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Build high morale with your construction workforce with these 3 tips

There’s hardly an industry where retention isn’t a common topic among senior leadership, but it’s nothing short of a burning issue in markets that rely on highly skilled staff to function.

Construction companies know the debates around it all too well. In a sector where it can be difficult to create a culture of employee engagement, it’s not uncommon to find low morale as a challenge. Outside influences due to workforce travel, like poor accommodations and lengthy time away from family, can amplify these effects tenfold.

There’s good news though: there’s something your company can do about it. Here are three ways your team can improve engagement and build up morale:

1. Look to high performers for inspiration

There’s something to be said about learning from the best. Sure, you might be able to come up with a ground-breaking strategy on your own (and we definitely believe that you can), but it also doesn’t hurt to install some tried and true methods that will bring a return on retention in the meantime.

High-retention construction firms are relying on three methods more so than the average company to improve employee engagement and keep their staff, according to the FMI Talent Development Survey:

  • Coaching;
  • Formal in-house classroom training;
  • Frequent informal feedback.

What’s the common thread between these three practices? They show that the businesses are invested in the personal and professional lives of their staff. While you yourself may not always be able to implement these changes, find people who hold retention in high regard and work with them to introduce the ideas.

There’s a seemingly endless number of opportunities available now with nearly nine in every 10 companies facing a talent shortage, according to the survey. Compensation has turned into a bare minimum and an emphasis on the wellbeing of a person – as opposed to being just another face in the crowd – is a powerful motivational tool.

2. Take the stress out of workforce travel

Business travel has its charm at first, but extended time on client sites can chip away at anyone’s morale when they’re away from family and home. When the accommodations are less than ideal and a sizable distance from the job site – resulting in an extra couple of hours being tacked onto the work day without pay – stress levels can run high.

Construction companies that frequently manage workforce travel should look at how they can improve all aspects of the experience for their staff. Here are a few questions to keep in mind to help you evaluate your own programme:

  • Are you able to book high-quality hotel rooms within the price range of your travel and expense policy?
  • Are employees bogged down by the amount of expense tracking needed to avoid being left out of pocket?
  • How easy is it for the travel booker to manage the large amount of bookings in a timely and efficient manner?

All of these concerns can contribute to a workforce travel programme that creates more issues than it solves. Many organisations are turning to a business hotel booking platform to streamline the process.

By being able to search, book and manage over 1.2 million hotels from one location, travel bookers are able to get quality accommodations that are close to job sites (and save in the process thanks to pre-negotiated rates). Similarly, burdensome expenses are taken off employees’ plates thanks to a single line of credit that allows the company to file one invoice at the end of each month.

Sometimes, the most powerful employee engagement tactics are the ones that let the staff focus on their work, rather than stress about the aspects of it that are outside of their control.

3. Stay transparent in everything you do

Here’s something that’s easier said than done: be transparent. In career development, compensation, work scheduling, professional feedback and workforce travel; everything should be laid out on the table for your team.

Improving engagement and employee morale is largely about understanding the issues that affect work performance. Creating an open culture is critical in understanding these barriers and figuring out the solutions that will break them down.

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