By John Lack,
The construction industry has changed in many ways from when I started in 1976, but one thing that has not changed is that great employees are often a key factor in a company’s success. I describe great employees as those who are professional in several areas.
Even when they aren’t on a construction site, your employees are representatives of your company. And this is an important factor to keep in mind as you or your HR department hires employees. Based on my experience, here are six areas of professionalism that great employees possess.
Skill Set. An employee must have the proper skill set. For example, a carpenter must be a skilled craftsman and know how to set up properly. This plays a key part in being efficient. Cleaning up afterward always makes a big statement and highlights a professional job. As an owner, to be able to send someone out to a job and know it will be done correctly is a great feeling.
Safety. Certifications in safety are not enough—the training must also be applied on the job site. It is my belief that each employee on a construction site should be moving toward becoming a competent person. A competent person is defined by OSHA as "one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them." These days, if a subcontractor has a bad safety record, many general contractors will not accept their bid.
Team Oriented. Construction projects are almost never a one-person show. You may start your work where someone had left off and someone else may start where you finished. Scheduling several contractors on a project at the same time runs much smoother when everyone has the mindset of working together to create the end result.
Social Skills. Social skills do matter in construction. Workers sometimes encounter clients and authority figures. As an employee representing the company, those encounters can have a profound effect—positive or negative. Listening skills, knowing what to say and what not to say, keeping calm in social situations, and having the ability to build a rapport and communicate well are all important. Likable employees are an asset to a company, and good social skills play a key role in this.
Character and Integrity. This is a code of morals and ethical conduct—it's how employees behave when no one watching. Are they giving the company an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay? Do they follow through with what they say they are going to do? Can they be trusted with confidential company information? It can take time to trust someone, but character and integrity are highly valued traits in any employee.
Embracing the Core Values of the Company. Each company has core values, whether specific or general. Core values reflect what is important to the company and its employees. They are intrinsic and come from the leaders inside the company. A company’s core values should direct the strategies, decision-making, and behavior of the employees who embrace them.
To be a professional company, one must have professional employees, and the next generation needs to be trained. The best teachers are those who lead by example, and good role models are of great value in today’s workforce.
This article was written by Acuity Insurance’s Construction Specialist, John Lack. For more construction business tips visit: acuity.com/contractor-focus.