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6 Ways to Motivate Construction Staff

One of the worst phrases a company owner can say, a phrase that almost always leads to trouble, if not an entire business shut down, is “I’ll just do it myself.” Unfortunately, it’s a common saying among owners and managers who can’t seem to figure out their staff.

If you’ve been on the brink of uttering these words, you’ve no doubt experienced some issues with your employees. They may not want to follow directions, get work done on time or be accountable for their actions. While they may have legitimate excuses for their actions- or inactions- the results are the same: they hurt your business.

While a quick solution would be to do the job yourself or hire an entirely new crew, that’s a short-term one. You’ll likely still fall short of deadlines and experience the same issues with the new hires. The secret is to get your staff to actually become invested in your company, to care about what happens to it, your profits and your customers. To do this, you have to know how to inspire and motivate them in the field.

Motivating Your Construction Staff

Inspiring your professional and home construction employees to work harder and work better can be done in several different ways. Keep in mind that each type of motivation may not work for everyone. One employee may be motivated with one solution, but the same one may fall short of being helpful for another.

1. Provide Fair Compensation

This one may seem obvious, but some employers fall short when it comes to paying their staff. Keep in mind that a pay raise is not always needed to motivate staff. Compensation in other forms works well too. Paid vacation time, health insurance and other extras can inspire employees to work a little harder and a little better for you.

2. Give Proper Recognition

Did you know that many of your employees would work harder for recognition than extra money? It may be hard to believe, but if you doubt, it just ask them. For many, work is the only place where they are recognized for their skills and talent. Providing them with recognition helps boost their confidence and self-esteem.

So, how do you provide this recognition? While a compliment here or there or a pat on the back can be rewarding, it also helps to make the recognition a bit more structure. Employee of the month, or quarter, awards help you provide that recognition in a public way. It also creates a little healthy competition among employees.

3. Offer Training

Younger employees may not have the experience of your seasoned staff, and their jobs may reflect that. It’s hard to motivate someone who simply sweeps floors or carries lumber every day, though. For these employees, you need to think about what suits their particular generation. The young today are all about learning and personal growth. It’s hard to maintain their loyalty at times; they want to move on to bigger and better things and will quickly walk for a better paycheck.

To motivate these employees in the field, you need to appeal to their need to advance. Provide them with opportunities to train and learn new things on the job. As they learn, move them up the ladder and compensate their change in status with a change in pay. Push them to keep learning, and they’ll push themselves to do better.

4. Be Clear About What you Expect

Employers are famous for the line, “Work hard, and try your best.” Unfortunately, this doesn’t make your expectations very clear and the results can vary from employee to employee. Employee 1 may give 100 percent this week and only complete half of the footings in your man-hour budget by Friday. Employee 2 may give 100 percent and complete only a quarter of that.

To properly keep the men and women in your workforce inspired, you need to make your expectations of them clear. Set target for them. For instance, instead of saying, “I really need those invoices done,” say, “The invoices must be complete and sent out by the last day of the month.” This defines a goal for the employees. Follow this up with clear definitions of both the consequences and rewards given for failing or completing the task.

5. Offer Bonuses

Money talks, and many employees will work harder and work longer hours if a bit more pay is the end result. Bonuses work well for these types of workers, but only if you provide them in a structured way.

Start by addressing each of your employees at once about the bonus system; a meeting where all of them are present is important to make sure each has the information they need to succeed. Then, let them know the exact nature of the bonus and what will be expected of them if they want to earn it. For instance, if you’re trying to inspire safety in the field, consider a bonus system that involves putting aside a certain amount of money per employee for every day during the quarter there are no accidents or injuries. At the end of the quarter, present each employee with the bonus as a reward for their efforts to remain safe.

6. Get Feedback

Your construction staff are much more likely to care about your company and the clients you work for if they have a say in the company’s goals, future and success. To give them the opportunity to play a role in your business, take time each month or each quarter to ask them for feedback. They may actually have more insight into the specific every-day workings better than you do, and their feedback may be extremely valuable and help you increase productivity and improve efficiency. Listen to what they have to say, providing them with several platforms, including written and in-person, in which to voice their opinion.

Once you have their feedback, don’t stop there. Let them know they are part of the company’s future by addressing what they have to say in as many ways as you can.

Want to ensure the success of your company? Use these steps to motivate and inspire your construction staff in the field.


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