Words: MASONRY Magazine
Editor’s note: We spoke with two industry professionals on the topic of employee advancement and training. Promotions and growth within a company is a big part of continuing a career in any field. There are tons of opportunities within the masonry industry, so we decided to chat with Paul Cantarella Jr. and Corey Adams to get their views on employee advancement and training. We would like to thank Corey and Paul Jr. for talking with us.
When looking to fill a position at your company, do you prefer to promote within the company?
Corey Adams, 4 Sons Concrete & Masonry: I prefer promoting from within when possible. Sometimes it is necessary to bring in an “outsider” for a position, but openly discussing the position with someone already on staff first is a good idea. Especially if this person will be a direct report to the new hire.
Paul Cantarella Jr., Cantarella & Son Inc.: When possible yes, the transition is easier when they already know how the company operates and they already know the team. But this also can become an issue because usually, that person is a leader out on the job site which they will now have to be replaced
What does the training process look like once an employee advances?
Corey Adams, 4 Sons Concrete & Masonry: If we have done our job correctly, most of the training is complete before promotion. I am a firm believer in educating every level of employee, especially in what the position above them does. It is transparency that helps employees adjust to promotion much easier. It also helps us identify potential employees for promotion.
Paul Cantarella Jr., Cantarella & Son Inc.: This is an area where being an MCAA member is very helpful. We use the on-demand education and masonry certification classes to help train advancing employees, on top of hands-on training.
What attributes make you want to promote an employee in your organization?
Corey Adams, 4 Sons Concrete & Masonry: Positive attitude is #1. After that, we want people on our team that have a desire to grow both professionally and personally. I want a team that desires to take the job of the person above them, including mine.
Paul Cantarella Jr., Cantarella & Son: I look for people who are team focused.
What criteria do you use when considering an employee for a promotion at your organization?
Corey Adams, 4 Sons Concrete & Masonry: It is a combination of attitude, experience, and how their interactions are with co-workers, customers, and management. We can teach people the trade, you cannot teach people to be respectful, prompt, and have perspective.
Paul Cantarella Jr., Cantarella & Son: Whether or not the candidate will fit in with the existing team! One of the most important things on our teams is that everyone gets along.
What steps do you take if an employee fails the training process?
Corey Adams, 4 Sons Concrete & Masonry: We like to give “test drives” for employees. Let them be in charge of a task, a project, a day, or anything that you are considering them for. It may open your eyes before making a full-blown promotion offer.
Paul Cantarella Jr., Cantarella & Son: I offer to help in the areas they are lacking in by offering online training or classes to strengthen those weaknesses he or she has.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to move up in their organization?
Corey Adams, 4 Sons Concrete & Masonry: Learn everything you can about every aspect of the business. Learn marketing, negotiation, communication. Speak to management with a confident knowledge of the things they are facing. Bring suggestions, but do not be stubborn that changes be made. Make yourself a valuable piece of the team, and always ask questions.
Paul Cantarella Jr., Cantarella & Son: Prove yourself and put a little extra into your job to show that you care. Maybe that’s always being a few minutes early to work or helping to load a truck at the shop with the foreman.
Does education and other formal training play a role in employee advancement? How so?
Corey Adams, 4 Sons Concrete & Masonry: Yes, as it should. We need well-rounded leaders. I love people with experience in multiple industries. They always bring perspective to the task at hand.
Paul Cantarella Jr., Cantarella & Son: Not necessarily. It can help yes, but I don’t think it is necessarily needed to be able to advance up the ladder.
What do you feel can be done to better incentivize employees to work towards advancement in your organization?
Corey Adams, 4 Sons Concrete & Masonry: We have to make them feel like they belong. We want them to look at our company as a career decision and not a stop along the path of life.
Paul Cantarella Jr., Cantarella & Son: Having an open conversation with your crews, to let them know your feelings on hiring from within and that there’s room for advancement in the company for those that want it.
What resources are available for those looking to improve their skills and knowledge of the masonry industry?
Corey Adams, 4 Sons Concrete & Masonry: There are massive amounts of business and personal development books out there. Start reading them. Also, be more active in masonry peer groups. There are some on Facebook and other social media outlets. Ask questions, give advice, and be ready to listen. The information is out there, you just have to open your mind to accept it.
Paul Cantarella Jr., Cantarella & Son: There are many online classes to help workers improve their skills. But I will circle back to being a member of the MCAA and how it can pay off instantly. Between the live webinars, On-Demand Education, and the Masonry Certification Courses, they have everything covered and it’s all at your fingertips.