When it comes to safety in the construction industry, “the gap between what is said and what is actually done is alarming,” according to the authors of a new report that showcases research critical to the advancement of the industry.

Overall, 90 percent of the hundreds of construction professionals who responded to a survey for the “People in Construction 2019 Report” by FireStarter Speaking & Consulting identified safety as a top priority. Office operations personnel valued safety at an impressive 90 percent. Field supervisors were not too far behind, at 93 percent, with executives bringing up the rear at 85 percent.

However, additional survey results suggested that many in the industry are only paying lip service to safety. Overall, 78 percent said they consistently work safely, but only 68% of field supervisers – or 1 in 3 - do not prioritize the safety of their employees. Things are slightly better in the office, with 78% of those respondents and 75% of executives reporting that they consistently work safely.

"That sexual comment he made to that new female project engineer got him fired."

In terms of corporate culture, 90% of all respondents agreed that ignoring core values will cause serious problems. There was a consensus that enforcing standards “across the board” and not allowing double standard is vital to a healthy organization.

One respondent noted in a follow-up conversation, “I knew they were finally serious with this when they let Jimmy go. He had been with us for years and was known for his production. He was also known for being a jerk. We had just had sexual harassment training a few weeks prior but he thought it didn’t matter. He would do what he always did. Well, that sexual comment he made to that new female project engineer got him fired. We weren’t sad to see him go, but more important, we knew the company was serious about treating people right.”

According to the report, the quality of a company’s culture can be measured to some extent by the state of its referral program – something especially relevant for an industry struggling to cope with labor shortages. Eighty-four percent of all respondents said that they would recommend working at their company to friends. Even more revealing: 83% said that if given the chance, they would reapply for their current job.

“We know there is a connection between loyalty and profitability, and we confirmed this in follow-up interviews,” said the study authors.

Another positive indicator: the lack of micromanagement across the board. Only 10% of office supervision and 12% of field supervision agreed with this statement: My supervisor micromanages me. Perhaps one of the most startling findings in all of this was the 17% of executive leadership who said they were micromanaged. Ninety percent of respondents agree on this statement: My supervisor treats me fairly.

The report called this “very encouraging, and exactly what you would hope for from firms that are doing well with creating a positive workplace culture.”

Click here to read the report.