Why unlock worker productivity? Because labor productivity is declining, and the labor crisis exaggerates the problem. Construction companies need to do more with less labor and retain top talent. To solve this today, the best builders communicate with their workers and reward good performance. But they are doing it verbally, which is inconsistent and hard to scale. Crewscope scales leadership best practices to increase labor productivity by +10%, improve forecast accuracy, and engage workers. We have demonstrated these results with the most reputable builders: EllisDon, Maple Reinders, Condrain, GIP, and Lafarge.
Construction margins are thinner today than ever because input costs are rising while productivity has declined. As the labor shortage worsens, this has become an existential threat that the industry can no longer ignore.
Crewscope started researching the root causes of these challenges and how the best builders are solving them today. Beginning in January 2022, we conducted over 150 hours of primary interviews on heavy civil and multi-family residential construction projects.
Half the interviews were conducted with laborers, operators, and site leaders. The other half was with Presidents and leaders in Operations, Construction, and HR.
We triangulated our findings with academic research by the National Bureau of Economic Research from February 2023 .
Why are Workers Unproductive?
In the past, site leaders would motivate their crews with threats since they could easily replace anyone not performing. Fear does not work today, and site leaders need new ways to manage their teams.
Skilled workers can be more productive, take ownership, and show initiative, but these frustrations are holding them back:
- Unclear goals and expectations
- Not enough information about their jobs and how they are performing
- Little recognition for excellent work
- No incentive to go over and above
Some of the best builders are solving these pains today by sharing information verbally and recognizing effort with discretionary bonuses.
However, these efforts depend on extraordinary site leaders and are hard to scale across projects. Even the best leaders say that construction sites are busy and they should communicate more effectively. They also say that discretionary bonuses lead to favoritism and ruin team culture.
How to Unlock Worker Productivity
There will be winners and losers in the labor crisis. Construction firms that motivate talent will succeed. To unlock worker productivity and win, we turn to well-established leadership best practices:
Set goals and work smarter. Goals motivate us to work towards common goals that are meaningful. They help us plan, take ownership, anticipate problems, and connect work with purpose.
Communicate with workers. Share targets and progress directly with crews to unlock creativity and take initiative. We all love to be part of winning teams.
Reward performance, align incentives with project outcomes, and pay performance bonuses when crews hit targets. It’s fun to win together as a team!
We often hear these common objections from construction leaders when we present this approach:
We already set goals and communicate with workers. True, but in most cases, workers need to know more about what they are building and why it matters. Doing this well depends on leadership quality, which varies considerably.
Workers are paid well; margins are thin, and we cannot afford bonuses. True, but construction projects make A LOT more money when workers keep jobs on schedule. Rewards should not be paid for meeting expectations but for beating targets, so when projects make more money, workers make more money. A win-win!
How Crewscope Unlocks Worker Productivity
Crewscope scales leadership best practices to front-line hourly workers on construction projects. We unlock worker productivity with our three-part program:
Crew engagement software: Engage teams with goals and progress. Connect work with purpose, align incentives, and pay performance bonuses.
Builder communication platform: Transmit targets and incentives directly to the people doing the work. Recognize exceptional effort with crew rewards and socials.
Productivity Expertise: We help our clients design hourly incentives and coach teams on setting goals.
Here is what some of our clients are saying about our program:
EllisDon Foreman at Capital Line LRT:
“Using Crewscope, the crew is more involved and talking about daily production. Before, they had the attitude that whatever happens is fine. We also observe bottom-up peer pressure to perform, which is nice.”
Maple Reinders VP of Operations at Norcan Fuel Terminal:
“The concept is simple: do good work, get good rewards. It aligns teams to be proactive. But the magic is the incentive to make a good plan and work smarter.”
GIP Foreman at 4800 Yonge:
“I’m saving up for a Weber Kettle BBQ, Bruno is saving for a snow blower, and Tom cashes out for Amazon. The guys like seeing the updates, and the points are fun.”
Condrain Foreman at Walmart Distribution Centre:
“Using Crewscope, crews enjoyed the task and were happy to know we successfully hit our target. They were more proactive setting up pumps, protecting their work at night, and thinking about potential obstacles.”
Lafarge Plant Manager at Dundas Quarry:
“I am seeing more urgency to hit production targets, and the crew is doing better at self-monitoring.”
We have helped our clients create value along three vectors:
- Increase labor productivity +10%
- Improve forecast accuracy
- Engage workers
It takes just a few hours to onboard a new crew, and they see value within the first week. We built our solution in the field for workers. There are no apps to download or logins. Worker privacy was built from the ground up. In an industry plagued by complex software deployments, this is a revolution.
We love getting on-site with our clients and users. This enables us to share our learnings and best practices. It also helps us learn how to improve our program.
We charge a monthly subscription with no commitment, so we are partners in success. We make getting started, building trust, and growing together easy and risk-free.
 Goolsbee, Austan. 2023. “THE STRANGE AND AWFUL PATH OF PRODUCTIVITY IN THE U.S. CONSTRUCTION SECTOR.” National Bureau of Economic Research.