Don’t get too wrapped up in work.
There are a lot of people that work Saturdays and are working 12 hours a day. But our project executives are out there on a daily basis to make sure those people aren’t getting burned out and those people are going home and eating dinner with their families and rotating a Saturday work schedule.
If it’s raining and we don’t have people working in the field that day then, ‘Hey guys, go home and spend time with the kids. Go surprise your husband or wife at home.’ It’s offering that flexibility to that work/life balance.
The CEO has to have that balance. You have to have that, or you can’t be refreshed. I have three children, and I find my balance with going home, turning the phone off for two hours a night and focusing on my family and activities that my children are doing.
We have other employees who focus on competitive tennis or improving their golf game or getting an MBA. You have to have something that drives you outside of work.
Care about your employees.
We’ve been able to grow with bringing younger staff in, teaching them about the core values of the company and offering them opportunity to learn many different aspects of projects and being our friend.
When someone takes their eye off the client and focuses just internally on themselves, whether it’s an employee going through tough times at home or whether it’s a sub-contractor not doing well at another job, that’s when problems occur.
When an employee comes to work every day and is very concerned about the person right next door to them, usually those issues come out and we’re able to maneuver, either a change in job, so they can work on the work/life balance that is bothering them at that point and time, or work with them to help facilitate a solution.
It’s being able to put our arms around our employees and to understand what they are going through.
Communicate the direction the business is going.
It’s communicating from your new hire to the project executive on what opportunities are out there. We really empower our project executives to be CEOs of their team.
They come in and get the senior management meeting communication, and they are responsible for communicating all the way through their teams the same information. What we’ve found through good, open communication is those employees are staying because they understand what is going on with the business, and they truly feel that they are part of the team.
In the construction industry, there are not a lot of personnel that stay with the same company for a long time. Because, as one company gets busy, they may get slow and go to work for the busy company and they chase the work.
But one of the things we’ve focused on over the last three years, as we noticed a lot of turnover, is retention of employees has to be a priority. We in the construction industry have a turnover rate that is in the 15 to 18 percent range. Basically, every five or six years, all your employees are turning over.
It’s very difficult to grow your business and to grow that relationship with clients if every five years everybody is turning over.
Find the right fit for people.
The foundation is bringing in good people and then building the team approach to projects and to departments that everybody feels comfortable on being part of that team.
If they aren’t a part of that team and they aren’t comfortable on that team, maybe we have them in the wrong job assignment. And we need to find an opportunity for them to work outside that job assignment.
We have outsourced our accounting to a corporate accounting hub for a number of years. We brought that function back into each office. We brought them in and did a lot of cross-training and understanding what each other’s job and role is.
We’ve also done some team-building were we’ve gone go-kart racing with them. We’ve had lunches brought in where we all sit around and have lunch together. We understand this is something new for them and this is something new for us.
Let’s all understand why it was done and how it is going to be better for the organization and (lead to) better growth opportunities for everyone involved.
Take risks and know your market.
It’s hiring the right people to grow and support the workload you have. Our biggest risk is having sales to support the staffing that we currently have.
We, as an organization, are employee driven. We can’t get work unless we have the employees. We might have to bring in five or six people (even) when we don’t have the work for them. It’s important for growth. You have to have an employee for your next client. If you don’t, you may lose a client and your workload and revenue will shrink down.
If you don’t have your finger on the pulse of what the market is doing, then the market may be going way down. If you’re out hiring at that point in time, you’re going to be left with too many employees.
Most CEOs know their marketplace and their niche and have to keep their finger on the pulse of the direction of what the market is doing for them, staying right on target of being even more aggressive at growth.
HOW TO REACH: Turner Construction Co., www.turnerconstruction.com/indiana