Workers are not cogs.

Workers are being held back and can be much more productive. But when I talk to leaders about motivating workers, I often hear: “people don’t want to work anymore.”

The problem isn’t with workers not wanting to work. The problem is that they are kept in the dark and treated like cogs in a wheel. “I don’t pay you to think” was considered best practice for a while.

I’ve seen how experienced workers hoard information and refuse to share knowledge for fear of being replaced. I’ve seen how new workers get bullied, so they learn their place in the hierarchy.

Laborers have often told me they hate not knowing what they are doing until they arrive at work. “Every day is like the first day of school, and I get those butterflies every morning.”

People want to work hard, but “go dig that hole” is not motivating. Swag and employee BBQs are lovely, but it doesn’t solve the problem.

Workers want to be productive, and they can do so much more. We must unlock their potential by sharing more information and encouraging them to share their expertise.

The best site leaders tell their crew, “We need to think ahead to stay ahead.” Teams believe it because they are recognized and celebrated when they take the initiative and hit their schedules.

Here is the antidote to the labor crisis: create a common purpose and win together as a team. I’ve seen exceptional site leaders do this, beat targets, and attract top talent.

It’s not just about working harder. Today, it’s about working smarter together.

Further Reading

I wrote this post from first-hand experience and primary interviews with laborers, operators, and site leaders. Sciene agrees. Check out this Gallup study that connects engaged employees with higher productivity and profitability.

To put these ideas into practice, check out this practical post written by our CTO on goal setting in construction to unlock productivity.

This crew is working towards a common goal and winning together with Crewscope. They are not being held back because they have clear targets, frequent progress updates and rewards when they hit their schedule on-time.

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