It took a long time for companies to figure out that employees are more than just a means to an end and that the only relationship they needed to have with them was a transactional one – time for money.
If you’re relying on money as a motivator, you’re likely only getting short-term benefits. When analyzing 86 studies on the relationship between pay and satisfaction, researchers discovered that how much money a person makes has only a modest relationship to their job or income satisfaction. It turns out that people want more than just money to justify the time they spend working every day. They want positive experiences at work. When they get those, they go beyond just being motivated. They get inspired.
There are tremendous benefits to a construction business or project when employees feel inspired: Improved productivity, projects are running more smoothly, and most importantly, you have happier employees which leads to higher employee retention. Getting your team motivated is not always an easy thing to do since every individual is unique and draws inspiration in different ways. Finding the right motivator is key.
Here are five strategies to getting you there, and if you’ve been paying attention to your employees’ needs, you’re probably already on your way.
1. Workplace Trust
You can say you trust your workers, but if your business practices show you don’t, then don’t expect workers to trust the organization. Employees want to know the company takes responsibility and acts with integrity. That’s especially true for how it treats employees. It’s no different on projects. After all, project participants want to work with trustworthy partners.
Trust is a two-way street that you have to consciously promote.
Take stock of the trust employees and project partners have in you and your company by considering the risks they face in light of company policies and procedures. Do procedures engage partners and employees, or are they designed to only protect you? Trust is a two-way street that you have to consciously promote.
2. Supportive Co-worker Relationships
A big part of maintaining a positive employee experience is a workplace where people feel supported by their coworkers. Courtesy, communicating effectively, respecting others’ time and having a genuine interest in the work all help to build strong co-worker relationships. You can foster this first by demonstrating it yourself. You should also counsel managers and supervisors to do the same. Then, reinforce that by “catching people” doing those things and nodding your approval.
Sure, there are usually some people who just aren’t into the group effort. In construction, they’re usually the ones interested in being the star or playing the victim. If you can’t help them, learn new behaviors or find a place for them where their behavior doesn’t affect everyone else. You can then consider helping them find a job (somewhere else) that’s more to their liking. Negativity breeds negativity, so don’t wait too long before interceding or culling bad actors.
3. Work That’s Meaningful
When people feel what they work on is relevant to the organization, they have a more positive employee experience. Going hand in hand with that is the need to do the work they’re skilled at and to feel their talents are put to good use. Let’s not forget that people also want to feel they have a voice—they want to feel empowered to make decisions related to their jobs. When these aspects are in place, you get the added benefits of new ideas and creative solutions to problems.
When you make allowances that help people keep their work and personal needs in balance, you improve the overall employee experience.
Work is more meaningful when it’s balanced. People can’t help but bring their personal lives to work with them. When you make allowances that help people keep their work and personal needs in balance, you improve the overall employee experience.
4. Feedback and Development
Your employees and project partners will have more positive experiences if you recognize their performance and provide feedback. Even when you are giving them feedback on work that needs improvement, if you’re deemed trustworthy, most will take your comments constructively.
Professional development is also a big plus in setting the stage for inspiration. When people feel they have opportunities for job growth and career growth, they generally feel more positive and inspired.
5. The Inspiration Recipe
When someone is inspired, they’re excited about what they’re doing and the work feels effortless. Although motivation cycles up and down, inspiration is enduring. Of course, there are plenty of variables that can short circuit a person’s journey to being inspired at work, but one of the biggest is a workplace lacking a positive employee experience.
According to research by the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute and Globoforce’s WorkHuman® Research Institute, you can offer a positive workplace by tending to the employee needs of belonging, purpose, achievement, happiness, and vigor.
Although motivation cycles up and down, inspiration is enduring.
Inspiration on the job must come from within the individuals; it is something you have little control over. But, you can control the environment where people do their work. When you set the stage that nurtures inspiration by creating positive work experiences, you set the stage for inspired teams and employees.