How can “happy” help with the labor shortage?

It doesn’t seem like the pace of news stories about the labor shortage in the construction industry will be slowing down anytime soon. As the volume has ramped up, we’ve written about the labor shortage from the perspective of positive trends that have come out of it, as well as how to attract talented workers.

But what about keeping the valued workers you already employ? How do you keep your workforce from jumping to a competitor? With fierce competition, financial compensation isn’t enough to keep employees from looking for greener pastures, they also want opportunities to use their skills and abilities.

What this boils down to is job satisfaction and keeping your staff happy. Improving these factors has the additional benefit of increasing productivity. In fact, one study found that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees.

Keeping employees happy seems like an obvious, easy-to-implement initiative, yet too many companies focus on what they do, not who is doing the work. They may talk about increasing employee satisfaction, but they fail to “walk the walk.”

So, how do you increase employee happiness? We compiled our top seven ways to build happiness among your team:

Thank and recognize employees for doing good work

It’s important not to take workers for granted. A verbal thanks, kind note or email expressing appreciation for good work can go a long way. Recognition in front of peers for great work or a superior effort goes even further. As an added bonus, public acknowledgement will reveal to other employees what types of initiatives are most appreciated by company management.

Share the big picture with employees

Provide clear and frequent communication about company direction and happenings. Knowing the “big picture” makes employees more aware of how their work helps achieve company initiatives or specific project goals, and how their performance directly impacts the results. This drives satisfaction and prompts your staff to not only take pride in their work, but in the company as well.

Provide tools for success

People need to continue to develop professionally to remain engaged and productive. Making training opportunities available so employees can improve their skills also makes it possible for your company to grow from within and remain competitive.

Be open and available

Get out and get to know your employees. Listen to them and encourage them to share ideas and feedback. Because they are involved in projects on a day-to-day basis, they may see things that you miss. This can lead to a suggestion for a new process, tool or solution. By inviting input, you open the door to the possibility of incorporating creative solutions that improve how work gets done and increase the profitability of your company.

Create a career path

Employees will leave a job they believe is a dead-end in terms of career growth opportunities. By having career path planning discussions and providing opportunities for professional development and training you pave the way for employees to move up the corporate ladder. Not only does this increase job satisfaction and happiness, it allows your company to grow from within and remain competitive.

Develop your management skills

It’s no secret that bad managers make employees feel unmotivated and under-appreciated, leading to diminished performance. You can’t pay someone a lot of money, then treat them poorly, and expect them to do their jobs well. Invest in and work with your management team to ensure they have the leadership skills and knowledge to effectively engage with employees, inspire high levels of performance and treat employees with respect.

Stay up to date with the latest tools, technology and trends

Technology is changing how projects get done. To remain competitive, it’s important not to fall behind the curve. The benefits of using tech include efficiency, better time management and less errors. Currently, wearable tech, drones and construction document management software are being used extensively; but 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, and robotics are slowly making their way on to job sites. And, because of its “cool” factor, tech has the added benefit of helping you attract younger workers.

As the industry grapples with the labor shortage, remember, if someone is happy in their work, takes pride in doing it well, and feels valued, they are less likely to search for greener pastures and you retain valuable employees.