The motivation of surveyors is a critical piece of the puzzle for a construction project. Unmotivated employees can delay the project, and may result in less than standard results. This can have a large impact on the overall success of the work. Motivation has been studied for many years, with numerous theories presented on how to address this need.
The size of a company can influence the motivation of its workers in different ways, and must be addressed differently. Small companies often have an easier task when it comes to motivation, as a few key individuals can have a large impact. Larger companies must often try harder to make their employees feel connected to management, and rely on supervisors to be the main motivators. Each situation has unique opportunities to create motivation in their employees.
Small companies can often be motivated entirely by the owner. Through being motivated themselves, and involved in their employee’s daily work, an owner can provide motivation. In a smaller company, the owner is often personally aware of each employee’s personal lives, job performance, and individual needs. The small company can often directly address each employees needs quickly and without the need for any organizational changes. Addressing these needs will motivate workers to work harder.
Large companies must rely on organizational programs to motivate employees. This is often seen in ways such as an “employee of the month” programs and similar activities. Larger organizations have the ability to make an individual employee feel more valued, as the worker can be recognized for their efforts in front of a larger group. The owners of larger companies must ensure that supervisors are motivated, and pass this motivation along to those who fall under them.
As put forth by Tony Schwartz of the Energy Project “Put simply, the way people feel at work profoundly influences how they perform. "(2014). It is hard to make this statement any more clearly, and how they perform at work profoundly influences the entire project. A company who shows that they care about their employees will have a much higher level of productivity and a lower incidence of turn over.
Motivation must inspired by the leaders of the organization. There is a saying that “Motivation is contagious”. The leaders of the organization must be motivated themselves, before they can motivate their workers. A worker needs to feel that their supervisors are motivated in their own jobs, and motivated to address the basic needs of each employee. These efforts must go beyond a simple pen and paper satisfaction survey, and be real and personal to each employee.
Theories of motivation abound, however it really is not brain surgery or rocket science. Behind all of the numbers and the studies are very simple, basic facts. Workers need to feel like what they are doing is worth something, and that they are worth something to the company.
Nobody enjoys working on a task that they feel is meaningless. An employee could be working on the most expensive machine in history, doing the job they have trained for their entire life, but if they feel it means nothing they will not be motivated to do it well. However you can take a ditch digger, with no formal schooling, and if he feels that the ditch he is working on will save lives or has some value, he will be motivated to do it well. It is not what we do that gives us motivation in most cases, it is the reason behind what we do.
Companies that address the concept of employee needs head on are far more successful in the long run than their competitors. The American work ethic often dictates that we work longer, harder, and without break to prove that we are industrious. Numerous studies have proven that his is simply not the case. When workers are allowed breaks every 90 minutes, and a longer break in the afternoon, their overall productivity increases. It is not how long we work, but how well we work that gives the best results.(Schwartz 2014)
Value in the past has been linked to compensation. The feeling of American business was that if an employee was paid well, that would be enough to motivate them. This compensation based thinking is no longer valid in today’s society. Workers today need intrinsic compensation, or something that makes them feel like what they are doing is important. Extrinsic compensation in the form of salary and benefits simply is not a good enough motivator any longer, for surveyors or any other employee.
It is not enough anymore to simply pay well to ensure high performance; the individual needs of employees need to be met to ensure high productivity (Conrad 2003). By addressing the real needs of employees, a firm can get the highest level of productivity. Part of addressing this need is job satisfaction and job focus for many employees. By allowing an employee to focus on their actual job, and reducing non-job tasks, a company enhances the job performance of their employees.
Employees are most motivated when they have the opportunity to focus in an absorbed way on their most important task (Schwartz, 2014). Giving them the opportunity to focus means ensuring that their jobs are free of additional duties that are non-task related. A company should always try to allow the employees to work on their job, keeping the off task record keeping to a minimum.
Surveyors are no different from other workers. They have intrinsic psychological needs that must be met to ensure that they work to their greatest capacity. In order to function at the highest levels of productivity they must feel physiologically safe, safe in their environment, a sense of belonging, and a sense of self-realization (Maslow 1954). Those who have these needs met are the most motivated, the same as workers in other fields.
Surveyors have an additional needs as they are both technically oriented, and have an “office” that is outdoors. Part of motivating surveyors must be addressing these unique work environments. The physiological needs of outdoor workers must include adequate time to take care of basic physical needs, and attempts to provide some sort of comfort. When the effort is made to address the fact that a surveyor works outside, and is not the average office worker, they will be more motivated to work to their capabilities.
A company should use every available means to motivate their employees beyond simple compensation, although salary must be satisfactory to the employees. Encouragement, in person and real provides motivation to many employees. Encouragement is not oversight or supervision or correction, it is that simple “Job well done” that many workers need. The use of simple, low or no cost efforts yields results far larger than may be expected.
Motivation is most effective not as a one-time effort, but when it becomes part of the culture of a company. Single, non repeated, events that are outside the norm of a company’s normal operating culture are often met with cynicism from employees. A culture of motivation must be built up and maintained that shows workers that they are valued all the time, not just when a supervisor is caught up in the latest management fad.
Motivate your surveyors by addressing their basic needs, giving them satisfaction in their job tasks, and allowing them to focus on an individual task. Take the time to provide for their well-being, both mental and physical, the end result will be worth the effort. Motivation leads to greater job performance, any loss in work time is more than made up by increased effort. Motivation is the key to success in any project, and should be a fundamental part of every company’s efforts.
Tang, C., Lam S., Motivation of Survey Employees in Construction Projects; (Abstract). Department of Land Surveying & Geo-Informatics, 2003, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China from http://www.lsgi.polyu.edu.hk/staff/Conrad.Tang/publication/2003-1/GeoSpatial%20Journal%2007%20motivation.pdf
Schwartz, T., & Porath, C. (2014, May 31). Why You Hate Work. Retrieved June 22, 2015, from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/opinion/sunday/why-you-hate-work.html?_r=0