Many years ago, Walt Disney set out to create a destination for every fan of his studios. This would be an interesting task, as the demographics contained people of all ages, and reached almost every corner of the world. He would need to build a destination that offered something for everyone, and his dream was brought to life in 1955 with Disneyland’s grand opening.
Since then, what has transpired with Disney’s dream destination is astounding. Visitors arrive in record numbers, fueling impressive profits previously unseen by the amusement park industry and that others struggle to replicate to this day.
By applying Walt Disney’s philosophies and strategies, we too can transform our companies into a destination sought out by potential clients, and more importantly, by employees.
In the tech industry, many candidates would do anything to work for Google, Amazon, or a host of other highly regarded “Best Places to Work.” In the construction industry, however, this trend has been all but ignored, and quality employees want to work in an organized and well-run organization.
This comes as no surprise to many ultra-successful contractors out there. They know how difficult it is to take care of employees, and that is why they are prosperous. Many small to mid-size companies claim to take care of their employees, but without a structure in place, the implementation is too slow, and that good employee has a new job before you get the chance to take care of them.
Building your company into a destination for good employees takes time. You will have to root out a lot of bad apples, retrain many mid-level leaders, and put effort into developing an employment plan that fosters growth from within, all while having a structure that good employees understand. The most important part of the system can be forcing yourself to live within it. Developing company systems only work when the owners and executives lead by example, and it is solid leadership that establishes a company’s reputation as a quality employer.
So, what ingredients make for a solid employment plan? We tinkered with many over the years, but here are a few that we found to be most beneficial.
- Profit Sharing: Not an arbitrary bonus at the end of a year, but a clearly defined set of project goals, with commissions paid as soon as the final payment was received from the owner. This takes some planning and execution, but it does not have to be so elaborate that it takes an accountant and MBA to figure out. It needs to be easily understandable to your employees.
- Employee Referral Programs: Before placing any new job posting, we would simply ask our best employees if they knew anyone they would recommend to work with our company, often rewarding our existing employee with a standard $100 bonus if they refer someone that lasts six months. Remember this– your good employee does not want to work with a bad one. The chances are high that they will recommend someone that is like them. Face it, we all network, and tend to be friends with people who often share similar interests, and work habits.
- Communication and The Art of Caring: This should be a number one, but studies have shown that the last thing we read tends to stick with us the most. Communicate with your employees constantly. Ask them caring questions, and truly care about what their goals and aspirations are. When someone, as an owner, is perceived in a positive light, that employee becomes more loyal, and more focused on delivering the best work possible. Building relationships is just as important in employee relations as it is in customer relations.
If you really want to attract and retain top employees, give them a reason to seek you out. Make your company a destination that respects, rewards, and cares for its employees. Watch your reputation grow as an employer, and your next hire may be your best ever.
Corey Adams is the President of the Concrete Division at Genesis Contracting, and Founder of The Faster Horses Agency, a business development and marketing firm that serves the construction industry. His unique blend of construction experience, and business development strategies make Corey a go to source for many contractors looking to take the next step. To contact corey directly, Call 740-350-3072, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.