To do your best work, you need the best people. Especially if your company operates in a blue-collar industry, you cannot afford to lose your star employees to competitors who may seem like a natural fit. Motivation is key. Do your workers come to work ready to get started every morning, or are they just waiting to punch the clock on their way out? The best employers in construction and other blue-collar companies take special care by improving their company culture, motivation, and retention.
To accomplish the same goal, here are 5 ways you can make your blue-collar business a great place to work:
1) Be Honest About Expectations
Most blue-collar careers differ from their office-based counterparts in that they’re far more than a 9 to 5 job. Work is often project-based, which means that employees have to work longer hours in some cases. Generally, these long work weeks get balanced out by slower time periods.
But someone new to the industry may not be aware of these types of schedules. From the moment you start talking to a potential employee, be honest about the expectations the job will place on them. The earlier they know what to expect, the more easily they can buy into the concept and get to work.
2) Offer Flexibility
A great way to motivate your workers is to return the demand for flexibility mentioned above in kind. In other words, try to offer opportunities for your employees to build their own schedule, with some stipulations intact that preserve the need to man machinery or get urgent projects done.
Some of your workers may prefer working longer days and shorter workweeks. Some appreciate the extra pay through overtime, while others prefer to be home with their family for dinner. As much as your business model and workload allows, try to offer the flexibility your employees need to stay motivated.
3) Provide Autonomy
Especially in construction-based industries for larger companies, workers tend to stay in their lane. But at the same time, when asked, they might just have significant insights into how to improve work processes or maximize the potential success of a project.
The key here is making your employees feel like they have input into the strategic direction of the projects they work on. In addition to satisfying their need to be involved, you also end up with a bigger diversity of opinions from your boots on the ground that can actually improve your decision making.
4) Offer Performance Incentives
Make no mistake: incentives continue to provide a powerful push for blue-collar workers looking to make a name for themselves or earn a little bit of extra money. They motivate your employees and make them feel like their work is being valued.
Depending on your individual company and industry, these incentives may look very different, from intangible (such as designating a worker of the month or project) to tangible (such as pay bonuses for your top performers). The key is to make sure your employees know that good work will be rewarded.
Even something as simple as taking the time to pull aside an employee you know is working especially hard to tell them they’re doing a great job goes a long way toward boosting morale and loyalty.
5) Communicate the Bigger Picture
Finally, in any type of company, it makes sense to communicate to everyone involved what the bigger picture actually is. A bricklayer might be just a bit more motivated to complete quality work if they know the finished architectural vision of the project. Similarly, an electrician might appreciate knowing just how the wiring on which they work will actually power the building.
Communicating the bigger picture is not difficult and doesn’t cost anything. At the same time, it helps your workers feel included in the larger vision in which they participate in, providing them with additional motivation and allowing them to complete more high-quality work.
Making your business a great place to work requires understanding every worker in your organization. Combine the above factors, and you can ensure that your employees come to work every morning motivated, while also increasing your retention rates.
At Harbor America, we understand the unique challenges that come with operating a blue-collar business. To learn more about how Harbor America can streamline your HR, payroll, and compliance tasks so you have more time to work on the aspects of your business you really love, contact us today.