Why our employees are more than just workers?
Yes, we employee people to do a job, to fill a roll, to complete their tasks diligently, safely and to the required quality. But is a carpenter only good for building things from timber and is that Supervisor only good for supervising a team on our construction project? You may be surprised how their actions, both on and off the job site, can help, or hinder, our companies.
- Our employees are the face of our company. Workers in a factory usually work behind closed gates, seldom seen by the customer who purchases the product they fabricated. When you purchase a new car, do you know where it was built, or what the workers look like who built the car? In construction our customers and their representatives often walk the project, seeing from close quarters what our team is doing. Does our customer see workers that are productive, working safely, taking pride in what they do, content and happy with their job? Often construction projects are in busy city streets or in suburbia working alongside neighbours where our employees daily interact with the public – people who could be our next potential customers. So, if our workers arrive early in the morning yelling and cussing, neighbours who are woken-up by the commotion won’t be thinking nice thoughts about our company. The same occurs when our workers spill out from the construction site at lunch hour and noisily fill the café across the street – talking loudly and pushing other hungry patrons out the way. Or maybe our workers toss their fast-food wrappers out the truck window (the truck with our company logo on the door), or even swear at other drivers. People could be remembering our company for all the wrong reasons, and who knows which one of those offended members of the public could potentially have been our next customer? When our customers see our employees they see our company. Our employees can win or lose us future work. They need to understand how their behaviour, and even appearance, can have an impact on the company’s image and our future work prospects.
- Our employees are recruiters of new employees. If an employee thinks our company is a great place to work they’ll tell their family and friends who may then also want to work for us. In the past we’ve regularly had several members of the same family working for us. However, if employees are unhappy working for us the whole world will get to hear about it – bad news spreads quickly through social media. When you’re looking to fill a vacancy it’s surprising who your employees could find to fill the vacancy – people they went to school or university with, friends, family and people they worked with at other companies. Advertising and using recruitment agents is expensive – but every one of our employees is a potential recruitment agent, either telling potential recruits good stuff or bad things about our company. Good people will want to work for us if they know our employees are well looked after and happy. Good people want to work for good people. So, if our employees are experienced and knowledgeable it will attract others who want to work with them. Make sure your employees are always on the lookout for more good people.
- Our employees advertise our company. They are not only the face of the company, but, if they’re proud of the company and the projects the company does they’ll tell other people about the company. It may just be family and friends, but you never know who those people are working for? Just one of them could be working for a prospective customer and suddenly you’re doing their next project. But these days it’s more than just word of mouth – social media is powerful and those pictures of a successful project on social media can be viewed by thousands of potential customers, creating more traffic (all for free) than our expensive websites can generate. But of course pictures of that quality problem or that crane that tipped over on our project could generate even more views, undoing any advertising we’ve done.
- Our employees can generate leads for new projects. We can spend countless hours and thousands of dollars searching for their next potential project. Do our employees know how important it is to feed information on potential future projects back to management? Our employees know friends, talk to family, deal with suppliers and subcontractors, often interact with the customer’s engineers and architects – you’ll be surprised at what information they hear! Encourage our workers to pass on information about new projects – it could be our company’s next project – their next job!
- Our employees are often our eyes and ears on the project. We are frequently busy and don’t get to all areas on the project as often as we should. What are our employees seeing that we are missing? Will they stop that unsafe act and prevent an accident happening? Will they report the theft of equipment or materials? Will they take care not to damage completed work and stop others from doing so? Is there a relationship of trust with your employees, or do they view everything as a-them-and-us battle? Are they just doing their job or are they there to protect the company’s interests as well. Talk to employees, listen to them, and gain their trust.
- Our employees are teachers and mentors to new employees, and employees with less experience. They may even be able to teach us new or better ways of doing things. Where did we gain most of our construction knowledge – at the work front, on the project site, learning from others? Without those experienced people who generously shared their knowledge with us we would not have become what we became. We often have really experienced and knowledgeable employees, and the success of our company depends on them passing this knowledge to the next generation of employees. Let’s encourage our employees to share their knowledge and mentor the next generation of construction workers.
So next time you look at an employee don’t just see them as a worker, a carpenter, a concreter or an iron worker - rather see them as an asset that can add value to your company. Embrace them and treat them fairly. Make them proud of their company. Let them know how their actions can damage or add value to the company. Building a successful construction company isn’t just the responsibility of the owner or senior managers – it demands teamwork and commitment from everyone. We depend on good workers in more ways than we usually consider.
To read more about the author’s books and find out where you can purchase them visit the pages on this website by clicking the links below:
'Successful Construction Project Management: The Practical Guide'
'Building a Successful Construction Company: The Practical Guide'
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