Make Work Fun Again!
Why does everyone have to be so serious all the time? It's easier to introduce some fun into your crew's daily activities and lighten up the mood. Some shops encourage their employees to come into work early by offering them special treats and reward zero absenteeism, while others include games at lunch or during breaks to alleviate fatigue and encourage interaction within the crew.
Dr. Friedman believes that this approach can work, but in moderation.
"There’s an old saying: 'Find a job you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life,'" Dr. Friedman said. "So no amount of games, activities, etc. can replace loving what you do, because if you do what you love, that's the real fun. I have seen these incentives work at some shops, but in the end, the motivation needs to come from your employees themselves."
Keep Everything Positive
Some shop managers call their employees out on the carpet whenever they do something wrong, but that won't build morale. Everyone wants to do a good job, so when they fail, they don't want to be embarrassed in front of their fellow employees. So always follow the classic management rule of "praise in public and criticize in private."
Conversely, if someone goes the extra mile to do an outstanding job, praise them in front of the crew and give them the kudos they deserve.
"Even a good technician or estimator will make a mistake now and then, so don't be too critical and overbearing when it happens," Dr. Friedman said. "Stay positive, but don't coddle them and communicate what you want to say behind closed doors if at all possible."
Talk to Your People
Some bosses only communicate with their employees when they're talking shop or assigning tasks. Getting to know your people is a key way to connect with them and retain them for the long run. Casual conversation and learning about your employees will foster stronger bonds and enable them to feel like they are members of your team. If you keep it impersonal, even your top employees can start to feel isolated and eventually look elsewhere for work.