How to Motivate Your Employees

September 8, 2016

Motivated Employees for a Satisfying Work Environment

Just like anyone else, construction workers and other skilled tradespeople respond to positive reinforcement, meaningful incentives and a satisfying work environment. That being said, there are specific quirks generally inherent to the heavy industries that affect where and how individual employees find motivation. While this list is by no means comprehensive or reflective of every single person working in the trades, here are some basic tips for keeping productivity high and employee morale up:

  •  Provide clear expectations and tie them to big-picture goals. Make sure every team member knows both what they are to do and why they are doing it. Most construction workers are motivated by the sense of accomplishment they get from a job well done — explaining how individual tasks contribute to the big picture is one of the best ways to get a more productive, engaged workforce.
  • Maintain open, two-way channels of communication between managers and staff. At the same time, communication has to be about more than just telling employees what to do. Staff should be empowered to come to management when they have a question or concern about any on-the-job practices, and management should openly solicit workers’ input when making decisions that will affect their day-to-day lives.
  • Let your team know that safety is a priority. An unsafe environment makes employees feel undervalued. Even if it doesn’t directly lead to an accident, a lax approach to safety can kill morale and drive team members to be less invested in their work. The time and money spent on proper safety equipment and training is an investment that will build loyalty and mitigate risk on a big project.


  • Recognize employees’ contributions to the success of a project. Recognition can be something as simple as a kind word from management, or it can involve structured reward programs for high performing workers. Don’t make the mistake of pitting employees against each other, though — rewards should be open to everyone.
  • Give ambitious and talented employees opportunities to grow. When staff members go the extra mile or demonstrate an uncommon ability on the job, let them know you notice it. Giving individuals opportunities to grow their careers — whether it’s by switching up their responsibilities or through more formal apprenticeship programs — is one of the best ways to encourage loyalty in the skilled trades.
  • Weed out the bad apples. Some employees don’t respond well to motivation of any kind. If you have a team member who is bringing a bad attitude to the job or who is simply there to collect a paycheck, let them know that behavior won’t be tolerated. Take corrective action if necessary.

Ultimately, good managers in any industry know the best way to motivate employees is to treat them like human beings. Promoting fairness, openness and communication creates a positive environment where even the most menial task is a valued contribution to the overall success of a project.

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