Loyal to what?
In the construction industry, in 2018, the idea of loyal employees has taken a beating. Loyalty has gotten into the workforce ring and taken a severe beating – then been kicked in the ribs just for good measure.
Lest you be tempted to lay this no-loyalty scenario at the doorstep of any particular generation — stop. Look back at the late 1950s when the seeds were already being planted. The seeds of distrust which began unraveling the employer and employee social contract. The fear of being given nothing more than a gold watch and a fare-thee-well from an employer was real. Years of service may not even be considered in the final goodbye.
Move up a couple of decades into the 1970s and notice the employees who are being “let go” before retirement age in some kind of down-sizing maneuver. A maneuver which may have been made to cut the cost of labor by bringing in a younger (and cheaper) butt to fill the seat. Or, a maneuver which answered more to profit than to relationships.
Loyal to the trade?
Now, let’s jump ahead to 2007. Yep. You know what happened here. The following economic downward spiral caused a lot of construction workers to jump ship. It wasn’t at all about whether or not one would remain loyal to an employer. Many construction industry employers became former employers and were themselves out looking for a job – in other industries.
Therefore, only a decade later the construction workforce (in the vernacular) “just ain’t what it used to be.”
Which is only one of the many reasons why finding people willing to put on the boots and pick up the tools of the construction trades is a daunting task. Asking these people to also be loyal to a specific employer is . . . well, difficult at best.
Loyal to the employer?
Still, there is the hope for employee loyalty. There is the desire to find a great crew, train them to be even better, and grow a dynamic construction contracting business which will serve your clients well.
Expecting loyalty from your crew comes at a high price – your loyalty to them. And we’re seeing a resurgence of this very tactic at work in construction companies across the nation. From large, long-lived firms to small, start-up construction businesses there are bosses in-the-know. Bosses who are rising to the occasion and learning more about their employees as well as more about how to be loyal to them. We’ve touched on the idea ourselves in this post and in a three-part series found here, here, and here.
The folks over at Forbes have more to say on the subject of Where Have All The Loyal Employees Gone?
This article from Entrepreneur, Change Is Good. Now, How to Get Employees to Buy In, is another good source for learning more about how to achieve a level of loyalty from employees.
Loyalty in the end
In conclusion, it seems there is truly an opportunity for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to create a working team of loyal employees. It won’t happen over night. It can happen with well planned small steps leading to loyalty that is mutual.
Help your people see your vision on a daily basis.
Give your team reason to believe in you as well as in your company.
Allow as much autonomy as possible as soon as possible. (Trust is a two-way street.)
The goal at Schulte and Schulte has always been to provide the best service and most up-to-date information as possible to our clients. We know we’ve hung our hats on an industry which is cyclical. Therefore, we’re determined to do everything in our power to see to it that our clients stay the course.
We hope this article (among our growing library of construction-centric informational articles) is helpful in assisting our clients to build better building businesses. Want to know more about us? Get in touch here.