Here’s the deal. The construction industry is an ideal industry for creating an environment that can satisfy the needs of human motivators. I know that may be hard to believe with the frustration you may have experienced in trying to get your employees to do the right thing. But think about it. You as a contractor create tangible things, whether it be a house, a building, framing a room, wiring an electrical box, installing a gymnasium floor, painting, or whatever. If photos were taken of what you do, there could almost always be a “before” and an “after” picture.
And why do businesses or people take before and after pictures? They want to showcase what they have accomplished…a sense of accomplishment is a powerful motivator. If pictures are taken and/or stories are told, it is also because they are proud of what has been accomplished.
Pride is another powerful motivator. And again, we see how many motivators are linked, like pieces of a puzzle…sense of accomplishment…pride. If businesses are proud of that accomplishment, how about the employees who worked on it…made it happen? You know the answer to that. Of course they share the same feelings of pride. Many of your employees have taken family members and friends to see a project they worked on because they are proud of the achievement.
I have surveyed thousands of construction workers and office employees over the past 15 years. A question I asked on most surveys was, “What motivates you to do your best?” While there was a wide range of responses, including money, the most common answer to the question was “pride”. Here is a definition of pride:
So, pride is a feeling, a personal feeling, but it can also be triggered by someone admiring their achievement.
That sense of being proud is also represented by visual symbols at times. The Super Bowl was played about a week ago. Many fans wore a Giants jersey and others wore Patriots garb. They were proud to show who they supported. They also were demonstrating their sense of belonging to a team…a fan base. And a sense of belonging to either a place or group is also identified as yet another human motivator.
And yet again, we see how human motivators are connected like pieces of a puzzle.
Let’s review the definition of pride again. Can you make someone feel proud if it’s a personal feeling? Think about it. A worker or a team of workers has just accomplished a task. It looks great, and it was completed efficiently. It is also what the customer wanted. You can tell they are proud of their accomplishment by how they act and talk about it. You can tell they fit the first part of the definition of pride—“satisfaction with self”. Isn’t that enough? NO! NO! NO!
You as the owner or manager should also acknowledge their work. Tell them how great it looks! Tell them that you appreciate what they accomplished! Tell them that you are proud of their accomplishment. Tell them that they can take pride in this accomplishment! Take photos of their work. Or, take a video to showcase their work and their abilities. You do all that and you will fuel that good feeling of self pride.
By giving them this feedback, you are supporting the last half of the definition–“achieving something special that other people admire”. You will create that motivating environment in which they will strive to get that feeling again. Yes, the construction industry is an ideal industry for creating an environment that can satisfy the needs of human motivators. Yet the industry alone is not enough.
By providing proper feedback, you can make your employees not only be proud of what they do but also be proud of who they work for. And that is very powerful—a very powerful combination! I call that Pride Squared! It’s a result of creating a more motivating work environment.
This supports my premise in that you cannot motivate a worker. Motivation comes from within. But, you can create a work environment that motivates a worker to excel! We can all agree that motivated workers will help a company make more money than unmotivated or demotivated workers. Believe me, your employees will take pride in working for a successful company….and just like those sports fans, be proud to belong to your team. Isn’t that what you want?
Remember … Companies don’t make profits, people do.