“Or not sitting down and dictating what people should be doing but demonstrating by your own example, whether it’s the way you handle yourself in a speech, in your character, in your integrity, the image that you portray or how you deal with people,” says Grubic, president of Herbert, Rowland & Grubic Inc., an engineering and related services firm. “It’s much more important to be able to show example to people and have them follow it than have to dictate policies, management styles and not have you follow up on them.”
Grubic says that, even as president, he still serves clients personally, which helps him keep his finger on the pulse of the business side as well as the technical side of the engineering world.
“It shows our people that I’m still actively involved and I am able to help them understand things when they get in jams, and they will come to me for mentoring,” he says.
Smart Business spoke with Grubic about how he leads by example, how to delegate tasks and how to retain employees.
Q: How do you delegate responsibilities?
When you start out in business, you are doing routine day-today things. It’s tough to be able to delegate that to others. The theory is by the time I can tell someone to go do it, I could do it myself.
But that’s unfair to the manager because it does not free their time up to do things they should be doing. It’s especially unfair and not a good management practice for the person you are trying to train and mentor because they need to have a broad-based exposure of what needs to be done.
You have to do it gradually. You can’t completely delegate everything to somebody else. You start with small tasks and assignments. Get the client familiar with the individual and get the individual familiar with the client. Have a level of comfort develop between the two.
Have a manager become the contact person but have somebody else doing the technical detail work and being the resource person. It’s a manner of mentoring and step-by-step training, educating the individual.
Q: How do you retain employees?
Showing people their career path. If someone is serious about the engineering profession, we have shown everyone in the organization a career path so they don’t get the impression they are pigeonholed in the position for the next 30 years of their career.
If they do certain things and perform to certain expectations, they would have increased responsibilities and increased compensation. We have the ability to offer positions that would involve promotions in other offices.
Plus, we have the constant communication with our people. If there is a problem or an issue, come tell us. I don’t want to see it at the exit interview. I want to see it now when a situation arises so that we can do everything we can to prevent it from turning into a problem.
Q: How do you motivate employees?
Recruiting the best people possible for the position, not just filling a position with somebody because someone happened to walk in the door and wants a job.
Communicate what the rules of the game are and the limits of the playing field. Let them know you’re there to mentor or guide them and not to direct them in every action or spoon-feed them. Then, allow them to rise to their highest level of capability and reward them when they do.
There are a lot of external motivators we do in terms of social gatherings, fringe benefits and bonuses, and compensation. Those things we found were important, but not as important as instilling in people the spirit of the organization, communicating to the people what our strategic business plan is and how we are going to implement it.
How they can work with us, and how important they are in the implementation and success of the plan.
Q: How do you find the best people?
About five years ago, we brought in an in-house recruiter who has been charged with responsibility of doing recruiting and entry-level and experience-level positions. We’d go out into the colleges, meet with the faculty, and try to get the best and brightest students.
Also, internally, by word of mouth. We do have an employee referral bonus program.
If one of our existing people knows someone and if they were to come on with us, that individual responsible for the contact would get a substantial bonus.
HOW TO REACH: Herbert, Rowland & Grubic Inc., (717) 564-1121 or www.hrg-inc.com