We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again; construction is a human-centric business. While tools, machines and processes physically help to build, it’s people who put projects and plans into motion. The ones who wake up at the crack of dawn and go home often well after dusk. The people spending time away from home to support their family. Truly in construction, individuals matter to a success of a team, project and business. Yet, they often aren’t thanked enough for their hard work and dedication to the build.
Whether you’re a company owner, manager or even just a dedicated team member, showing appreciation for your colleagues can go miles and is well needed to retain happy and mentally healthy employees. The holiday season is a wonderful time to reach out and share your gratitude with your fellow workers. For most of us, it’s not only a particularly stressful time of year with both professional and personal obligations looming, but it’s also the time of year where a seemingly fresh start and perspective is right around the corner with the New Year. Sharing gratitude before the beginning of the year can help bring clarity to workers feeling like they can’t see the bigger picture of the work they’re doing.
Looking to upgrade your gratitude giving? Below, we share eight easy ways you can tell your employees that they are appreciated and an integral part of your construction company. But even though the holiday season is just one time of the year, these appreciation strategies can be implemented at any point in the year. In fact, we’d encourage it.
1. Feed Them
Don’t underestimate the power of free food. One way to win the hearts (and stomachs) of employees is by feeding them. While bringing boxes of pizza into the office is always nice, the holiday season is time to take it up a notch. While we’re not suggesting you treat your crew to a five-course steak dinner, just upgrading a company provided meal to a holiday spread or taking your team out to an affordable sit-down restaurant can do wonders for making staff feel like they are appreciated.
If you have only a small budget to spend, use the element of surprise to your advantage. Consider something like a surprise cookie hour or build your own taco bar. Also, you might want to keep in mind that the holidays are typically a time of food overload. Some employees may be looking for ways to get back to healthier habits once the New Year begins. If health-conscious workers are on your mind, consider upgrading to a delicious but health(ier) alternative.
2. Make Their Morning
How a morning plays out can make or break a day and sometimes even an entire week. Construction workers are used to getting up before the sun rises and often need the extra kick to get their days going strong. One easy way to elevate the early morning routine is to provide construction workers with a gift card to their favorite coffee chain. Alternatively, you can even upgrade to gourmet coffee beans for the trailer if your budget is tight.
Caffeinating employees not your thing? Picking up donuts or bagels for the office can go a long way to provide a reinvigorated morning for staff. Like we said, never underestimate the power of free food. Besides, who doesn’t love bagels and donuts?
If your company doesn’t already provide commuting benefits, another way to make an employee’s morning is to give a relief to their morning commutes. As you probably know, construction has some of the longest commutes in the world. Providing extra commuting cards or free parking incentives for a day or week can alleviate some of the financial pressures that come hand-in-hand with this time of year, too.
3. Custom Construction Gear
The right swag and custom construction gear can break a smile on even the most serious of laborers faces. Some of our favorite construction gear vendors include Duluth Trading Co. and Carhartt. You could also purchase custom t-shirts for your team that includes a work-friendly inside joke or something else they have all bonded over. Another added benefit of getting personalized construction gear for your crew is team-building on the job. After all, a team that dresses alike together, stays together.
4. Happiest of Holiday Hours
After a long day of work, a beer or glass of wine can help workers wind down and relax. A company-sponsored Happy Hour or a round of drinks can show your gratitude after a particularly challenging week or month. Keep in mind that if you plan on hosting a Happy Hour for your team, ensure that everyone has a safe ride home. You could even offer a Lyft or Uber credit, instead of the risk of someone driving under the influence. Safety is just as important as employees enjoying themselves.
5. An Actually Fun Team Building Event
Say “team building activity,” and you can barely get through the phrase without seeing employees eyes glaze over. We’ve all had those team building events that are far from fun, let alone help to build bonds. Opt outside of the normal ropes course or other team building event so commonly held. Do something that will be fun for your employees like go-karting, a cooking class, an escape room or a wine tasting. Just promise us one thing, no icebreakers allowed.
6. Dog Days of Winter
Dogs have a special place in construction workers hearts. Frequently do we see dogs gracing an office trailer and even a jobsite. If your company does not have an open pets policy in the office, you could start a bring your dog to work day. Dogs have a way of lifting spirits during the holidays. As long as the work conditions are safe and suitable, and no one in your office or site suffers from serious allergies, a dog day is an excellent way to bring some furry cheer.
7. Get Them Home (on Time)
Construction workers are all too familiar with getting home late–missing dinner and bedtimes. It can be draining both physically and emotionally. If your project schedule can afford it, give staff a half day or an opportunity to go home 1-2 hours earlier than normal. While it may seem like a small act, it can show them that you acknowledge their hard work. Even better, it can provide a much-needed refresh that motivates them to be more efficient the next workday.
8. Just Say “Thanks”
When was the last time you told your workers that they were appreciated? While you might think your actions speak louder than your words, the simple act of just saying thank you can speak volumes. Even if you plan to use any of the above strategies, make sure you also share some words of gratitude with your coworkers. Keep in mind that while personal words and messages take a bit more time, they’re much more likely to stick than a general statement or letter. Say it aloud, put it in a card, write it in an email, shout it from the rooftop (of course, safely). Just do whatever you can to ensure the message is loud and clear.
Give Gratitude–All Year Long
The holidays are an easy time to show your appreciation for your colleagues. Nonetheless, showing your thanks shouldn’t just be limited to this special time of year. Any of the above tactics can be implemented year long. In fact, giving thanks more often might be a good New Year’s resolution to add to your 2019 professional and personal goals. Showing more regular gratitude is win-win-win for you, employees and companies alike–even backed by science.
At this point, you spend more time with your construction team than you most likely spend with your family. Just like you need to show support for your real family, expressing your thanks to your colleagues is essential to the success of your company and projects. Trust us–you’ll thank us later.