into company morale. The more we support our employees and be the voice of positivity on a project, the better results we will see,” said Wollam.
- Promote Positivity
Does your company promote a positive work culture? Leaders may set the tone, but employees also contribute to how the culture is shaped. This positivity culture begins during recruitment. While hiring new employees, it’s important that you look for influential, confident, team players.
People that are negative and who don’t want to work together aren’t good for your business or your employees.
“We unfortunately have had to part ways with people who were unable to fix their attitude—even senior level people,” said Wollam. “That’s why we’re determined to recruit positive team players who work well with others towards a common goal.”
Just as positivity is contagious, the opposite is true. If you hire positive personality types, your engagement will improve, and it’ll influence the projects they work on, people they work with, and your business over time.
- Get Involved
While improving the time spent at work is critical for employee engagement, getting involved outside of it is also helpful. You’ve probably heard about offices with bright colored walls, cool table set-ups, ping pong tables, swimming pools, and massage chairs, but what employees want is a team of support behind them. Fortunately, team-building occurs through work projects and in events outside the office.
“It’s important to do things outside of work that builds comradery. This summer in Eden, Utah we’re sponsoring a Spartan Race and opened it up for all of our employees,” said Wollam.
- Properly Compensate
No matter how you slice it, proper compensation is an integral part of engaging your employees. Make sure that you offer competitive wages and benefits to your employees. However, money only solves part of the problem. In today’s world, people are looking for more than that. Go beyond the mark by creating an attractive culture.
“If you give an unhappy employee a ten percent raise, they’ll be happy for a moment,” said Wollam. “Money doesn’t fix everything. It’s how you treat your people and work together.
Look at different ways to set yourself apart, and people will want to come and stay.”
As a construction firm that spends a lot of hours working as a team, we strive to build an environment that helps our employees enjoy what they do. To learn more about our culture contact us today.