a construction awareness and motivational program
John D. Borcherding,2
and Joe Turner3
Previous ASCE and PMI published articles have described ways management could increase job satisfaction and productivity of construction craftsmen and foremen (1,2,3,4,5,6). However, there has been only limited feedback from construction companies who have experimented with these recommendations. This paper describes the implementation of a motivational program incorporating previous recommendations plus techniques particularly developed for this project to improve the utilization of the lower level workforce. The program was designed to increase craftsman and foreman awareness of the unique clean and sanitary design requirements of a food processing plant. The motivational aspects of the program concentrated on recognition of outstanding individual and crew effort through the effective use of competitive awards.
The program was developed by the first and second authors working as consultants to an owner-client and implemented by Daniel Construction Company, Incorporated. The third author contributed to the initial development of the program and participated in its implementation and evaluation. Other participants in the program from the owner-client and Daniel contributed to the success of the program, but individual effort and recognition is excluded from this paper.
Food processing plants require a sanitary environment, which is dirt and dust free and easily cleaned. Furthermore, the product must be free of possible contaminants such as bacteria, insects or rodents. Successful implementation of Sanitary and Clean Design principles must involve the craftsmen and site managers who construct a plant. The fact that craftsmen and site managers are strongly motivated does not always insure their awareness of principles of sanitary and clean construction. The program described herein was thus considered as a pilot effort to develop such an awareness among key craft personnel.
The specific objectives of the program are:
1) To ensure that the desired sanitary and clean design level is achieved by construction, considering
a) Design Requirements
i) Optimum cost consideration
ii) FDA and other designated requirements
iii) Technical and basic design requirements
b) Client Expectations.
c) Minimization of Reworks
2) To establish an awareness program which will serve as a pattern for other projects
Name identification is often a key factor in the success of a motivational effort. The third author was instrumental in encouraging a name for the program and suggesting Sanitary Construction Awareness Techniques.
The acronym for the program name is SCAT, using first letters only. A designation for the craftsmen participating in the program suitably became “Craftsmen and Trendsetters.” Thus a logical motif evolved around the words SCAT CAT which represent Sanitary Construction Awareness Techniques—Craftsmen and Trendsetters. A deliberate decision was made to build the program’s activities and image around the words SCAT CAT, with the hope that the phrase might inspire creativity and imaginative activities among the participants.
The SCAT CAT name suggests a symbol might be appropriate, and one was designed by artists at the Daniel Corporate Offices. The SCAT CAT symbol is shown in Figure 1
It was determined early that the necessary efforts should be directed toward educating and creating an awareness of sanitary construction principles among the craftsmen. The thrust of the program was designed as a three-phased effort to:
1) ACQUAINT craftsmen, supervisors, and others with sanitary design and construction principles and ideas;
2) CONTINUOUSLY REMIND them through a variety of visual and other techniques; and
3) RECOGNIZE AND REWARD accomplishments in achieving sanitary construction.
A fourth aspect which is often overlooked is that of EVALUATION, both of quality and of the program’s effectiveness. Although evaluation of quality is sometimes subjective, it was hoped that appropriate judgments could be made through the course of the project. Likewise, placing accurate monetary values on savings from the program was known to be a difficult task since the greatest effectiveness would be in preventing re-works. Nonetheless, it was hoped to obtain at least partial quantification of program effectiveness.
Organization and Activities
The program’s activities were organized in accordance with the guidelines discussed in the preceding paragraphs. The organization, of intended activities, is given in outline format in Table 1. The major items are discussed in the following sections of the paper. As the job progressed and the program was implemented, responsibilities were adjusted to meet project needs; however, the outline given in Table 1 was essentially followed.
The major exceptions from the outline given in Table 1 were in the evaluation of Quality and in the Program Evaluation. For many reasons, it became economically unfeasible to implement and monitor any of the evaluation ideas initially considered.
This initial orientation was intended to introduce craftsmen to sanitary and clean principles early in their employment. Two phases were implemented: a questionnaire and an initial orientation session.
A questionnaire had been planned as a means for measuring attitudinal changes of craftsmen during the course of the project. A simple, two-page questionnaire was designed for this purpose. The questionnaire was to be given to new employees, during their first day on the project, to serve as a “before” measurement. Later samples would provide “after” measurements.
Unfortunately, implementation of the questionnaire became confused during the early stages and due to bad weather conditions, the project and program experienced unexpected delays in the early months of 1978. Moreover, the questionnaire was printed on the front and back of one sheet and most of the craftsmen failed to answer the back page questions. Failure by the consultants to monitor this activity in the early program stages allowed several hundred questionnaires to accumulate before the omissions were noticed. Preliminary attempts to analyze the questionnaires indicated a lack of adequate information and the activity was discontinued for the remainder of the project.
The questionnaires were considered as supplementary information from the outset, and their deletion did not affect the overall resuts of the program.
Initial Orientation Sessions
Each craftsman was to attend an initial orientation during his first week on the project. The orientation sessions were attempts to formally introduce the SCAT CAT program and were to be conducted in groups of 10-15 persons.
The orientation sessions were conducted by a Daniel Quality Control coordinator who administered the SCAT CAT program along with his quality control coordination duties. Each session lasted about 45 minutes and consisted of four activities.
The first activity was that of an informal quiz which was utilized to determine both pre-knowledge of craftsmen and to introduce them to sanitary construction principles. Quiz results are summarized in Table 2. A total of 222 were graded. Based upon the quiz data, it is apparent that prior to the initial orientation session. The average number of correct answers to the 27 questions was slightly less than one-half, with a low of about 4 percent and a high of 83 percent. It would have been desirable to have given the same quiz later to the same persons in order to measure the program’s effectiveness, but the dynamic nature of the work force precluded such actions.
One of the key elements in the SCAT CAT program consisted of a slide presentation which was presented orally and informally by the SCAT CAT coordinator. A preliminary script of the slide presentation was adjusted according to verbal questions and comments from the audience. Canned presentations appeared not to be nearly as effective as those given informally. The “informal” nature appears to have been an important element in obtaining craftsmen acceptance and identification.
Hard hat stickers, with the SCAT CAT emblem shown in Figure 1, were given to each person at the end of the orientation session. The stickers became a symbol of pride among the craftsmen, since they were given to only those who had attended an orientation session. Thus, those who had not yet attended began asking for invitations, and considerable interest was generated in the program. It’s important to note that those who had not attended the orientation, and thus had not received a hard hat sticker, felt little involvement in the program.
The last item distributed at the orientation sessions was a printed sheet which summarized key elements of the slide presentation. These sheets were not considered in the initial planning, but were added by the program coordinator as the program developed. They served as effective references and reminders to the participants.
The initial orientation sessions were most effective. They were given approximately 40 times, to some 500 persons. At the peak employment, about 85 percent of the project personnel had attended the orientation sessions. There was, perhaps, some awkwardness in that the sessions were given on a crew basis rather than to employees as they were hired. Thus, some persons were employed several days or weeks, before attending the orientation session. Nonetheless, the sessions were meaningful and served to create an initial awareness of sanitary design and construction principles.
The initial orientation sessions were quite effective in introducing sanitary and clean design and construction concepts to those who participated. In addition, five separate categories of activities were designed to provide continuous and periodic reminders in a positive fashion. These are listed below and, with exception of the Awards activities, are discussed in succeeding sections of this section of the paper.
Agenda Item at Weekly Meetings
Shirt Pocket Manual
Agenda Item at Project Management Meetings
As with any major program, the role of project management is a key and vital one. Thus, the SCAT CAT program was an agenda item for each of the weekly supervisor’s meetings. The program coordinator utilized the time, about 5 minutes at each meeting, to discuss progress of the SCAT CAT program, announce upcoming events, and solicit suggestions from the project supervision. The material discussed was thus recorded in the meeting minutes and circulated to the supervisors, which provided an additional reminder.
The visual reminders consisted of project newsletter articles and posters which were placed around the job site. Initially, it was considered likely that special Quality Newsletters would be desirable. However, it became apparent that the special newsletters were not warranted and that the visual reminders in use were quite adequate.
The project newsletter, tided The Daniel Mix, carried at least one article on the SCAT CAT program in each issue. Its first issue introduced the program and explained its purposes and activities. Subsequent issues had articles announcing award winners and giving details of their contributions and recognitions.
Posters were placed around the project at strategic locations. The posters, which were designed by Daniel artists and included the SCAT CAT emblem, were all tided “SCAT CAT SEZ” and were hand lettered with phrases and sketches.
There were an estimated 150 SCAT CAT SEZ posters placed around the project. It now appears that at least twice that number could have been used in order to maximize effectiveness. Nonetheless, the posters generated considerable program interest and awareness.
Family tours of the facility under construction were provided to all project personnel on selected Sunday afternoons. The tours received publicity through posters, newsletter articles and flyers stapled to paychecks. Their purpose was to allow families to better identify with the craftsmen’s activities and with the products made by the plant.
The tours were well planned by the project management. In addition to a visual inspection opportunity of the site, there was an opportunity to view a plastic model of the facility. Award plaques and photographs of award winners were prominently displayed. Refreshments were served. Miniature hard hats were most successful and appreciated, as evidenced by the comments from attendees.
Shirt Pocket Manual
It was intended to produce manuals to be given to craftsmen about halfway through the project. The purpose of the manuals was two-fold. The first, and most important, purpose was to provide an opportunity for involvement by key craft superintendents in helping to write the manuals. The second purpose was, of course, to serve as a reference and reminder source to the craftsmen.
Four manuals were planned: one each for civil crafts, mechanical crafts, electricians and for millwrights and sheet metal crafts. Craft superintendents’ reviewed the manuals and their input was received during a job site visit by the consultants. Unfortunately, the manuals were not printed until mid-November, so that their use by craftsmen was limited.
The manuals served their original purposes well. The superintendents entered into their development with enthusiasm. Daniel staff designed covers and other features and the project staff made contributions to their content. Although their distribution on this project was minimal, they are being used for other projects in their present form and will provide an excellent basis for revision for later and different types of manuals.
The overall assessment of the reinforcements and reminders activities was quite positive. There appeared to be no one on the project who wasn’t acquainted with the SCAT CAT program. Many other reminders, not discussed above, were also present. The monthly awards, the hard hat stickers, a suggestion box, belt buckles, and several other items served to supplement the organized reminder activities.
One of the basic program thrusts was to Recognize and Reward achievements. This is the most significant part of the program in that it created competition and above all provided recognition for outstanding effort. The awards program was designed both to provide incentives for quality in construction and to provide visibility and recognition to the SCAT CAT program.
The Awards program consisted of four major features. The first two involved recognition of a Crew-of-the-Month and of a Craftsman-of-the-Month. (These soon became known as the SCAT CAT Crew-of-the-Month and SCAT CAT-of-the-Month.) The intent of these features was obviously to give recognition to a small, but significant, number of individuals on a regular basis. The third feature was a more subtle recognition with letters of commendation from project management. The last award, intended to provide a major and reachable goal, was a major award.
A considerable effort was given to planning the crew-of-the-month program. It was recognized early that the program had to be flexible and adjusted as changes in its administration became necessary. In the early stages of the SCAT CAT program deliberations, in December 1977, selected craftsmen were consulted for suggestions on appropriate awards and administration of the crew-of-the-month program.
The crew-of-the-month recognition involved nominations from general foremen, craft superintendents, and others. An Awards Committee, consisting of project management personnel, made the selections. The crew members and the spouses received their awards at special dinners each month at a prominent restaurant. The awards consisted of special SCAT CAT belt buckles, a small award for spouses and, of course, the dinner itself. Recipients were allowed to leave an hour early on the days of the dinners to have time to go home and dress. All awards were presented by the Project Manager. The name of the crew foreman was also included in a drawing for the major award to be given at the end of the project.
A listing of the crew recipients is given in Table 3. The number of nominations per month varied from 4 to 8, with some crews nominated for several months. The Awards Committee also reserved the right to make its own nominations. The contributions from the crews were most significant and involved savings estimated, by project personnel, of more than $200,000.
The Crew-of-the-Month activity was a most successful feature. It generated incentives, enthusiasm and appreciation among the craftsmen. Several letters of appreciation were received from craftsmen and their spouses. The awardees wore their SCAT CAT belt buckles proudly throughout the remainder of the project. Perhaps most of all, the dinners and award presentations provided a positive image for craftsmen and management to work together in achieving a common goal for a high quality project.
The Craftsman-of-the-Month award program was conducted in a similar manner to that for the Crew-of-the-Month. The same awards committee made the selections. Awards were given at the same dinners. Craftsmen were nominated by their foremen, by general foremen, superintendents, or by the Awards Committee. The award for the Craftsman-of-the-Month was a suitably engraved plaque which was signed by the President of Daniel Construction Company. (This award had been suggested by craftsmen.) Winners’ names were also placed in the Major Award Drawing.
A listing of the Craftsmen-of-the-Month is given in Table 4. It is significant that 3 of the 8 recipients were a carpenter general foreman, a labor foreman, and a subcontractor foreman. The carpenter general foreman developed a technique which prevented red-heading and separately forming equipment bases and had estimated savings of $30,000. The labor foreman was nominated by several persons for several months and was recognized by many for his quality of workmanship. The subcontractor’s foreman was responsible for development of cover plate techniques which were of significant quality.
The craftsmen-of-the-month and their spouses were also quite appreciative of their recognitions. Several “thank you” letters were received. The craftsmen wore their SCAT CAT buckles on the job site. Each recipient’s plaque was displayed in the project office for one month, until the next month’s selection was made.
Letters of commendation for quality work were sent from the Daniel Project Manager and from the Daniel Manager of the Manufacturing and Consumer Products Division, to selected individuals. They were sent to award recipients and to other selected craftsmen whose quality of performance was considered superior. Copies of these letters went into the employees’ files. Other personnel who were not eligible for the awards were recognized by letters of commendation. Among these were the office engineers, who had attended the orientation sessions and who had made major contributions to sanitary construction quality. The use of commendation letters on future projects would be a highly desirable technique in recognizing employee contributions.
One major award, in this case an engraved shotgun, was given during the project. The award was to be given for a recognizable and tangible accomplishment and was a meaningful prize. To ensure that at least one award would be given, a drawing was scheduled at the end of the project and included names of the craftsmen-of-the-month and the foremen of the crews-of-the-month.
Unfortunately, no major awards were agiven during the early project stages. It would have probably been possible, in retrospect, to give one to the Carpenter General Foreman who developed a cost-saving forming technique. Nonetheless, the major award provided an incentive for all craftsmen.
A final dinner was given for all previous award recipients. The drawing for the shotgun (major award) was held at that time. The dinner was attended by cuorporate personnel from Daniel (including two vice-presidents), the client, and by the consultants. It was apparent from comments of the award recipients that the SCAT CAT program had made a significant impact on their attitudes toward sanitary construction, Daniel Construction Company and the client.
A quantitive evaluation of quality and of the SCAT CAT program was recognized as difficult. Nonetheless, attempts were made to consider possible evaluation methods in the planning stages of the program.
Evaluation of Quality
Objective evaluation of quality is a time consuming process. Thus, quality evaluations, in all but critical areas, are generally done in a subjective fashion. It was recognized in the project planning stage that to measure sanitary quality in a quantitative fashion would be prohibitively expensive. It was considered possible, however, to utilize subjective measures to obtain formal quality reviews. These were to be accomplished by establishing the three committees listed below.
Quality Evaluation Board
The Quality Triad was an existing informal group of representatives from client, Daniel and A. M. Kinney, Design Engineers. The three representatives walked the job on a regular basis, and quality inspection was a routine operation. It was hoped to somehow formalize their operation to obtain documentation and trends of quality during the program implementation. Unfortunately, that procedure did not prove feasible and was not implemented.
A Quality Evaluation Board was recommended as a periodic, high level, review operation, on a monthly basis, the board was to consist of the Plant Manager and corporate office representatives from the client and Daniel. The Quality Evaluation Board would not only review the quality of construction in progress, but would also establish the desired levels of quality. Unfortunately, it was never implemented, because of time constraints and scheduling difficulties among its members.
The Awards Committee was, of course, established. It consisted of the quality Control Coordinator, the Assistant Project Manager, the Construction Manager, the Subcontract Coordinator, and the Methods Engineer. This Committee met formally at least once per month, but reviewed the project daily on an individual basis. (Its name was formally changed to the Nominations Selection Committee during the latter stages of the project.) Although the Committee did not make quantitative measurements or documentation of quality, its members were aware of the numbers of reworks and the mumbers of reworks prevented.
Program Evaluation Considerations
As with the measurement of quality, evaluation of a motivation program is mostly subjective. A number of potential sources of measurement, which are listed below were considered in the planning stages. Each is discussed briefly in the following paragraphs.
Numbers of Reworks
Comparison with previous Plants
The absenteeism/turnover is affected by many things. Other nearby projects may influence turnover significantly, as will weather. Early in the project the absenteeism/turnover rate was relatively low, even before beginning the SCAT CAT PROGRAM. Thus, any expected effects were unmeasurable.
No records were kept of numbers of reworks or reworks prevented. However, these items were often referred to in nominations for the monthly awards.
It is still too early to assess the Post-Start-Up items or to compare the quality of this plant with that of previous plants.
The original intent was to utilize the Quizzes in a “before-after” manner to assess the SCAT CAT program’s effectiveness. As previously discussed, the “before” quizes showed considerable ignorance of sanitary and clean design principles. No “after” quizzes were given. They should have been and were inadvertently omitted until it was too late.
The questionnaire was given to 120 persons at the beginning of their employment. It was hoped to utilize the questions on the back page of the questionnaire in a “pre-post” fashion to determine attitudinal shifts during the job’s progress. However, few craftsmen answered the questions on the back page and thus there was no basis for comparison with a later questionnaire. Results from four key questions on the front page are given in Table 5. These results show a lack of awareness among the new hires of unique design and construction of food processing facilities. This is consistent with the quiz results and emphasizes the need for an awareness program. The questionnaire also shows that few craftsmen have been involved in awards programs (most were safety oriented). Thus the impact of the SCAT CAT awards is understandable.
Several interviews were made with selected craftsmen late in the project. Some of the comments from the interviews are given in Table 6. The interview results showed a wide acceptance of the SCAT CAT program and a resulting atmosphere of quality oriented sanitary construction. One appropriate comment from a subcontractor was, “I feel SCAT CAT may be a stepping stone that we’ve been looking for. SCAT CAT is bringing back quality.”
The acknowledgment/awards effort identified several contributions in a tangible fashion. Many others were given verbally in the nomination process. Unfortunately, not all were recorded.
Certain tangible and quantifiable items were identified by project personnel during the course of the SCAT CAT program. These are listed in Tables 7 and 8, as ideas evolving from construction personnel and from engineering personnel. The listings were made by the program and Quality Control
Coordinator and have somefirst person comments. Although no dollar estimates are included, all project personnel agreed that the total savings amounted to more than $200,000.
The SCAT CAT program was succesful. Both awareness and job morale were increased among the craftsmen. It also had the desired effect of promoting genral quality.
An apparent fall-out of the program was its impact upon office personnel. Office engineers have caught many items in design, which were reflected in field change requests.
The program had a number of items which could have been improved. These were understandable since this was a first time effort. Indeed, it was designed with considerable redundancy, so that no single item could unduly influence its success. Likewise, many items initially planned were deleted as the program was implemented as it became apparent that they were unnecessary.
Equipment Pad Formwork was supported in such a fashion that no typical “Redheading” into the concrete floor was required; thus, eliminating floor patching which could in subsequent years cause excessive maintenance problems.
When the Slab-on-Grade was being poured, Carpenters installed and removed a Forming System in a depressed area of the floor, that should have been typically boxed-out and poured later. Because of this form design, construction was able to maintain a monolithic pour of the entire area, thereby, eliminating extra construction joints and effort.
The Equipment Enclosure Steel Connections were designed to be totally welded. Because the area is designated as being sanitary, the Welded Connections were ot be ground smooth. The Welders were informed of the sanitary requirements in the area. Because of their awareness of the sanitary requirements, they welded the Structural Connections in such a fashion that the welding was totally acceptable from a santitary standpoint, thereby, requiring no grinding, a definite cost savings.
The Electricians have been made so aware of the Scat-Cat Program that they have made Gauge Blocks for conduit to ensure they do not violate the sanitary spacing criteria.
All floors in the building have tooled construction joints. These joints not only are straight and true in appearance, but money was saved in not saw cutting the joints. This idea stems from construction demanding of itself to give a more sanitary environment.
The Conduit and Pipe Hangers were designed on the project. Because of the knowledge and awareness of Sanitary Construction, these hangers were designed with santitation in mind and should not necessitate any future sanitary alterations.
The Electricians were to run conduit from the second floor to the first floor, but no electrical drawings were available to show the routing. Because of the awareness of the Electricians of the sanitary requirements of the project, they installed the conduit in the wall and the floor instead of exposing the conduit. A major effort towards Sanitary Construction.
The knowledge and awareness the field has received through the Scat-Cat Program is immeasurable in a quantitative sense. And the Day-In/Day-Out field activity that the Foremen and Craftsmen experience has been directly influenced by the Scat-Cat Awareness Program. This has been proven many times over by the questions asked of myself and of other Office Personnel, and the interest shown in the Awards Program.
The success of the SCAT CAT program is largely due to the enthusiasm and creativity of personnel from client and from Daniel. Its important to recognize their vital roles in this innovative undertaking.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
The SCAT CAT program has been a successful “first-time” effort. Although only limited data were obtained to measure results quantitatively, it is apparent that the resultant cost savings were many times the program costs. The following recommendations are important factors that should be considered if a motivational program is implemented on other projects.
1) A catchy, but identifiable, name for a program, such as SCAT CAT, should be created.
2) The basic format of initial orientation sessions, reminders awards and evaluations is an apropriate means of creating involvement in a motivational program.
3) The program must be flexible, and allow adjustment for each project. Maximum involvement of local project personnel is must in the planning stages. If it is a union project, union of the program.
4) The program should probably be implemented as early as possible in a project’s schedule. Many items require long lead times to develop.
5) One person should be designated as the central focus for administering the program. At least one-quarter of his time should be alloted for the program.
6) Consideration should be given to recognition for office personnel who make tangible contributions. Although not well documented, it is felt that considerable savings resulted form office engineers and others on this project who had attended orientation sessions and later made design changes.
Engineering has issued marked-up drawings distinguishing between Sanitary and Clean Design area. This shall help the field to better interpret what finish work is necessary to meet Sanitary Design requirements.
The Mechanical Department has revised all their drawings to move all piping away from the walls and lowered piping from the ceilings in sanitary areas. Another Pro-Active effort to assure Sanitary Construction.
A key to the success of the Scat-Cat Program in Engineering is the awareness and the knowledge of the Sanitary Construction principles Engineering was informed of prior to any major activities in the field. This together with the continous reminders has alerted Engineering to more closely analyze all construction drawings and specifications.
This program has also confirmed many previous recommendations that outlined the importance of recognizing construction craftsmen and foremen to improve quality productivity and job satisfaction. Furthermore, the success of this motivational program is further supported by follow-up programs to be conducted on two additional projects with different clients and contractors.
1. Borcherding, J.D., “Applying Behavioral Science Research Findings on Construction Projects,” Project Management Institute Quarterly, Vol. Ill, No. 3, Sept., 1976.
2. Borcherding, J.D., “Improving Construction Communication,” Project Management Institute Quarterly, Vol. 9, No. 4, Dec., 1977.
3. Borcherding, J.D., “Improving Productivity in Industrial Construction,” Journal of the Construction Division, ASCE , Vol. 102, No. CO4, Proc. Paper 12595, Dec., 1976,pp. 599-614.
4. Borcherding, J.D., “What are Construction Foremen Really Like?”, Journal of the Construction Division, ASCE, Vol. 103, No. CO 1, Proc. Paper 12783, Mar., 1977, pp. 71-85.
5. Borcherding, J.D., and Oglesby, C.H., “Construction Productivity and Job Satisfaction,” Journal of the Construction Division, ASCE, Vol. 100, No. CO3, Proc. Paper 10826, pp. 413-431.
6. Borcherding, J.D., and Oglesby, C.H., “Job Dissatisfaction in Construction Work,” Journal of the Construction Division, ASCE, Vol. 101, No. CO2, Proc. Paper 11390, June, 1975, pp. 415-434.
1Professor of Architectural and Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Texas, Austin, Texas.
2Assoc. Professor of Architectural and Civ. Engrg., Univ. of Texas, Austin, Texas.
3Director, Manpower & Program Development, Daniel Construction Co., Greenville, South Carolina.