As a construction business owner, you need your employees to provide results in order to meet a demanding project schedule. In today’s economic reality of increasing workloads and shrinking qualified skilled worker availability, meeting job deadlines can be difficult. Compounding the issue is the challenge of low morale among workers as project challenges become evident to the workforce. As fewer skilled workers are expected to produce more work in often-difficult timetables, morale on many job sites tends to suffer.

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To combat this issue, improving construction project morale has become a challenge for many owners. Low morale not only affects project deadlines, but worker safety is also a real danger. Improving construction project morale require creative tactics that will instill a positive change in your employees on site before dangerous conditions arise.

Here are three simple solutions that can help improve morale on the job site.

1.  Engage Your Team – Always Ask For Feedback

The job site is a team environment. Your workers are on the front lines and often become aware of problems or issues on a job site well before management. Be open to this and give them permission to contribute in a positive way. Every employee in every industry wants to feel like they are contributing to their job in a positive manner. Open communication is the best way to know their concerns and give them a voice for positive change.

As a manager, their feedback will provide valuable information about what is working on site, and just as importantly what needs improvement. Making changes based on their feedback is sure to improve morale on the job, as they will feel that their opinion matters and that they are contributing to the team effort. Try brainstorming with employees, listening to and acting upon their suggestions!

2.  Develop a Transparent Path For Advancement

All employees want to know that they have a chance to advance their careers and that you, as the company owner, have their social welfare in mind. Policies like a clear path for promotion, skills upgrade training opportunities, and salary adjustments can go far in improving morale. Remember, however, it’s important that expectations are set and met, advancement is more appreciated when it’s earned. For example, base salary increases and job advancement on measurable productivity increases. Set parameters and conditions and make sure to stick to them.

3.  Offer Bonuses

While setting conditions is important, a recent Harvard University study found that giving a clear bonus, or unconditional or surprise financial gifts can help keep morale up among workers. It shows appreciation and offers incentive to work even harder. In fact, the same study found that giving gifts and bonuses is even more efficient than hiring new workers.

We’ve barely scratched the surface on the opportunities to engage and motivate your workforce. As the industry continues to improve and labor shortages multiply, it becomes more important than ever before to keep your skilled workers motivated and happy. Improving construction project morale is a reality of the new worker paradigm. Take a creative approach to keep your valuable employees, happy, safe, and on the job.

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The CLMA® is an online application designed to help owners, contractors, unions and other industry stakeholders dynamically understand the skilled labor market in a collaborative environment and know how to more effectively manage project labor risk.