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  • Writer's pictureYvonne Root

5 Strategies to Retain Your Best Employees – Part 4

Updated: Jun 23, 2020

Retain construction employees through the use of traditions, rituals, and fun.

This is the fourth in a 5-part series about specific strategies you can use in order to retain your best construction employees. You can find the first installment here, the second here, and the third here.

Have fun!

Of all the things that make you a Construction Industry insider, one of the most overlooked is knowing how much fun it can be. Just one of the many reasons to be in the construction trades is the camaraderie which tends to be a part of the scene. The guys and gals who are “in the ranks” often participate in good humored horseplay, fun “competitions,” and silly banter. Turns out, according to this study, having fun is good for them and good for your business.

And, you can set apart your construction company as an exceptional place to work by strategically implementing fun activities for your employees. Part of that process becomes building traditions and rituals into what your crews will experience in their day to day activities. Repetition is the key.

Think about the fellows who stand on a stage with the express purpose of getting folks to laugh. Comedians are taught and understand that repetition of certain key words or specific ideas will often send their audience into fits of laughter before the words are even out of their mouths. (If you doubt me, check with Tonya, one of our founders, who used to be one of the actors in this comedy crew at Marriage can be Murder, in Las Vegas, Nevada.)

Traditions and rituals

From your own experience both as a family member and as a part of a professional team, you know traditions help create a sense of shared history and close-knit teams. Not only that, traditions and rituals can give employees something to look forward to on a day-by-day basis.

While it is possible for you to create certain traditions, they’re often best when they come about organically or spontaneously. For example, when “George” describes himself as “a high walker and a smooth talker” add those words to his name each time you speak with him, or give him a reward, or mention him in meetings. Help the happy accident circumstances which give the crew a laugh on the job become part of the rituals your crew can tell the newbies about.

Creating workplace rituals and traditions is a good way to give your employees something to look forward to. Want some ideas? This article from Michael Kerr presents a variety of options to consider.

The icing on the cake

Lastly, the icing on the cake of employee retention is that happy crews attract happy clients.

There is a Cold Stone Creamery store in the Phoenix valley which has a young crew of people who our family watched chant and sing their way to a generous offering of tips one busy ice cream evening. I’m not suggesting your construction crews learn a few songs together (but, if you find they have the talent . . .) What I am saying is that when your people can demonstrate to your clients that your company is a happy place to work, they also demonstrate it is a good place from which to purchase goods and services.

Here is another example of how Southwest Airlines (a company known for having fun) encourages their employees to bring some humor into the lives of their customers.

Like I said, of all the things that make you a Construction Industry insider, one of the most overlooked is knowing how much fun it can be. Making sure your crews are experiencing the pride that comes with building is great. Making sure they are having fun while they do it is even better.

Your turn

Think of some simple ways you can encourage your team to have fun while still doing a great job for your clients.

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