Commit to training
As 2007 dawned, Coscan had established a strong culture
and had a brand-new employee manual. But it wouldn’t be
enough to simply pass it out to every employee and expect
each person to digest all the information.
“You need to have a quick description of what you’re trying
to communicate and then have good trainers that can reinforce the material in the manual in case anybody is not really
understanding what is in the written publication,” Neal says.
“The manual tells you what to do and how to do it, but it has
to be taught. If somebody doesn’t understand, there is a
resource to go to, to get trained on it.”
Neal called on the same team that developed the manual,
and who knew its contents cover to cover, to coordinate any
training that would be needed.
“The lead team keeps track of training hours, who has been
trained, what is the essential training and what is the second level
of training that needs to happen later on,” Neal says.
Getting employees to participate in the training often works better when they have a little pressure to do it.
“We just set a blanket rule that every employee needs to get 40
hours of training every year, which is the functional equivalent of
a week,” Neal says. “That is intended to create some gentle pressure on them to know that you have 12 months to get this in. In
March, when we do our annual reviews, part of your review and
your raise and your bonus is going to be tied to your commitment
to getting better and to getting training.
“If we see people year after year who are not taking the time to
get trained or there is always an excuse why they didn’t have
time to do it or why they couldn’t do it, those generally are not
going to be the people who are going to be here on a long-term
Aside from requiring the training, you can make a huge statement about the importance of training by taking part yourself.
“You talk the talk, but you also walk the walk,” Neal says. “They
see that I go to training every year. They know that I believe in it, and they know that I’m going to support them. … The biggest incentive
is getting better at your job and having a brighter future, whether it
be here or elsewhere. We had one guy who was kind of the naysayer and he said, ‘What if we invest all this money and training and they
leave?’ And I said, ‘What if we don’t train them and they stay?’ He’s
no longer with the company.”
Judging by the numbers, Neal’s leadership and investment in
aligning company operations has paid off. Coscan had 2006 revenue of $140.9 million and in 2007, that figure grew to $208 million.
“We’re creating a company that has its roots grounded deeply in
getting better and improving across the board,” Neal says. “If nothing else, it’s going to give us the ability to attract better people, and
better people will lead to better results and a high-charged competitive environment.”
HOW TO REACH: Coscan Construction LLC, (954) 620-1000 or www.coscanhomes.com