Construction crews are among the happiest employees across all industries, study shows
Membrane Concepts in Massachusetts is one of a handful of companies in the nation that installs custom 60 mil PVC in-ground pool liners. Owner and general manager Ron Melbourne has three employees who travel all over the nation together installing pool liners. All of them say they couldn’t be happier in their jobs and having each other as co-workers.
“When you travel and spend so much time together, you become like a family,” says James Earehart, Membrane Concepts’ lead technician. “We are some of the happiest people because we share some of the greatest memories. It’s more than just a job; it’s a relationship.”
This year, TINYpulse, a human-resource research firm, conducted an anonymous one-question survey of over 30,000 employees across more than 12 district industries and 500 organizations. Its Best Industry Ranking reports that construction and facility employees are among the happiest across all of those industries.
Dean Rice, owner of Rice Pools and Spas in Hermitage, Pa., says a crew who gets along is a major contributor to their happiness. “I was just talking to one of my guys…and he said he’s had other job offers, but he didn’t take them because he likes staying here,” Rice says. “I told him I appreciate that.”
Pool construction can be tough work, “especially those long days,” says Austin Vaughan, National Pools of Roanoke, Inc.’s vice president of sales, design and construction. “However, my brothers and I work hard to obtain new projects and keep our backlog strong, which keeps our employees busy and happy to know there is plenty of work.”
Motivating your crew is also a great way to keep them happy. Steve White, owner of Underwater Pool Masters in West Boylston, Ma., says he like when his employees further their education, and gives raises when they receive new certifications. He also gives bonuses when someone comes up with new, innovative ideas that help the business run more smoothly.
“I encourage their input,” White says. “I may have done something the same way for 10 or 20 years, and then you have someone with a younger mind and different outlook on something…. I always encourage them to find a way to make their job better, which will make the company better.”
White adds that his own motivation carries over to his employees. “My people actually want to do it right,” White says. “Give them respect, but expect returns that are comparable. Their progress can be rewarded, but they need to show progress.”
Melbourne’s respect for family life also motivates Earehart, who says his job doesn’t mean he has to miss holidays or his children’s birthdays. Earehart’s granddaughter’s birthday is May 17, right in the heart of its busiest month. “I catch a flight the night before, spend the day with her, then fly back that night,” he says. “Ron covers all those expenses for me. He goes above and beyond as an employer.” In addition to getting along with her co-workers and having a great boss, self-fulfillment is what keeps Kaitlin King, Membrane Concepts’ only female employee, happy in her job. “I have unique skills that make me more valuable,” King says. “We’re close to our boss, so we want to make him and [our customers] proud. When you start something and you finish it right, that’s honestly what makes me the happiest, because I get better every time I do it. When you finish and you finally do it well — that feeling is inexplicable. That’s the main thing that motivates me.”