I’m not surprised by this news:
According to TINYpulse’s 2015 Best Industry Ranking report, gathered from its anonymous one-question feedback surveys from over 30,000 employees across more than 500 organizations, among 12 distinct industries, construction and facility service workers are the happiest employees.
Although, the big factor that isn’t even mentioned suggests that the survey creators and the reporter, Lydia Dishman, don’t have any experience, themselves, with that sort of work.
They talk about the fact that construction’s on the upswing, economically. They list things like supportive managers, having the necessary tools, and having “opportunity for professional growth.” They also mention the advantages of an industry in which employees kick back after work for the proverbial few beers. (The construction company with which I spent most of my time in the industry did this on Fridays.)
Readers might wonder, though, why any of these factors, other than the economic upswing part, don’t apply to every industry. Why should construction companies be more likely to have supportive managers? (That certainly wasn’t my experience.)
The biggest source of satisfaction in the industry, from what I observed, isn’t to be found in a management textbook. Rather, it’s the nature of the work. At the end of the day (most days), you’ve got something tangible that you’ve done. You can step back and look at the house frame that wasn’t there in the morning, the pattern of newly laid tiles, or the color contrasts of new paint. The electrician turns on the breaker and then watches light appear thanks to wires that he strung along the framing. The plumber watches the pipes he connected, like a connect-it building game for adults, hold water as it flows up the structure and then down the drains. Even landscapers (who are included) see the grass go from unruly to ordered with each pass.
It’s about the satisfaction of producing. If managers and workers in other industries want to learn something from the construction field, it should be the value of finding ways to make it appear that employees have something to show for their work at the end of the day.