Chris Gash

With the economy being what it is, and the volatility of the construction industry, your goal is to shepherd your company through its constant growing pains.

Though you can’t control market forces, you can set clear goals for your company and help motivate your employees to meet them. Even though you may not be able to offer your staff monetary incentives, there are creative, fun ways to motivate that won’t cost you a dime.

Happy Days

“I think money is less of a motivator than people think,” says Doug Selby, president of Meadowlark Builders, in Ann Arbor, Mich. “Nobody’s going to be ungrateful or turn it down, but that doesn’t measure their happiness with their job.”

Meadowlark measures various metrics — contracts signed, billable design hours, etc. — and employees who meet or exceed those goals receive a healthy amount of praise and respect from co-workers.

At Mosby Building Arts, in St. Louis, achievers receive a stuffed animal for exemplifying the company’s core values called ICART (Integrity, Commitment to Excellence, Accountability, Respect, and Teamwork) according to company president Scott Mosby.

The winners get their photo taken with a little stuffed bear, and the photo is posted on the company bulletin board. “The winners are proud, a little embarrassed, and complimented throughout the week,” Mosby says. “The lasting value of this practice is that each winner feels important, and the award symbolizes our commitment to excellence in our company. We notice good things and appreciate good people.”

Meadowlark also accentuates the positive by taking each employee’s unique skill set and finding ways to amplify that talent, according to Selby. “When we encounter parts of their job they’re not so good at, we try to find ways to make those items less of a roadblock,” he says. “People are focusing most of their time on things they do well, and that’s been really good for us.”

Mark A. Newman, senior editor, REMODELING.

More REMODELING articles about motivating employees:

Commission Ambition: Motivating staff to help the company succeed

Tips on Ways to Motivate Employees

Positive Reinforcement Through Incentives: How to Implement an Incentive Program