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Elements To Consider To Achieve The Right Construction Office Design Layout

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Feb 02,2017 @ 05:00 AM

What Are The Elements To Consider To Achieve The Right Office Design Layout?

Modern desk for contractor office layoutThe layout of your workplace is extremely important, because the wrong layout can restrict staff and hinder productivity, while the right layout can help your team to carry out their tasks more effectively and boost productivity and even creativity. For this reason, it is important that you plan your layout carefully and make the right choices.

In this article, we take a look at some of the most crucial elements you and your office design company will need to consider when planning the layout of your office space.


1. The Size of Your Team

In terms of pure office space planning, one of the single most important considerations is the size of your team. If your team consists of around a dozen people, a small, shared space may suffice, but your needs will obviously be rather different if you are employing more than 100 people.

Where possible, you want to try and make sure your layout is future proof too. This means taking into consideration the potential for growth and, therefore, the addition of more staff members.


Office space planning for contractors2. The Nature of the Work

Next, you need to think about the nature of the work carried out by your business. If you primarily require people to stay focused on individual tasks, an open plan design may damage productivity, because staff may become distracted. Instead, it would make sense to try and give staff access to quiet spaces.

However, if you require constant collaboration between employees and teams, the open plan design may be better. If you have a mixture of needs, or if you have staff who work on a variety of different devices, you may want to create a design that allows people to move freely between different spaces.


3. The Views of Employees

One of the best ways to ensure you get the right design is to speak to staff during the office space planning stage of the process and ask them for their opinion. What do they like about your current layout? What do they dislike? What could you introduce to make them happier, or better able to carry out their daily tasks?

Some of the suggestions you get back may not be feasible, but you may also get some great ideas and become aware of problems that you weren't previously aware of. The main people you hope will benefit from a great design are your employees, so it pays to give them an input.


4. The Personality of Your Team

The final element to consider is the personality of your staff members - how they think and what they enjoy. According to John Holland, employees generally fit into one of the following six categories:

Office space layout for contractors

  • Conventional - Organised, orderly, enjoy working with numbers and records
  • Enterprising - Ambitious, competitive, enjoy selling and persuading
  • Artistic - Non-conformist, expressive, enjoy creative work
  • Investigative - Analytical, intellectual, enjoy studying and problem solving
  • Realistic - Physical, practical, enjoy working with machinery or tools
  • Social - Supportive, conscientious, enjoy helping other people

Identify the personality types in your building and work with your chosen office design company to create a layout that suits their needs. If you have a lot of artistic people, you might consider an unconventional layout, but if you have mostly investigative types, they will need conventional private spaces for concentration.

 

Reno MacriGuest blogger:  Reno Macri is a founder and director of a leading exhibition and event company Enigma Visual Solutions, specializing in retail designs, interiors, graphic productions, signage systems, event branding, modular exhibition stands design, office space planning and much more. He specializes in experiential marketing and event productions. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. Feel free to follow him on twitter.

 

Topics: Business Management, Team Building, Business Growth, Guest Blogs, Culture, Business Planning

The Difference the Right Employees Can Make For Your Construction Business

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Jan 14,2016 @ 05:30 AM

The Difference the Right Employees Can Make For Your Construction Business

 
choosing good construction employeesHaving the right employees at your business can make a huge difference to your business in so many ways.
It should not be left to chance. In addition to your construction company's profitability the right employees can also make a huge difference for your customers and the way they view and or will share their experiences with others. In this article I share my experience with one United Airlines employee who helped make my experience and day way better than I had come to assume it would be.  I bet by sharing it you can use my experience as a guide to better seek, choose and train your employees.
 
Over the holidays this Christmas season I went on an annual goose hunting trip in Illinois with some contractor buddies.  My first return flight was delayed and I was at risk of making my connection to get back home. I was obviously bummed out.  But, thanks to just one exceptional airline employee, I made the connection and got back in time to celebrate the New Year with my family.  Here's what that employee did and why you should seek, choose and train your employees to be just like her.
 

First off she had a great attitude and presented herself well

The woman who checked me in was well dressed and well groomed.  Sure she had to wear a uniform (and so should your employees), but in addition to wearing professional attire she obviously also had a lot of self-respect and presented herself well.  Unlike others I observed working around her she was professionally groomed, interacted with a genuine smile and spoke with a professional vernacular. I suspect someone raised her to be that way and I could tell it was natural for her, not an act.  In my opinion hiring her was a great investment.

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Next, she managed my expectations and offered proactive assistance

how to choose the right construction employeesAs she checked me in she made me aware that my flight was likely to be delayed and therefore making my tight connecting flight might be at risk.  I had never had anyone else at any airline do this at check in.  She also told me why it might be late before I had chance to ask her why.  By doing so my attitude about my situation was already less stressful.  She then helped me make a "Plan B" in case I missed that flight.  By doing so I went to the gate in a much better frame of mind than the frame of mind I would have been in if I discovered my possible dilemma at the gate.  
I soon found out the flight was expected to be delayed by at least 30 minutes, I was now assuming "Plan B"
 

Then she was at the gate and was working hard to mitigate potential challenges

Yes, the same woman who checked me in soon came to work the gate, and was all by herself.   I suggest, like a small business, the gate at that small airport could not support additional overhead.  She was obviously cross trained by her employer to perform a wide variety of tasks and to do so very efficiently.  For that I not only credit her employer for properly training her, but for also hiring an employee with the right cognitive abilities and a desire to learn.  For that I can probably also credit her as well as whoever raised her and or mentored her in her formative years.  With her actions, knowledge and a professional demeanor she got the incoming passengers squared away, prepped things for my outbound flight, and very efficiently got us all boarded faster that I have ever experienced before.  And I travel a lot!  She minimized the potential delay big time like it was second nature.

Related Article:

 

The good news was that I made my connection to get home. 

how to hire the right employeesThe better news, for me and her employer, is that she restored my faith in her company as a preferred option.  The next time I have a choice when deciding between available airline options to serve my traveling needs my experience that day with her will definitely become part of my buying decision.

I hope sharing my experience that day will help you make better hiring plans and decisions.  For additional help and insight check out his article titled "One Simple but Powerful Tip for Hiring the Right Employees”

 

Topics: Hiring and Firing, Worker Training, Recruting, Team Building, Differentiating your Business, Culture, Customer Relations, Creating Referrals

Key Differences Between Carpenters and Great Lead Carpenters: Part 2

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Jul 09,2015 @ 06:00 AM

Key Differences Between Carpenters and Great Lead Carpenters: Part 2

Skills to be a lead carpenterAs I pointed out in part one of this article skilled carpenters are assumed to have the trade skills needed to do the work at hand and to understand construction. But just because a carpenter has these skills doesn’t necessarily also mean he or she has the rest of what it takes to be a successful Lead Carpenter. In the first article I listed the basic skills and thinking skills a carpenter must possess to be eligible to become a Lead Carpenter. Below is the second half of a list of key skills a carpenter should have or will need to acquire to become a great Lead Carpenter. We will be covering these topics and others at our Lead Carpenter System Workshop for business owners coming this summer.

 

This second list describes the people skills and personal qualities a carpenter must possess before becoming a great Lead Carpenter. These are skills that can be learned and mastered while working as a carpenter. Training, supervision, mentoring and coaching by the business owner and or other leaders in the business can help the right carpenters acquire these very important skills. Before investing in a carpenter in these areas make sure your Lead Carpenter to be has the demonstrated cognitive ability and willingness to learn and apply such skills.

 

People Skills needed to be a Lead Carpenter

  • Social: Has a natural ability to show understanding, friendliness, and respect for the feelings of others, but at the same time is able to assert oneself when appropriate. Also takes genuine interest in what people say and why they think and act the way they do.
  • Negotiation: Ability to assess and identify common goals among different parties and at the same time clearly present their and the company’s position. Can also examine possible options and make reasonable compromises.Lead Carpenter skills
  • Leadership: Can appropriately communicate thoughts and feelings to justify a position. Can also encourage or convince while making positive use of rules or values. Demonstrates the ability to have others believe in and trust in them because of demonstrated competence and honesty.
  • Teamwork: Contributes to the team offering ideas and effort, but also does his or her share of the work to be done. Has the ability to encourage other team members and can resolve differences for the benefit of the team. At the same time can responsibly and appropriately challenge existing procedures, policies, or authorities for constructive purposes.
  • Cultural Diversity: Works well with people having different ethnic, social, or educational backgrounds and understands the cultural differences of different groups. Can also help the people in different groups make and embrace cultural adjustments when necessary.

 

Happy_lead_carpenter-wrPersonal qualities needed to be a Lead Carpenter

  • Self-Esteem: Understands how beliefs affect how others feel and act. Can identify irrational or harmful beliefs they may have and understand how to change and or adjust them when needed.
  • Self-Management: Honestly assesses his or her knowledge and skills accurately. Proactively sets specific and realistic personal as well as professional goals and can self monitor progress toward those goals.
  • Responsibility: Works hard to reach goals, even if the task is unpleasant. Will consistently do quality work and maintains a high standard of attendance, honesty, energy, and optimism.

 

Click here to see a Job Description for a Lead carpenter

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Click here to read part one of this article

 

lead carpenter system workshop click here Other articles to help contractors and construction business owners choose and grow the right carpenters into Lead Carpenters

Helping Lead Carpenters Become Managers Benefits Them and The Business

Is He Or She Really A Lead Carpenter?  Probably Not!

Interesting Considerations For Putting The Right Employee On The Right Job

Getting Employees to Think Like Owners

 

Topics: Hiring and Firing, Worker Training, Careers in Construction, Recruting, Team Building, Production Considerations, Lead Carpenter System, Mentoring/Coaching, Culture, Leadership

How You React To Your Own Frustrations May Set The Example For Your Team

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Wed, Apr 15,2015 @ 06:00 AM

How You React To Your Own Frustrations May Set The Example For Your Team

Frustrated construction business ownerDealing with customers, subs and employees isn't always easy. All too often they can say and do things to us that can really strike a nerve.   How you react in the situation can really make a statement about your professionalism as well as what they might actually share with others about your reactions.

Besides the people who get your goat others may be observing your reactions as well.  The observers may include your employees, trade partners as well as your customers.  How you react to stress and frustrations will definitely leave a lasting impression on them.

Consider these examples

If you beat the snot out of a chunk of wood with a sledge hammer as a way to cope with frustration and or stress your employees will likely think it’s ok to do so as well.  What if after seeing you do it they are frustrated by a client the next day , go out to the back yard of the job site and do the same in view of the customer?  What will the customer be thinking and how might it affect the atmosphere on the job site for the rest of the project?  How might it affect future referrals?

Construction leadership stylesNow consider this example.  If you asked a prospective lead carpenter you are considering hiring how he or she deals with stress or frustration on the job and they share that beating the snot out of a wood scrap with their 28 oz Estwing works best, would you hire him or her?  I certainly wouldn't.

 

A better suggestion 

Instead why not consider the difference between your roles and your identity.

Your true identity is who you would be if all of your roles were stripped away.  It's who you really are as a person and in reality has nothing to do with what your job position is.  

By contrast, your roles are the responsibilities and activities you assume in the course of life, or while on the job, whether by choice or otherwise.  And no matter what roles you serve in life, they are not who you really are as a person.

I've learned from experience that until owners, managers, and employees can separate their identities from their roles, they may be personally affected by the comments, attitudes, and expectations of their clients and co-workers.  This doesn't have to be.  Life is stressful enough already.  Don't let job stress add to it.

For more specific information on the differences between your roles and identities check out this Remodeling magazine article I wrote several years ago.

Summary

Construction leadership roles

The next time someone really upsets you at work stop, before you react, consider you are only at work and it's your job position that is being questioned or judged, not your identity.  Your ability to keep your identity and roles separate will help you keep a cool head in otherwise stressful situations.  And, how you react and act will serve as a much better example to everyone with whom you interact.  If what I suggest doesn't work for you or one of your employees you might want to seriously consider anger management therapy.

 

 

More articles related to leadership:

Breaking Past $1M in Remodeling: Getting Ready To Do It

Invest In Your Remodeling Business Now, Or Pay Forever

Information and Guidance To Evolve From Being A Contractor To Being A Construction Business Owner

Five Great Books for Remodeling Business Owners

 

Topics: Employee Relations, Differentiating your Business, Culture, Customer Relations, Leadership, Creating Referrals

One Simple But Powerful Tip For Hiring The Right Employees

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Mon, Aug 11,2014 @ 06:01 AM

One Simple But Powerful Tip For Hiring The Right Employees

Hiring the right employees for a construction company

 

 

Many contractors complain about employees not doing their jobs as expected, don’t fit in with other team members and or are not performing their individual work tasks as expected.   These are common problems to be recognized and unless addressed can cost the business a lot of money and can compromise customer satisfaction.  However I find that in many cases the employee is not the one at fault, but rather the construction or remodeling company that did the hiring hired the wrong person. 

 

So why does this happen and what can construction business owners do about?

A big mistake I see many contractors make is creating the job description for a new hire after he or she has already been hired.  Think about that for a second.   Whether written down or worked out inside your head, figuring out the job description for a new hire after the fact may just be a way to rationalize your hiring decision.   Done after the fact the job description is only a documentation of who you hired and what you got; not necessarily who you should have hired and what that person should be able to contribute and deliver as an employee.


Instead, here is a radical idea

Using job descriptions to help with hiringWhy not write job descriptions before you seek to hire! 

By creating a written job description you can make sure any new hires will have the skills, personality and previous experience to fill the job’s position within your organization.  

When putting the job description together I suggest you consider and include not only the desired trade skills, but also the expected outcomes if the employee performs properly.  To make sure the person will fit in well with the position, as well as the rest of your team, also include a profile of the candidate's desired attitudes, behaviors and disposition.  If you think this through and express it in writing before you hire, you can use what you put together as your guide and as a checklist when interviewing and considering candidates.

 

Here are a few example considerations by job position

  • Carpenter: Do you need someone who can preplan the project including making materials lists and setting up sub contractors in advance of starting projects or are you OK with a good carpenter who can figure things out well enough as he goes, but can’t preplan? (Click here for a Lead Carpnter Job Description)
  • Bookkeeper: Do you want someone who can set up and use QuickBooks to track financial information and create business reports from the information, or are you OK with a data entry level person who just follows someone else’s instructions within a QuickBooks file that was created by your business coach or accountant?

 

You can either hire for what you need or settle for what you get

Investing in the right employees for a construction companyI hope you can see by my examples offered above that if you don’t define what you want in advance you may not get what you really need.  If fact, hiring the wrong person can cost you a lot of money due to wasted time and lost opportunities while you seek out and onboard a replacement candidate.  

Hiring the right employees should be looked at as an investment.  With the right employees the business can grow faster and generate a lot more profit.  Hiring the right employees can also help put you on a path towards a comfortable retirement so you won’t have to work until you die.


How about you? 

Are you a business owner who figures things out as they happen, or will you plan ahead and set up what you want to have happen when it comes to growing your business and hiring the right employees?

 

Topics: Hiring and Firing, Success Strategies, Recruting, Culture

3 Ways Contractors Can Be Small But Smart

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Jul 09,2013 @ 06:00 AM

3 Ways Contractors Can Be Small But Smart

Small but smart contractor

 

If you consider your business to be a smaller company, and prefer to stay that way, why try to copy or conform to the way larger companies do business? Instead, be different! Be small and smart!  Look for what the big guys can’t or won’t do or maybe what they can’t do as well as your company.  Here are three ways smaller construction and remodeling businesses can beat the big guys.

 

Provide a more personalized service, and then find the clients that want that kind of service.

contractor blogTypically in larger firms most employees are specialist.  Each employee on the team will do just one part of the process, such as just the design or just the estimating. Because of this, clients working with larger businesses may never really get to know one employee very well. A smaller company has the possible advantage of having the same person sell, design, estimate, and help manage the project. Certain clients will be attracted to this type of relationship. To get in front of prospects who want this kind of service you need to market the advantages that come with it, otherwise prospects will assume you’re the same as the other companies they can work with.  Writing about how you do business and sharing stories about how and why your past customer benefited can help point interested prospects your way.  Doing so within your blog is a great way to get the message out.  

 

The people who represent your company should be ambassadors.

Jobsite ambassadors

 

In many situations, your employees will have much more personal contact with clients than the business owner or manager. Attract and train good employees, then create or maintain an atmosphere that fosters a desirable company culture. People buy from people. A happy team of employees with great people skills, who believe in their company, will demonstrate that message through their actions and attitudes. If your ambassadors are thinking and acting as ambassadors, clients may be motivated to use your firm again and perhaps also refer you to new prospects. Many contractors share that those client types and their referrals will often request a specific employee or lead carpenter as a condition of doing business. Consider whether your clients are buying what you build, or maybe how your team builds it.

 

Get your prospects to help you identify and sell your difference

When you meet with a prospect, why not ask what they don’t like about working with the larger firms. Better yet, ask them what they think might be advantages of working with a smaller firm. If you are careful not to lead them to a predetermined conclusion, you might just find new ways to service them and attract similar prospects.

What remodeling customers want

 

Try this next time you interview a prospect: Ask them why they think other prospects chose to work with your company rather than the big guys. Almost every time, their reason will be exactly what they are hoping you will do for them. Rather than give them a reason to say no by discussing other possible reasons, find out why they answered the way they did. Get the “why” behind the “what”, and then work with what you discover.

 

Something to ponder as you think about the future of your small but smart business

Differentiation for contractors

 

“Just because you’re following a well marked trail, it doesn’t mean whoever made it knew where they were going”

 

 

 

 

 

Topics: Success Strategies, Differentiating your Business, Marketing Ideas, Culture, Customer Relations

After Bad Experience Contractor Shares Thoughts With His Employees

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Jun 13,2013 @ 06:00 AM

After Bad Experience At His Own Home, Contractor Shares Thoughts With His Employees

Tim Piendel of GreatHouse Atlanta

 

Guest Blogger: Tim Piendel is the Principal of GreatHouse Atlanta, a full service design/build remodeling firm serving north metro Atlanta. Reach him at tim@greathouse-atl.com or 678.352.1035.

 

 

 

Back story to this guest blog

Contractor email to employeesTim is one of my coaching/mentoring clients.  We have been working together to help Tim grow his business and put a plan in place so he can slowly reduce his day to day involvement by empowering current and new employees as his business evolves.   Tim shared the email below with me after sending it to his employees.  In the email Tim shares a challenge he had with a painting contractor doing work at his own home as a way to help his employees understand how GreatHouse wants to build and protect its brand.  With his permission I am sharing it with you.

 

Here is Tim’s email text.


ALL GreatHouse Employees and Subcontractors:

I just wanted to share with you an experience I recently had with a contractor since I don't want this happening with our jobs. It is my intention to stay successfully in business and I want you to be part of that success.

Here's the story…

Just recently I had some painting work done on my home. There were two parts to the project, a preparation and a completion. The contractor came to my home and performed the first part of the project but did a poor job. I pointed it out and gave the person a chance to fix it but I was given excuses. I talked it over with my wife and we fixed part of the project ourselves and called the contractor back to fix the issue. They came back and saw what a corrected preparation should be like but offered no apologies, just excuses. They finished the preparation fine after that, but I, as a homeowner had to initiate it. 

The next step was to complete the project. This was an exterior project so it was expected they would not be here when the rain had made completing the project impractical. However, there was no call. Kind of obvious, but still, a courtesy call is always welcome. The next day came and was ideal for completing the work. However, the contractor was a no show and a no call. This is unacceptable. Now, with rain coming in again, the project was delayed another week. At this point, as a homeowner, I am frustrated, mad, and have lost confidence in the contractor. This all could have been remedied with a simple communication. 

Lessons learned…

1. NO MATTER WHAT THE JOB, DO IT RIGHT! Shoddy workmanship always cost you more in the long run. Return trips always cost more in dollars and confidence.

2. DON'T MAKE EXCUSES. APOLOGIZE AND MOVE ON! A customer does not want to hear excuses; they just want honesty and closure. Besides, you'll dig yourself a deeper hole.

3. YOU CANNOT OVER COMMUNICATE!!!!!! Call, text, email…whatever is appropriate, but do so promptly and often.

4. AGAIN, YOU CANNOT OVER COMMUNICATE!!!!! When you don’t call to say where you are and they are expecting you, they are just sitting there boiling and waiting to pounce on you and make your job harder and unpleasant.

You may think that your job is only to complete your service or product but that is only part of it. We are PRIMARILY in the customer service business. We have fabulous clients! By the nature of our business, we are invited into people’s homes and we must respect their rules and timing. We must earn and keep their trust. They must have CONFIDENCE that we will complete the project correctly, on time and on budget. That's what we do.

Thank you for your time. As always, feel free to contact me with any question or comments. I want all of us to be successful. I am willing to help anyone that needs help.

'We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.' - Aristotle

 

Thanks,

Tim Piendel

 

GreatHouse Atlanta wr


Topics: Team Building, Differentiating your Business, Production Considerations, Mentoring/Coaching, Guest Blogs, Building Relationships, Marketing Considerations, Culture, Customer Relations, Sage Advice

How To Create A Ladder Of Opportunity For Your Employees

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Sun, Apr 07,2013 @ 06:00 AM

How To Create A Ladder Of Opportunity For Your Employees

Note: This is the second article of a 3 article series on this topic (Click for article #1)

Look ahead to where you want to be

Ladder of Opportunity

 

Creating a ladder of opportunity requires that you create a vision for where you want your business to go and how you will make it happen.  It also requires that you sell the vision to existing and recruited employees. Help them see the vision and growth plans of the company so they can see where they have opportunities to fit in and contribute to the growth as well as, at the same time, accomplish their own personal goals.

The Ladder of Opportunity strategy requires that you develop a career planning strategy based on a deliberate balance between how the company needs to grow and how employees envision their roles. For example, a designer who possesses previous field and production management experience will likely generate designs that are easier, more efficient and cost effective to build. Projects designed using such experience are also more likely to be consistently profitable.

 

Hiring the right employeesGrow or get out of the way

If qualified employees do not see themselves as part of the evolution, you must either decide to keep them in their current roles, if possible, and/or realize that you will eventually need to hire someone else to fill future positions as the business grows. Be sure to seek out and retain the right people on your bus and take the wrong people off of the bus. Tolerating poor performance from some employees may give the wrong message to the more motivated workers.  

For smart employees, climbing the ladder of opportunity in a growing business means that someone else may be on that ladder rising right behind them.  Aspiring and high performance employees may become frustrated and lose motivation if they are held back in their career paths due any inability to climb the ladder of opportunity.  This being the case be watchful for the employee who tries to sabotage or hold other employees back as a way to maintain their status.

 

Managing career paths

Establishing employee career paths that benefit the business requires that you create a plan to Design/Build both the business and its employees. Decide where you want to take your business, what employee skills are needed to get there and how you will incorporate those abilities into your team’s existing pool of strengths.

Employee carreer pathsTo help manage the process of building employee skills, avoid mutual mystification. Clearly detail your vision and sell the goals involved to your team members.  Ask for a commitment for this required growth, both personal and professional, from each team member. Ask them how they see themselves fitting into this vision. Employees can choose to grow with the company, or, to be fair, perhaps they should be told that the company will out-grow them.

 

Be proactive with job descriptions

As an added caution, be careful not to develop job descriptions based on who you already have on the team. This would be like Design/Building a project for a client by only using the left over and miss-ordered materials that are collecting dust in your warehouse. How could you fulfill the purpose of the client’s project if you limit the design in such a way? Instead, Design/Build your business by creating job descriptions specific to your company’s vision and the path required to achieve it. 

Construction company job descriptionsIf you are the business owner, create job descriptions for employees who will complement the skills you bring to the business.  This helps you to concentrate on what you are best at and/or prefer to do yourself.  If you plan to eventually give up certain responsibilities, keep an eye out for your replacement and include mentoring as part of that person’s career path.  Mentoring helps socialize the employee into the nuances of the already established norms and values of both the job position and the company.

Watch for the follow up to this blog (article 3 of 3) which will be titled "How To Make The Ladder Of Opportunity Happen"

 

Related articles:

Article #1 of this series: Successfully Grow Your Business By Creating a Ladder of Opportunity For Employees

Article #3 of this series: How To Make The Ladder Of Opportunity Happen At Your Construction Business

Government to Contractors: Start Hiring Convicted Felons!

Mentor Me, Please - Gen Y Business Owner Offers Peers Advise

Contractors: How To Work With Generation Y From One Of Them

Gen Y Member's Advice To Peers: How To Develop A Good Work Ethic

 

Topics: Success Strategies, Worker Training, Careers in Construction, Recruting, Team Building, Employee Advancement, Business Growth, Culture, Leadership

Grow Your Business By Creating a Ladder of Opportunity For Employees

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Apr 04,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Successfully Grow Your Business By Creating a Ladder of Opportunity For Employees

Ladder of opportunity for employees

Note: This is the first of a 3 article series on this topic

It has been my observation that the most successful construction businesses are the ones that plan for and achieve consistent growth. This growth is measured in two ways that go hand in hand.  The first, and probably the most obvious, is growth in revenue.  The second, and most important, is the growth of the employees who comprise the team.  These two forms of growth go hand in hand because without employees to manage and complete the work, you cannot increase your revenues. Another important consideration is that growth will be pointless unless you maintain profitability.  Adding quality employees helps you to maintain and boost your financial success.

You can jeopardize consistent growth by constantly replacing employees or forcing new hires into management positions. The fact is that as a business expands, you will need additional employees and skills to maintain the growth. Employee retention and improving upon their skills are easier and quicker ways to grow. Creating a ladder of professional and career opportunities for your employees helps facilitate a long-term design strategy for your business.  The ladder of opportunity is created by moving employees forward into new positions and bringing on new team members to fill the positions they leave vacant.  You maintain the ladder of opportunity by helping new hires to grow in this same way.

Reasons for using a "Ladder of Opportunity"


Evolution Vs. Revolution?

Business growth strategies for contractorsIt’s not easy to replace employees as they leave your team or to bring on new hires that possess the necessary skills to ensure your business grows. Doing so also delays the rate at which you your construction business can grow.  You need to also consider whether you feel it is really fair to existing employees if you don’t give them the opportunity to move up within the company. If you are not developing employees as the company grows, you will eventually face a revolution, rather than an evolution.  If this happens, you may be forced to replace these employees with others who already have the skills the growing business needs.  This approach can be very risky and expensive.

 

Offering a ladder of opportunity helps keep good employees. 

Career path for a carpenterI always found that great employees are far more motivated by opportunity, responsibility, accomplishment and a sense of personal fulfillment than by the use of short-term incentives, such as cost of living wage increases, one-time bonuses, or an occasional pep rally. The right strategy, as long as it is sensitive and relative to the career path of your employees, will help keep those employees on the team.  It can also steer your company in the direction of recognizing who can move up the ladder and how to train them to ensure that your business evolves. The effects of such strategies are longer lasting and often permanent for the business and its employees.  Additionally, this strategy works well because existing employees are familiar with your company’s systems. They already fit into the culture and know how and why you do business the way you do.  It will take longer for new employees to learn about your culture, adapt, adjust and become productive dedicated members of your team.  Having employees start their career paths at the bottom of the ladder affords the business owner the advantage of limiting the expense and risks if the employees do not fit in or decide to leave the business.

Read the follow up to this blog (article 2 of 3) titled “How To Create A Ladder Of Opportunity For Your Employees”

Related articles:

Government to Contractors: Start Hiring Convicted Felons!

Mentor Me, Please - Gen Y Business Owner Offers Peers Advise

Contractors: How To Work With Generation Y From One Of Them

Gen Y Member's Advice To Peers: How To Develop A Good Work Ethic

 


Topics: Hiring and Firing, Worker Training, Careers in Construction, Recruting, Employee Advancement, Business Growth, Culture, Business Planning

Mentor Me, Please - Gen Y Busines Owner Offers Peers Advise

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Thu, Mar 21,2013 @ 06:00 AM

Justin Jones

 

Guest Blogger: Justin Jones is a licensed General Contractor, Roofing Contractor, and Plumbing Contractor based out of Palm Harbor, FL. Justin is also a writer and speaker on topics including Contractor Sales, Marketing, and Leadership. At 32 years old, he is a member of Generation Y.

 

Mentor Me, Please - Gen Y Business Owner Offers Peers Advise on How to Learn From Craftsmen

Dealing with older tradesman can be tricky at times. In my own business, I've been dealing with this interesting arrangement for the past seven years. Through the ups and downs, I have managed to form some great relationships with older tradesman.

At first, I expected them to complete tasks with incredible haste, but ultimately, I realized that there was no harm in taking things a bit slower. I set out to establish a mentor-mentee relationship with these older, more experienced tradesmen.

 

Start With Respect

Respecting older craftsmenRespect. From those first meetings with prospective employees, I've always been careful to offer the utmost respect, particularly when it came to older craftsmen. I respected them based on their many years of experience.  I took the time to listen to stories about the good ole' days and how things were done differently.  I'd smile and nod my head as I listened. Many of the stories were well-told and well-crafted, providing me with wonderful insights and lessons. I never questioned the knowledge of my senior tradesmen.  And if questions ever did arise, I was always careful to ask in a tactful manner.

Communication.  As I'm in the process of hiring a new individual, I always inquire about their communication preferences. For years, most individuals would indicate their preference for phone calls. But more recently, individuals have expressed a preference for emails and texts. Quick and concise “yes” and “no” communications amongst my team members have served to maintain an open dialogue platform. These open lines of communications have made my employees feel comfortable to call at any time if they need direction or they're second-guessing a decision. I feel this is an extremely important part of our business.

Questions. From job to job, I take the time to lend a helping hand, whether it's loading materials or inspecting trade tools. These interactions provide a perfect opportunity for asking questions. Many tools had the appearance of museum artifacts, but every once in a while, I got a chance to see these relic tools in action; my skepticism was squashed after viewing their quick time-saving functions. I got to return the favor as the building codes have changed several times over the past four years. I'd receive calls from tradesmen, who were wondering if there had been a code change. Sharing back my knowledge has proved to be a great opportunity to build rapport and return the favor.

Gen Y Bussines OwnerBuilding Rapport. Last week, I approached my team – consisting of several individuals in their late 40s and 50s. I had the opportunity to get their feedback on what they enjoyed most about working on my team.  Their answers were all based around rapport. They liked the fact I support their decisions and they were grateful for my willingness to step in and help without being asked. As the leader, I've always been quick to step in and get the project back on track if issues arise. In addition, I've learned that communication with these team members must be clear, concise and written. Accommodating them in this way has led to much better productivity and the strong rapport makes for a healthier work environment.

 

Learn to be humble

I turn 32 this year and I'm willing to admit to my team that I don’t know everything and on occasion, I need help. Many individuals in my generation believe they know everything, but Google won’t teach you how to work as team, nor will it teach you how to maintain your focus on accomplishing a goal.

Respect for older craftsmen

We work as a team as we complete tasks and gather referrals.  This team approach has created a wonderful synergy between me and my team members. We have built a relationship based upon trust and open communication.

My advice, what do you think?

Approach older tradesman and offer them the respect they deserve. Be willing to learn from these more experienced individuals. Adopt a mentor-mentee relationship and you may be surprised by how much you can learn from these older tradesmen.  Anything you would like to add?

 


Topics: New Business Realities, Recruting, Team Building, Guest Blogs, Opinions from Contractors, Generation Y, Culture