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  • Writer's pictureYvonne Root

What In-the-Field Construction Employees Want


In compiling the information below, I used several sources but relied heavily on the following three:

  1. An article compiled by McKinsey & Company concerning research to discover what frontline employees want.

  2. Discussions with family members and friends involved in the trades.

  3. My own experience as a (retired) blue-collar worker. 


Construction Employees Want Money 

The bottom line must-have that in-the-field construction employees look for is Competitive Compensation. What other contractors in your area pay for similar work is something employees notice and often base their choices on.


This article, “What is a Compensation Strategy?” from connecteam offers excellent information to consider when determining pay rates for your construction company.


As you can see, competitive pay is a little more complicated than just determining an hourly wage. And perhaps the most enlightening part is that it doesn’t necessarily mean paying the highest wages. For example, offering performance-based raises, met project goals bonuses, or longevity rewards can all play a part in the value of your compensation package.


Construction Employees Want Benefits

For both recruitment and retention of employees, developing a list of benefits provided by your construction company is a good practice. Some of the typical items to consider are:

  • 401(k)

  • Paid cell phone

  • Company tablet

  • Paid holidays and vacations

  • Life insurance and disability coverage

  • Mental health programs

  • Paid sick leave

  • Company vehicle

  • Company-provided tools or PPE

  • Professional development assistance

  • Advancement opportunities from within

  • 529 Plans 


While a brief list might suffice, allowing your company culture to shine through is always helpful, even in the listing of benefits. What you offer can aid your recruitment and retainment strategy and be another point of enlightenment for your employees. When making your list of benefits (be it all or only a few of those listed above,) don’t feel you must stick with only the traditional ones.


Here are a few ideas to help you think about the possibilities.

  • Pet-friendly workplace

  • Surprise days off

  • Money management and financial planning services

  • Volunteering PTO

  • Mentorship Program

  • Team Activities (like a bowling league or softball team)

  • Employee Referral Program


Be thoughtful concerning what will be best for your employees.

Check with your attorney to be confident what you offer crosses no legal lines.

Ask your accounting team about the affordability of what you might offer.


Construction Employees Want Growth Through Promotion

Career advancement discussions should begin before hiring. Finding ways to make sure your employees know you prefer to promote from within and that there are particular ways they can take part in the promotion path is paramount. Some ways you can help your employees understand how they can grow are:

  • Provide diagrams or written documentation of possible promotion paths.

  • Be sure your managers are willing and able to discuss the necessary steps.

  • Participate in one-on-one talks with your employees.

  • Publicly highlight employees who have advanced in their roles to other positions in the company.


Construction Employees Want Paid Training

Beyond apprenticeships and internships, in-the-field construction employees are often eager to learn more about building skills, gaining technical information, or improving their performance. Whether you offer in-house training, cooperate with others (such as your trade association,) or pay for classes, it is essential to let your employees know about the opportunities. Inform and remind your employees of the dates and times for any programs you provide and what they can expect to gain through taking part.


Encourage your employees to take advantage of cross-training opportunities within your construction business. And let them know that there may be connections for lateral training to align with their interests and skill sets.


You can also use stretch assignments designed to allow your employees to learn new skills on the job. This article from Niagara Institute, “Stretch Assignments: What Are They and Is Your Employee Ready For One?” provides an in-depth view of this technique.


Construction Employees Want Supportive Managers

It is imperative to work hard to make sure that all ranks of leadership adhere to supporting those they lead. And, of course, it starts with those at the top. Modeling the behavior you want your leaders to provide begins with you. Providing classes and information concerning people management is helpful. Still, it will only be of worth to your foreman, superintendent, or others in leadership if you teach them to be supportive through your actions.   


Construction Employees Want Workplace Culture

Even those employees who first come “only for the paycheck” often find workplace culture important to them. In many ways, it is tied to each of the sections we’ve dealt with above. From payroll to benefits, from training and promotion to appreciative leaders, workplace culture can provide employees stability, balance, and security.


Yet, it is more than that for construction workers. Feeling valued, participating in the camaraderie on the worksite, and seeing the outcome of their hard work are all components of a “bigger-than” attitude that permeates an excellent workplace culture.


Construction Employees Want to Enjoy Their Work

According to this report, “Construction workers have the highest levels of self-reported happiness of any major industry category.”  By being busy and engaged, laboring and solving problems, completing tasks, and having fun while they do it, in-the-field construction employees enjoy their work. It doesn’t hurt that they get to see the tangible result of what they do. You know from experience, it is a heady feeling to be able to say, “Hey, I helped build that!”    


Learn More About Workforce Development

Are you interested in learning more about Workforce Development? Then take time to watch or listen to (on your favorite podcast channel) episode 32 of The Construction Junction podcast. The owner of The Profit Constructors, Tonya Schulte, talks with Aaron Faulk, Audit Partner at Moss Adams, and Rob Scott, CEO of Scott Coatings, about ways to find and retain employees.   


Reflection: Ambitious construction contractors lean into finding ambitious in-the-field construction employees by listening to what they want – and doing their best to provide it.



Ambitious Construction Contractors look to The Profit Constructors to provide advocacy in dealing with:


  • Clients and customers

  • Employees and subcontractors

  • Vendors and service providers

  • Governmental entities 


Working with The Profit Constructors gives Construction Contractors the means to organize their operations in ways that help them:


  • Remain informed

  • Avoid hassles

  • Reduce risks

  • Be future-ready


Ready for action? Or want to know more? Get in touch today to schedule a complimentary discovery call. 866-629-7735

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