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Who Has the Happiest Employees? Construction Industry, Study Says

February 4, 2015

happiestDo you think your employees love their jobs? Well, if you work in construction, you’re probably right.

A study released by TINYpulse found that the Construction and Facilities Services industry had the happiest workers out of 12 industries listed, with Consumer Products and Services and Technology and Software rounding out the top three.

TINYpulse’s 2015 Best Industry Ranking Report gathered data from 30,000 employees across 500 organizations using anonymous, one-question surveys the company emails once a week to gauge employees’ attitudes, likes, dislikes, and frustrations. Basically, if a company wants to know what its workers are thinking, TINYpulse can find out.

Download the full report here.

And what they learned was a bit surprising.

Thirty-four percent of Construction and Facility Service workers said satisfaction with peers and colleagues was their main reason for being happy, and 19 percent cited excitement about current work and projects. They also enjoyed a positive work environment, felt they were growing professionally, and had positive, respectful management.

Meanwhile, workers in Manufacturing—the study’s least happy industry—said they dealt with unsupportive managers, a lack of tools for success, and no opportunities for professional growth. They complained about poor internal processes and systems and said they did not get along with colleagues.

In general, 66 percent of all employees surveyed saw a lack of opportunities for growth, while those in construction often benefit from career mentorship as students and industry apprenticeships for learning new skills and taking on more challenging responsibilities. They also benefitted from a more relaxed atmosphere.construction_happy

“This is an industry that has many walks of life with people working in an office to people out on site,” Jay Walter, General Manager of Australian homebuilder JWH Group, told TINYpulse. “One thing that unites everybody at the end of the day is kicking back for a little bit with a few beers and talking stuff out—the good and the bad. If people have an issue, they will come see a manager during office hours, but sometimes the best environment is when people can relax a bit and just have a drink alongside a manager.”

Construction also benefitted from major growth, boasting 50 percent higher contribution to the U.S. GDP than Manufacturing. The industry’s recession low of $716.9 billion (4.9 percent of total GDP) in 2010 bounced back just three years later, to $925.4 billion (5.8 percent of GDP) in 2013. Employers are seeing business grow, hiring more, and handing out salary increases and bonuses more freely.

Why does all this matter?

According to TINYpulse, happy employees say they are almost 20 percent more likely to work for the same employer in one year. The cost of losing an employee who makes less than $50,000 is 20 percent of their salary, which seems like no big deal. But senior leaders who leave can cost the organization 213 percent of their annual salary. Lose a guy who makes $200,000 a year, and it could cost you $426,000.

So, are your employees the happy ones? There are a few ways to find out.

Ask employees basic questions, and give them a scale of 1 to 10 to answer. Questions like, “How happy are you at work,” “How would you rate the performance of your direct supervisor,” and “How much opportunity do you have for professional growth” are good starting points.

tinypulseDon’t feel comfortable probing for information yourself? That’s what TINYpulse is for.

Many employees may not want to speak up about workplace concerns in meetings or directly to supervisors, which is why TINYpulse offers a completely confidential means of sharing feedback. Supervisors will be in the know and will be more confident making the right managerial and business decisions, and employees will feel their voices are heard.

TINYpulse says the biggest decision to make is to change the way you look at your employees by focusing on cultural fit. Rather than reviewing only skills and qualifications when interviewing potential new hires or making promotions, consider how that candidate’s personality fits in with your company.

Ask new hires how they collaborate with others, deal with pressure, manage responsibility, and communicate expectations. Think about how those you want to promote recognize others, communicate problems, mentor peers, and manage across the organization.

“Cultural fit is something our research has continued to prove separates high-performance organizations from their lower-performing counterparts,” Kevin Oaks, CEO of the Institute for Corporate Productivity, said. “Yet, too often companies hire solely on skills, abilities, and intelligence rather than focusing on what really matters—having a passion for work and a positive attitude towards peers and customers.”

So what’s the bottom line? Not everyone should drop what they’re doing and run to the nearest construction site to find Zen. But employers can help determine whether they will have happy employees in just a few simple ways:

  1. Hire and promote for culture fit to get positive, motivated employees and the right senior leaders to guide them.
  2. Support employees in their evolution by getting to know them and their interests and finding them the perfect fit.
  3. Allow managers and peers to recognize and encourage each other.
  4. 03_HCA_Construction_FacilitiesClearly communicate expectations and share opportunities and challenges facing the organization.
  5. Ask employees what is on their minds.

“Any leader—no matter the industry that they’re in,” TINYpulse founder and CEO David Niu said, “has the power to make workplace changes to materially impact job satisfaction.”

HCSS is a TINYpulse 2015 Happiest Company. Want to find out if your employees are happy, too? Click here to find out what TINYpulse is all about..



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