To New Hire or Promote? The Great Divide

It’s that time again!  You are overloaded with work and the daily tasks of running your business are bogging you down. Just when you thought you had it all figured out you look down at your list and say, “Whom am I going to have run this work? When I look at my work force everybody in the company is busy with their own task. How am I going to get this done? I guess I’ll have to hire someone?”

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 Ah ha! Hiring! What fun! You start to think do I really want to write up a job position and post a “now hiring” ad to receive several resumes to sift through maybe get a couple ok candidates for the position, spend endless hours interviewing and maybe find someone able to do the job? No.

 Ah ha! I’ll ask my business professionals, friends, families and Social Media…What? That didn’t work either? Ok. Who can I bring up from within my organization? Oh, no one is prepared to step up because we never trained and prepared for this to happen. Darn, maybe I’ll just hire from outside?

 And the vicious cycle of hiring for your business starts all over again.

Does this sound like the conversation in your head? In the past it has in mine. Now the real question is how do you break the cycle? I believe training and the overused word “innovation”. Lets start with training.

 Over the years I have seen the best fit is the employee that moves up through the ranks in your company. They have spent years getting on the job training working under and/or for you the owner. That’s how you built your company so that is the best the employee to give a promotion to right? Well maybe.

 Before you promote this employee you first should look at what position they hold and who you will have to hire for that new spot, then look at if they have the right tools to handle the new position, after all they may be the best employee and next in line to promote but if there is no one trained in their position to take care of the front line that could give you an even bigger problem.

 Next I would look at if they even want the promotion, some don’t. Some are happy with where they’re at and don’t want the headache of working with the boss. (As much as you think you’re the best person to work with…you may not be.)

 Finally I would consider one of your employees below the “next in line”. What you ask? Hire someone who is below my “next in line employee?” Yes. If you’re really serious about building your company, you should consider all your employees. From the 15-year employee all the way down to the newest one.

After all they all have special skill sets that may benefit your company best at this particular time. You need to:

  1. Assess the position you are hiring for
  2. Interview all in the company that are interested
  3. Promote the one that best fits
  4. Then for everyone else create a clear and well defined career path

Don’t be afraid to let the other employees that didn’t get chosen know they are important to the company and though they didn’t get promoted today they are on a path to see a promotion in the future.

 Next up Innovation

 The business dictionary explains innovation as:

“In business, innovation often results when ideas are applied by the company in order to further satisfy the needs and expectations of the customers.”

 So what does this mean? When you are trying to get your tasks completed you need to look at the tasks and workload themselves. Are they necessary? Do you really need to hire someone? Is there another way to get it done? You see often times the tasks and jobs we have on our list seem important because we have them on the list to do.

So they must be important right? I wouldn’t ever do something that is not very important and try to pass it off to someone else to get it done… right? Wrong again my friends. We do it all the time. We all have things on the task list that we feel are super important to the company and customer when they really are not.

For this I say innovate first before hiring or promoting:

  1. Review your workload often and see if there are ways to cut down the list
  2. Get them done quicker
  3. Create ways to complete them on your own
  4. Then when you have cut it down as much as possible have all your employees review their tasks and workload and see if they can downsize or stream line.

 That may clear up enough time collectively to get it done. If not then you at least know exactly who you have to hire and/or promote, I’m willing to bet when you do this you will see that you were never really ready to hire in the first place. Now that you have reviewed the workload across the board, you are ready to find the new hire or promote the employee you actually need.

What I Learned By Playing Pictionary With Millennials

On Easter Sunday my family and I ventured out and went to a party at a friends house. A good time was held by all, there was great food, great drinks and some pretty awesome dessert. Our adventure could have stopped there but we decided to break out the board games. What a way to end a weekend right? Sitting around the table playing pictionary!

“Though the game was fierce and my team won, (which I was super excited about) I was very intrigued by the interaction of all the other team members.”

There was an age range of players from 7 years old to 50 something….while we were playing I was thinking to myself, “what else can you do in life that holds the attention of a 7 yr old, 18 yr, 27 yr old, 30 yr olds and a couple 40/50 something’s? Really? Nothing.

Usually when there are those types of ages together we are bickering about getting dressed, or going to work, or fighting over money/business and maybe for the twenty year olds the parents are nagging about what their kids are going to do with their life. Not this night though. This night was filled with laughter and amazing memories. When it wasn’t my turn I looked around the table and seen smiles on everyone’s face. The way life should be. I wish every Sunday could end with the tv off and a fun board game with family and friends.

“I woke up this morning with a list of things I learned while playing the game and thought I could share it with the world so here it is:”

  1. drawing stick figures crosses ageless boundries
  2. everyone wants to win
  3. don’t make directions to hard, if they are, nobody reads them, they just roll the dice and make up their own rules.
  4. real life problems should get solved with a quick rock, paper, scissors match….leave the hard decisions to chance.
  5. people 12 to 33 are on snapchat and are super burnt out by facebook…(so uncool)
  6.  laughter makes everything better.
  7. The younger ones have an awesome appetite for competition and a mean poker face
  8. 20 somethings want to start business’s but don’t know where to turn and think they have no options.
  9. my wife and I can still be cool when we are 50 because we have good mentors showing us how to have fun, even when it hurts to wake up the next morning.
  10. and last but not least there’s always time for family bonding.

ok so I decided, every Sunday for the next month I will make a great attempt to put together a family game night so we can make memories that our kids, my wife and I will cherish forever. Do you want to join in? Our door is always open!

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The Subcontractor and GC Relationship (Building The Bridge)

IMG_8506This problem was poised to me by a subcontractor and after much verbal conversation with the issue I decided to chalk it over to a GC for their point of view. Since I have been on both sides of the issue I can understand where things can get misconstrued or look as if there is something different going on behind the scene. Here it is:

Subcontractor perspective and point of view:

“General Contractors have changed over the years. It used to be that as a subcontractor you built a very close relationship between general contractors and subs. The General Contractor always stood up for their subcontractors, scheduled jobs so that they could be productively finished by subcontractors and genuinely care that the subs made a profit.

With clients now so focused on the bottom line cost of the project they will only accept bids at the lowest price. This caused the GC to search and accept numbers from any sub that would give them the number. Then we notice during production the demands to work are not productive for subs and the workmanship suffers. When the project starts going array, the GC blames the subs and pushes them out.

Relationships are gone.

It is a lot worst than just that but this is really frustrating me. To the point I am close to saying that I will not work for General Contractors any more. No support.”

General Contractor perspective and point of view:

“It seems like it was just yesterday that my wife and I vowed that we would be there for each other no matter what may happen. We weren’t thinking about where we would be in 20 years or how our time together would change us forever. Celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary last year brought forward memories of good times and not so good times, triumphs and tragedies along with many experiences that have shaped us as a couple, as well as individually. Thinking about the things that have afforded our relationship such a long and rewarding existence, I keep coming back to the thought that an open line of communication has been the most beneficial way to ensure a healthy relationship. Communication is the most fundamental element of any relationship, whether they are personal or professional.

Any construction project requires parties to communicate effectively in order to produce the desired results, a successful completion of the project. Each party however may have different ideas about what a successful project means to them. It is critical that at the earliest possible moment, each party expresses their needs and desires in a full and complete way.

I see many multi-million dollar bids from sub-contractors written on a single page containing 20 or so words. How can a General Contractor get comfortable with a sub bid when it only confirms that the bid includes ‘Plans & Specs’, or bids that come with dozens of pages of reference material but does not succinctly communicate what the intent of the bid is or what it includes?

I believe the best relationships are built on an understanding of what each party is going to provide, how they are going to do it but more importantly what expectations of the opposite party they may have. This requires a sub to ask questions during the bid process. When they don’t, the GC should follow up to find out why they aren’t asking. Is it that they are 100% in tune with the scope? Have they done similar projects and feel confident enough that they don’t have to talk to the GC about their work plan? Maybe the sub feels nervous about explaining their plan out of fear that the GC will share the information with another subcontractor. These are real thoughts and fears that I hear from subcontractors I have worked with in the past. It is unreasonable to think that a successful relationship will happen without hard work and effort from both sides.

The best possible outcome always results from the best effort. Some of the things that contribute to a best effort include:

Attend any pre-bid inspections. This should be the main estimator for the bid and not someone who is just available or who can ‘cover’ the appointment. Many of the most important issues or requirements or expectations for the project are discussed at these meetings. These are requirements that are not usually included in the written documents and are typically the issues that affect productivity and cause relationships to sour over the course of a project.
Ask Questions. Ask allot of them, and don’t think that any of them are stupid or insignificant. If anything, it shows me that you care as much as I do about the project and our success.

Follow up your bid with a call asking about the results. Sometimes a GC can’t release results because the prime Contract has not been awarded or there are some negotiations going on in the background, but It always amazes me that only about one in ten subs call to see how their bid looked against the competition, or if the GC had any questions about the proposal.
On the GC’s end, visit your projects and talk to the subs about how their project is going. How does it compare to what they envisioned when the bid was formulated. What things can I or my Team do to make the project run smoother and more efficiently. What makes a successful project for the GC is almost always the same for the Sub.

Get to know each other on a more personal level. I know, some say keep your relationships professional, but in the end we are all human beings who need to feel like they matter. Asking a simple question about how their day is going may allow for a better understanding of each other’s personal experience and what the other person may be carrying that day.

Computer technology has dramatically changed how we interact both in a personal and professional way. Mobile devices are now an invaluable part of the construction process and look to be more and more the most often used tool in the bag. It is important though, to recognize that ultimately human beings do the work and no level of technology can replace that one on one interaction. If you can find the time to sit down to talk to each other for a few minutes, it may be the most productive few minutes you spend all year.”

After receiving and reading both points I am to the understanding that relationships are hard. They are difficult both in our personal and professional lives. For a relationship to work, we have to work at it, both parties. When there is a breakdown, we have to confront it head on and correct it or decide that the relationship needs to dissolve, as there is no repair. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

-K