Subcontractors – What’s Your Story?
The culture you create within the confines of your construction subcontracting business radiates. That culture becomes the story your construction company is known for. What story is your subcontracting business telling?
Are your crews known for showing up on time prepared to give it their all? Or do they have the reputation for being late and leaving the site frequently to retrieve forgotten tools?
Are your people the ones who will go the extra mile to help out the GC? Or are they the ones who fail to clean their own mess because they “don’t want to be taken advantage of?”
Can you be sure your phones answered by people who either know the answers or know how to get them?
Is all the paperwork your general contractor asks for submitted in a timely manner? Or is it only taken care of when someone in the office or the field gets nagged enough to get it done?
Creating a culture which stresses “customer service” allows you to tell a better story.
The first two questions you need to ask are:
- How do the GCs in my area perceive my company?
- What do I want it to be known for?
The culture you develop in your construction business has the power to attract the right employees. I’ve heard Tonya express it this way many times – your vibe attracts your tribe.
When your employees and subs know you care about them as human beings, not just a tool you use to get a task done they’re more attuned to supporting your efforts. Giving bonuses and raises whenever possible is only part of the picture. Giving praise and supporting their efforts for personal as well as professional growth helps your team see you as someone who cares.
With that being said, let’s move to ways to help your team understand your stance.
Want your team to lie to you? Teach them that lying to the GC is acceptable. Or would you prefer your employees tell the truth about errors and omissions? Be sure to model that behavior.
Do you want your team to steal from you? Show them that cutting corners is the only way to get ahead. Or, does it make more sense to teach them that your expectation is for excellence and “good enough” is never good enough.
Do you prefer your team members show up on time? Then of course, you must be their example. When you call for a meeting, you must show up before the meeting starts, not a few minutes later.
If you don’t already have the skills of a leader you need to develop them. Here is a great graphic which depicts the difference between a boss and a leader. You can check the graphic to see which skills you need to improve or strengthen.
Want your folks to feel all they do is work hard for a paycheck? Neglect to let them know what it is they really do. Want them to get the vision? Show them the vision.
And the way to frame that is often with the end game in mind. Are they laying brick or helping build a medical facility which will save lives? Do your hands think they’re painting walls or do they believe they’re putting the finishing touches on a space which will provide jobs for the community? Are they laying wire or pipe or rebar which will not be seen when the building is complete, yet will bring integrity and ultimately usability to the shopping district?
The next questions you should ask yourself are:
- How do my employees feel about their jobs?
- What do I want our team members to feel about their jobs?
When it comes to company culture and telling your story there are likely areas in which you can improve. Because, as you know, if you’re not getting better . . .
The purpose of your business (why your company exists) is where your story begins. How do you fit into the big picture in the construction industry? How well do you pass on your vision?
Look at your mission statement, values, and long and short-term goals to get a handle on your culture. The next step is to observe how your employees reflect the statement, values, and goals. Be sure your mission statement isn’t just a bunch of words, rather that it captures the essence of how your team operates. Know what values are important to you. Devise a way to pass on those values to those in your employ. Be sure everyone is on the same page concerning long and short-term goals.
See to it your team has a clarity of purpose. Work to be sure your employees are engaged, not just getting by. Trust your team and do all in your power to let them know they can trust you. Always be learning. See to it you’re providing opportunities for your team to learn and improve. Finally, make sure your company policies align with your company culture.
The final set of questions to ask and act upon are:
- What is right about our company culture?
- How can it be improved?
Develop an excellent company culture and tell your story so you’re able to:
- Capture General Contractors’ Attention
- Enhance Recruiting and Retention Efforts
- Improve Your Business
Control your story both internally and externally.
It is our desire this article (among our growing library of construction-centric informational articles) is helpful in assisting commercial construction contractors build better building businesses.
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