Evan's Corner: The Art of Motivation
By Evan Coulter
The best thing about our team at UCEC is that their motivation comes from within. It’s not something a management staff can create or enforce. Motivation doesn’t spring from a poster of a soaring eagle tacked above a manager’s desk.
Instead, I’ve found that the UCEC shop crew is self-motivated to do great craftsmanship. They have a deep pride in their work. When a shop member sits with a customer who is inspecting one of their panels, the team member is motivated to do the best work they can.
We ask a lot of our employees. We ask for their overtime and often, weekend work as well. Even though this time is compensated, working extra hours and long hours can be a sacrifice. I know this life well: I started out building panels in the UCEC shop nearly 15 years ago. So I am keenly aware of what it means to ask an employee to dig a little deeper and show up for extra work. I appreciate each and every employee who works so hard for UCEC.
I’ve found that most people aren’t motivated by money and benefits, although those are certainly important reasons for doing well at any company. We try to instill flexibility in the job (for instance, allowing employees to select which side of the shop they work on) and a sense of ownership in their work product.
Sometimes, we have a little fun, too. Last year, I wanted to recognize our team for working a lot of extra hours. We had a “Happy Raffle Day ‘O Fun” where we raffled off prizes based on how many extra hours employees worked. We gave away gift certificates, tablets and for the grand prize, a television. I am planning on something like this again soon.
I think I learned the art of motivation from watching my father. A bridge engineer, he wasn’t flashy in his work ethic, but it was there. And watching him, I was motivated to go out into the world and work hard. His patience and determination made a big impact on me. From his quiet lessons, I was motivated to do good work and contribute positively wherever I found myself.
Evan is the VP of Operations for UCEC.