Harnessing the Power of Timely Rewards in Construction

Rewards that drive results and 3 changes every construction company should be considering

Harnessing the power of timely rewards in construction

In the dynamic world of construction, where every minute counts and deadlines loom large, the concept of time holds unparalleled significance. Just as the timely completion of tasks can spell the difference between project success and failure, so too does the timing of employee recognition and rewards impact the performance of construction teams.

Every construction project is a choreography of tasks, where delays in one area can cascade into costly setbacks across the entire project timeline. The ability to recognize and reinforce positive behaviors among employees becomes not just a nicety but a strategic imperative. Much like the precise coordination required to pour concrete or install structural elements, the timing of rewards in response to employee actions plays a pivotal role in shaping behavior and driving performance.

Graph showing timeliness of rewards on behavior

Drawing from behavioral science insights, we understand that immediate reinforcement is key to fostering lasting change in behavior. Just as a dog learns best when praised or corrected within seconds of an action, employees in the construction industry respond most effectively to rewards that are delivered promptly. Moreover, research indicates that for every day a reward is delayed, its behavioral impact diminishes by almost 5%. This underscores the critical importance of timely recognition in maximizing the effectiveness of rewards programs within construction companies.

Picture this scenario: a construction worker demonstrates exceptional safety protocols on-site, mitigating potential risks and ensuring the well-being of their team. By promptly acknowledging and rewarding this behavior, construction leaders not only reinforce the importance of safety but also incentivize similar actions in the future. However, delays in reward delivery, whether due to rigid pay cycles or cumbersome redemption processes, erode the connection between the desired behavior and its positive consequence, undermining the effectiveness of the reward system.

To counteract this trend and elevate the impact of rewards programs in the construction industry, it’s essential to adopt a proactive approach that prioritizes timeliness and precision. By delivering rewards swiftly following the behavior they seek to reinforce, construction companies can leverage behavioral science principles to drive continuous improvement and enhance overall project outcomes.

Moreover, the construction industry often relies heavily on punitive measures (“sticks”) to enforce compliance with safety protocols and project guidelines. While penalties have their place in ensuring adherence to standards, research is clear that a more balanced approach, incorporating positive reinforcement (“carrots”), can yield greater long-term benefits. Many construction companies have acknowledged the need to shift towards a culture of “more carrot and less stick,” recognizing that while rules and penalties may deter undesirable behavior, incentives and rewards serve to motivate and inspire employees to live into or exceed expectations.

Carrot bunch

3 changes every construction company should be considering.

To increase the impact that a reward has on employee behavior, make a few simple changes to your employee rewards strategy:

Deliver the reward quickly – immediately, where possible – following the behavior that earned the reward. A modern technology partner, like Whistle Rewards can help you do this very efficiently.

Make it as easy as possible for employees to enjoy their rewards. Delivering cash (rather than points or barely-wanted merchandise) directly to their mobile device allows them to choose the rewards that are most meaningful.  Cash is not only the most requested reward, but the flexibility allows people to apply the reward in a way that is most meaningful to them at that point in their life.

Reward your employees frequently. Even small rewards, when provided in the moment, have a big impact.  Data shows its more cost effective to provide small but frequent rewards when it comes to changing behavior than a large quarterly or end-of-year bonus.

If you’d like to learn more about how Whistle can help you maximize the behavioral impact of your current rewards budget and produce better results on the job site when it comes to things like safety and performance, contact us or sign up for a free demo.

Drew Carter

Drew Carter is CEO and Co-founder of Whistle. Drew brings a combination of executive leadership, business strategy, technical software experience and data analytics to his work. He has worked in large and small corporations, worked in industry building software products enjoyed by millions and served as a consultant helping companies better compete in the digital age. Throughout his career he has thread a keen understanding of commercial strategy with contemporary technology to deliver hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental value.

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Timely reward in construction