5 TIPS ON HOW TO BE A BETTER LABOURER
Updated: Apr 14
Whether you are interested in finding a job in a construction company, find a job with a labour hire or just want to become a more professional labourer and get a pay rise, it is vital to know some of the most important attributes every construction worker should possess.
A construction labourer is the backbone of any building project, therefore, not only will you be asked to perform some of the basic tasks, but you are also required to respect some ethics or own your job properly.
It is a known fact that many construction workers tend to become too “rough”, as well as kind of unprofessional. But like in other professions, there are some basics of professionalism that can be learned.
NOT THE OBVIOUS STUFF
In this article, we WILL NOT go deep into the basic.
For the record, it is a pre-requirement to work as a general labourer to:
Be physically fit
Speak conversational English
Be able to follow instructions
Work Safely - Wear PPE
Know basic math
Have an good eye for detail
Be able to time manage
...But I have the feeling that you already know that... In this article, we'll look into the 5 of the skills to be a GREAT labourer, as well as the way you can place yourself in the best possible light.
So let's start with what a good labourer should know:
A construction labourer knows that the job is all about being helpful as much as possible and own the fact that he/she is there to support the supervisor on the job execution. A good labourer is proactive (thinks ahead) and is responsible enough to work unsupervised.
Now let's go into the things that makes the real difference:
1. KNOW THE DETAILS OF YOUR JOB IN ADVANCE
Try to find everything about your future construction job in advance. Any employer that hires labourers will find you more professional once you already know something about the company you want to work for.
Ask the employer what you will be doing on-site, what you will be responsible for, as well as the specifics of the job you are applying for. Additionally, if you work of a labour hire, you can ask your allocator for a detailed job description.
You can also ask people who are working there if they are happy being contacted by one of the potential employers you have been looking at. By doing this, you would feel more comfortable during the interview and also know what to expect when starting on a new construction job.
Don't be afraid of googling the task or calling other professionals so you are not in a completely fresh to the activity when its time to rock-and-roll.
2. INTRODUCE YOURSELF PROPERLY
When it comes starting on construction jobs, the way you are introducing yourself is the first card you are offering.
Now, don’t forget about manners, so shake hands, present yourself professionally and make eye contact.
Soon after, Make sure you express who you will be working with (supervisor name and company name), why you are there, what you can do, as well as other relevant information.
When looking for work: As the building domain is a hands-on industry, construction recruitment agencies in Australia and in the world are looking for new workers with tangible examples with what they have done well in the past, so:
Pro tip: make sure you take pictures of your work. This alone thing is the best way of marketing yourself as a skilled labourer or tradie.
3. OWN YOUR JOB
Physical general labour work tends to be a tough, however, if that is your job right now, own it.
Doing your best will lead you to be a master of it. You may think "why should I master labouring? I should master a trade", but if you did, you thought wrong. Being responsible and having work ethic does not depend of what rank you're on.
Strive for excellence wherever you're at the career ladder.
How to do that?
Consider that your job as a labourer is about helping and supporting your supervisor.
Although you are basically told what you need to do, your job is helping as much as you can. Try to achieve the best results your foreman wants, understand the job’s processes and be on top of things.
Anticipate what you will be told to work, do things in advance and don’t stop making suggestions. Imagine how annoying it is for a supervisor to always tell his workers what to do and always having to keep an eye on them.
Your overall outcome, is to be indispensable for the company or labour hire agency. Learn more about it here
4. ALWAYS DO THE RIGHT THING
It is clear that the position of a labourer will be always associated with physically demanding tasks, right? As such, some of these requirements might include climbing ladders, digging, lifting heavy objects, and so on.... all general construction work tend to be physical.
There might be bad days, so if you are feeling like you are lacking in performance, be honest to yourself and the others, it is part of your work ethic.
If you did not completely understand the task, make sure you ask. Being humble will ALWAYS look better than making mistakes.
Maybe most of the Australian construction books won’t speak about it, but work ethic means "Doing the right things, even when no one is looking". Having work ethic makes all the difference for any work. Keep that in mind.
Moreover, the experienced foreman is usually very good at estimating time for execution, as well as energy management. Therefore, they can tell if you have knowledge about the job or you're just pretending. They also know and if you are really performing or just looking busy.
Pro tip: It works both ways the labourer is usually the lowest rank. Don't let be used as an excuse by others to be disrespectful towards you. Your job is as important as any. Always stand for respect and report abuse any time it happens.
Learn a few tricks about respect: click here
5. ALWAYS ASK FOR FEEDBACK
Whether you will get a job through a labour hire service or directly from the employer, always ask your superior for feedback.
Feedback can be energising and motivating and has strong links to employee satisfaction and productivity. Feedback will give you the opportunity to improve their skills, and to look at themselves in a different light.
Now, when it comes to a labour’s work, asking for feedback will bring to the supervisor’s mind the actual quality of your work. You will seem interested and professional in your activity, while also being humble.
Pro Tip: if your feedback is a really good one, make sure to ask the supervisor to pass it over the superiors or to your direct allocator (in case of labour hire) or the project manager (in case of the building companies). This is quite mandatory, as people in the offices don’t see labours often, neither they know how they do their work on-site.
Working hard and asking for feedback was one of the main reasons I was able to climb the ranks and found Spades Labour Hire.
Being a labour is much harder than people actually think. But if you do the right thing and respect some very basic steps, you will be soon moved up in the ranks and grow in your career. Always strive for success and improvement.
Learn More about ambition here