A commitment to finding and keeping good workers can save you money in the long run.

America adopted the “Just Say No” slogan to help children combat the drug abuse crisis.

Contractors can likewise adopt a “Just Say Yes” slogan to attract and retain tomorrow's jobsite superstars. Fortunately, your commitment to these innovations does not cost money and you will enjoy those enviable “Three P's in a Pod” - pride, productivity and profit.

Today's skilled craftsmen, and especially our millions of potential “born to build” superstars, need to hear you say “yes” and experience sincere follow-up from you with this critical team-building checklist:

1. Flex-time work-hour options are available to every employee:

Yes ________ No __________ Estimated cost ___________

2. Newly hired trainees are called and treated as interns rather than indentured apprentices:

Yes ________ No __________ Estimated cost ___________

3. Every newly hired, transferred or promoted employee enters our 90-day mentoring program:

Yes ________ No __________ Estimated cost ___________

4. Our database skill inventory shows each employee what he or she has accomplished and what skills he or she needs to learn:

Yes ________ No __________ Estimated cost ___________

5. Our loaner toolbox and hand tools are available to assure efficiency and quality installations:

Yes ________ No __________ Estimated cost ___________

6. Each employee's daily 6-8-10 rating, or piece work, encourages maximum productivity for positive recognition and “bragging”:

Yes ________ No __________ Estimated cost ____________

7. Our second-string training program for every critical position provides available substitutes and assures promotions from within:

Yes ________ No __________ Estimated cost ____________

8. After-hour training is available at each jobsite and in our fab shop for new and existing employees, as well as part-timers, such as college students:

Yes ________ No __________ Estimated cost ____________

9. Every project is value-engineered by our seasoned employees at bid time and before starting construction:

Yes ________ No __________ Estimated cost ____________

10. Company policies, rules and regulations are negotiated and signed by each employee:

Yes ________ No ___________ Estimated cost ____________

11. The owner and entire management team respect and follow our posted chain of command:

Yes ________ No ___________ Estimated cost ____________

12. Each working foreman and jobsite supervisor receives positive, team-building, human-relations training:

Yes ________ No ___________ Estimated cost _____________

13. We treat every employee as part of our family by getting involved in his or her personal situations, without interfering:

Yes _________ No ___________ Estimated cost _____________

Many superstitious people consider 13 to be an unlucky number, but I can assure you that 13 “yes” answers will make you the luckiest contractor in your market area.

Although your estimated cost for each “yes” answer is quite easy to predict, you must give some serious consideration as to how much money and heartache any “no” answer will cost your company:

  • Top of this list is turnover! Losing a good employee would cost about $50,000.

  • Your biggest frustration, as well as costs involved, would be recruiting, hiring, orientation, training, motivating and retaining good help.

  • Last is losing those enviable “Three P's in a Pod.” Remember: pride, productivity and profit.
It's easy to understand why you need this no-cost commitment of “Just Say Yes.” Do you ever wonder how many of your competitors will even read this article, let alone take advantage of these simple team-building basics? I've always loved this great competitive, money-making construction industry where your competitors do not even realize that they are in the “people business.”

If you take good care of your employees, they will take good care of your business. If you do not take good care of your employees, you cannot take good care of your business!

Just Say Yes

In addition to being no-cost, these innovations have no negative side effects. You can easily understand why your employees will brag to their friends and convince them to come to your company for employment.

Surely you have heard the rumors about not being able to find capable and skilled craftsmen. You simply need to visit a jobsite during coffee break or lunchtime and ask those employees if they know of anyone looking for a better job. You will love their responses when they “just say yes!”

More than half of those 13 basics mentioned earlier provide positive solutions to eliminate frustrations and provide the pride and productivity that experienced craftsmen need and want:

1. Flex-time options to meet their personal goals and make a good life, not just a living.

2. Working for a foreman with human-relations and team-building training.

    A. Wear a smile and make it fun. Respect the chain of command and never criticize or discipline in public.
    B. Keep score and reward measurable performance.
    C. Use two options when giving orders to create upward communication (empowerment).
    D. Provide coaching, counseling and assistance with any problems or grievances.
3. Second-string training for every position to ensure promotion from within.

4. Being involved on a value-engineering team.

5. Database skill inventory that recognizes what they have accomplished.

6. After-hour skill certification and vendor training.

7. Being treated as part of the family. “If the company doesn't care about me, why should I care about the company?”

These same innovations are also important to newly hired, green employees. Just imagine a really gung-ho, energetic individual with inherited craftsman skills going to work as an indentured apprentice.

  • He (or she) starts at an insulting minimum wage, regardless of what he or she knows or can do.

  • Wages increase with time rather than effort or ability.

  • He must attend school after work hours in classes that are not paced with his jobsite activities.

  • The four- or five-year servitude is with whomever needs cheap, unskilled, grunt labor.

  • The foreman and jobsite craftsmen have no training in coaching or human relations.
Instead, individuals such as these should hear about your Green & Gold mentoring program, internship, database certified skill inventory, loaner tool boxes, after-hour vendor training, and piece work wages, determined by a foreman trained to coach and develop young talent. I bet they will “just say yes,” and recruit their friends, too!

I would personally feel bad about the struggling contractors who do not say “yes” if they were not my competition. It's called free enterprise!