How do we motivate people in the Construction industry, especially in a way that drives success for the organization?

Motivation is defined as the reason one has for acting or behaving a particular way, or the desire or willingness to do something. Motivation can be intrinsic, from within ourselves, like curiosity, challenge, learning, and fun, or even fear of failure. It can also come from extrinsic sources such as deadlines, camaraderie, recognition, and money. Everyone is motivated by something different and we have different levels of motivation at different times; which only adds to the challenge.
People who are motivated work better, make better teammates, and contribute to the success of their company. With the predicted labor shortages, the construction industry must figure out how to motivate the workers of today as well as those it is seeking to attract. This includes motivating women who currently only make up about 9% of the industry, but 57% of the workforce, to view Construction as a viable career option.

A survey conducted by Peggy Newquist, Principal at Constructing Opportunity, sought to determine key motivational factors of individuals in the construction industry, and gathered information from respondents on gender and years of experience in the industry. An almost equal portion of men and women responded to the survey, with most respondents being employed as construction managers. Overall the results indicated that both men and women are motivated by the “intrinsic value to do a good job”. A deeper dive indicates the top motivation factor for women in the study was “feeling valued”, while men in the survey ranked this factor much lower. The survey respondents rated money and benefits as much less important as motivating factors.
It may seem easier to use extrinsic motivational factors, such as offering monetary rewards in the form of a bonus for completing a project ahead of schedule or under budget, or a raise each year to motivate employee retention, instead of taking the time to figure out what really motivates an individual. These incentives may seem effective for a short time, but are not usually sustainable in driving motivation longer term without continually being repeated. Instead of defaulting to monetary incentives, leaders can motivate their staff and better sustain that motivation over time, through effective leadership practices, thus demonstrating that they value their people and the job they do

When people feel their leaders are invested in them, they often feel more fulfilled with their work and happy in their jobs which translates to better performance. Help others understand the big picture, how they contribute and add value; giving meaning to efforts sparks motivation.

Recognize and celebrate achievement of goals and milestones, going above and beyond. Recognition for a job well done can motivate us to continue to perform at a higher level. Simple steps such as sharing positive feedback from client, a personal “thank you”, or a hand-written note can go a long way.

A good leader, influences and motivates others to action, but much of our motivation must come from ourselves. What are you doing to motivate yourself and your construction team?