How to Build a Construction Company Culture You’ll Be Proud Of - Hammr
You want your construction company to be the best it can be, and you know that building a healthy construction company culture is part of that goal.
But you aren’t sure how to go about building that culture.
There are some tried and true ways to build a healthy company culture, and we are here to unpack them and help you find the tools you need to succeed.
If you are looking for good construction company culture examples and practical steps to take, keep reading. We got you covered.
Prefer a podcast? We have an awesome episode on our Bred to Build - Construction Podcast on the topic of building a construction company culture. In this episode, we feature a conversation with Marcus Gores, Vice President of Gores Construction that you won’t want to miss.
Table of Contents
- The Importance of Creating a Strong Construction Company Culture
- 13 Tips for Building a Healthy Construction Company Culture
- Hammr: Helping Build A Culture of Professionalism Across the Construction Industry
Building a strong company culture is important because it acts as a roadmap for your employees. It helps them understand your company and what your values are.
If you don’t build a good company culture, a poor culture is the default. Poor company culture affects many aspects of a company and its employees. If you want to build a company with a great foundation to support your employees and your customers, you need to be proactive about culture.
Creating a healthy company culture helps unify your company and build an environment where your team wants to show up to work and work with one another. Great company culture is the foundation to satisfied employees.
A healthy culture helps ensure that employees are cared for and that company morale stays high. Remember, you’re in the people business. Your people are the foundation to running your construction business.
You might be thinking: “What if we invest all this time and money into culture and our employees still leave?”
First – You might be right. You may invest time and money into your workforce and some will leave. However, they may end up being great partners, vendors or subcontractors in the future. Regardless, investing into developing your company culture will build your reputation and help you retain the right employees.
Second – If you don’t invest time and money in your workforce, good people will leave. And a poor company culture will be the default.
Richard Branson said it best – “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.”
Here are the top 13 tips to help you create a stronger construction company culture.
#1: Understand Strengths and Weaknesses
Everyone brings something of value to the table and it is important to honor each person’s strengths while respecting their areas of weakness.
Take the human body, for example. The heart can't do the lung’s job — but the lungs need the heart to do its job so that they can function.
The same goes for your contractors and employees. It's an ebb and flow.
Each person in your company has a different set of strengths and even some weaknesses — but both can be valuable to your business.
The best company culture is one that honors and respects both strengths and weaknesses, giving opportunities for strengths to grow and blossom while allowing space for weaknesses to continue to improve or exist without repercussions.
One employee's weakness might be another’s strength. Let your team function in their strengths. When you do, you'll likely see a positive culture begin to bloom naturally in your company.
#2: Know Employee Goals
Don’t just hire employees, create opportunities for people. Get to know the people on your payroll. Talk with them, and learn about their passions and goals.
We interviewed Marcus Gores, Vice President of Gores Construction on our podcast. Marcus has spent well over a decade in the industry and knows the importance of not taking your employees — or the time you have with them — for granted. According to Marcus, it’s about knowing your employees and demonstrating that you care:
“I wanna know what you really wanna do so I can help you get there … I’ll do as much as I can to help you out to get there. [I know that] I don’t have a workforce forever. And I treat it like I don’t have them forever so I appreciated every single minute or chance or opportunity that I get out of all the folks that work with us. Not for me, but with me. Everyone is a team member here.”
When you help your team members achieve their goals, you build a stronger, more loyal, relationship. Instead of being the person who just expects them to come to work and punch the clock every day, be the person who is helping them reach their version of success.
You might have someone who spends only the first couple of years of their career with you before launching their own company. Now you have the satisfaction of knowing you were part of their journey.
Get to know your employees and show them that you care about them, not just their position.
Some great ways to show your team you care include:
- Asking about both their short-term and long-term goals
- Listening when they share their successes and struggles
- Learning about things they enjoy
- Asking about their kids
- Supporting them through difficult times
When your employees feel like they are part of a community, they gain a sense of camaraderie adding stability and health of your company.
#3: Be a Part of the Team
Great leaders lead by example.
Go to the job site. Grab a broom. Lend a hand. Help your team work through issues.
While on the jobsite, it’s important to remember that while being involved is vital to creating a positive company culture, there's a fine line between involvement and micromanagement.
Your project managers don’t need you to tell them what method to use here or which tool they need there.
Trust the people you hired.
You hired them because you believed they would be an asset to your company. Now you have to give them that chance and allow them to do the job you hired them for.
#4: Promote From Within
Don’t hire upper management from the outside if you can help it.
The best way to make sure that the people running your company are in tune with the culture and goals of your company is to promote the ones who consistently show up, do great work, and have a hunger for learning and developing — both professionally and personally.
When you promote your current employees, you create an atmosphere where your employees know that there are opportunities for them in your company. It’s rare that anyone wants to stay in a role that doesn’t offer a path forward or allow for promotion.
By promoting your current employees to management roles, you:
- Ensure that your company will be run the way you want it to be
- Let your people know that they can grow within your organization
- Show your employees that your company has a culture of professional development
#5: Model Equality
Do what you can to create an environment where everyone, from the newest hire to the most senior project manager, knows they are equally valued in your company.
Every team member should feel like they have a voice and a place alongside their co-workers. Do your best to keep everyone on an equal playing field.
Yes, there is a level of hierarchy in any company — you need managers and you need a team to manage. But your managers shouldn’t be more valuable than the people they manage.
Hire a diverse team. Build a team of multiple ethnicities, cultures, and genders. Everyone has different skills, strengths, and perspectives.
Having a team of diverse skills and perspectives can keep your company fresh, innovative, and can become a magnet for great talent.
#6: Keep a Positive Attitude
Be a positive force in your employees’ lives — someone they know will listen to and understand them. Express your confidence in them.
There are two types of bosses:
- The one who constantly complains about how the company isn't further along and how the employees are never going to be good enough
- The one who believes in their employees and encourages them while keeping a positive attitude and focusing on the good as they find ways to keep improving
Which one would you rather work for?
Knowing that your boss believes in you and your ability to accomplish your task is a confidence booster. When your team members feel supported, they become more confident and more productive.
When team members are constantly afraid of setting you off or making a mistake, they be less confident, move slower and ultimately slow down production.
Confident teams are happier and perform better.
Encourage your team and build relationships with them as often as you can. You can’t draw on a relationship that doesn’t exist, so take your time and make an effort to build them before you “need” those relationships.
#7: Don't Waste Time Getting Angry
An angry boss creates anxious, angry employees — a sure sign that your company culture is not healthy.
Yelling at your people won’t fix the problem, instead, it may humiliate and demoralize them.
Allow yourself to feel the emotions of the moment and feel the disappointment that naturally comes when your team somehow lets you down.
Emotions intensify problems and make them seem bigger. Take a step away if needed and allow the problem to shrink back down to size.
If you feel yourself beginning to feel angry about something that happened with your team, take a step back and:
- Take a deep breath
- Find a solution
- Learn from the mistake
- Keep moving forward
You and your team are human. Mistakes are inevitable, but it is up to you to handle them well. Keeping your emotions in check can go a long way in helping your employees feel valued and respected — not embarrassed and hurt.
Handle yourself the way you want your team members to handle themselves.
#8: Encourage Your Team to Appreciate Their Accomplishments
Encourage your team to take ownership of their work. This means more than just owning up to mistakes.
Let them take pride in the work they do. Construction is an incredibly rewarding field because you get to see your progress at the end of the project.
Try encouraging your team to take 20 steps back at the end of the day and look at what they did, knowing that they just accomplished something worth doing.
#9: Reward “Above and Beyond”
As you build your team, there will be employees who stick out above the rest. These are the ones who build up their coworkers. They show up early, stay late, clean up the jobsite, clean tools, and help on the days you need an extra hand.
Chances are, you can already think of one or two team members who fit this category.
Reward these team members and encourage them. They show that they are invested in your company and their own future. A company that supports and rewards devotion and hard work encourages its employees to give their best.
#10: Give Random Reviews
Instead of annual reviews and raises that may or may not happen implement random reviews. Don’t merely use these as a chance to tell employees where they need to improve; praise them in areas where they are excelling and offer constructive criticism.
Give raises frequently in these reviews. Help your employees see that you are on their side by proving it with your actions.
#11: Model Loyalty
If you want loyal employees, you need to be a loyal employer.
Creating a great company culture means that you’re confident in your employee’s loyalty. If you have a culture of loyalty, honor, and respect in your workplace, your employees will feel and reciprocate those qualities.
One great way to be a loyal employer is to pay your employees well and on time. Your full-time team members should be able to live off of the money they make with your company. Pay a competitve living wage to all of your employees.
When something happens outside of your control, don’t penalize your team’s paychecks.
Did you get a week of snow, leaving your team unable to work? Pay them anyway.
Did you have to call off work for the week because of a wildfire or rain? Pay your team anyway.
Remember, your employees rely on their paychecks to support themselves — whether to pay their mortgage/rent or provide necessities for their family. Losing a week of pay can leave them in a hole that takes months to climb out of.
Even worse, they may need to look for more work if the pay isn’t consistent and days when it’s needed most.
Treat your employees with loyalty and respect and they will reciprocate.
#12: Consider Life Off the Jobsite
Everyone goes home to a life that is entirely separate from their job.
For some, home is a place full of rest and joy with occasional conflict that is quickly resolved and moved past.
For others, home is synonymous with stress, pain, or sadness.
Do what you can to get to know your employees and understand what they are experiencing, but be aware that you won’t know it all and that their home lives affect their work lives.
The employee that has been irritable and almost lost it on his co-worker at lunch? Maybe his father just passed away, or his wife is leaving him.
The team member who has been late three times this week and seems to not care about her job right now? She may have just had a miscarriage, or maybe she is battling yet another depressive episode.
The moral of the story: you don’t know what battles your people are fighting at home. Compassion and kind conversation can go a long way.
#13: Make Safety a Priority
At the end of the day, if your employees do not feel safe on the job, all of your efforts to build a healthy work culture are pointless.
It’s no secret that construction is a dangerous field. It is your responsibility to do all you can to make your company as safe as possible.
Never sacrifice safety for productivity.
If you are wondering how to create a safety culture in a construction company, there are two different areas you need to think through — physical and psychological.
Your employees need specific things to remain physically safe such as:
- Working tools
- Solid protocols
- Enough man-power
- Adequate resources
Physical health is important but it isn’t the only thing that matters.
Caring for your employee’s mental health is crucial. Construction work can be difficult mentally as well. When it comes to psychological safety, ask yourself:
- Do my employees feel safe to be authentically themselves without fear of repercussions?
- Do my employees feel that their voice is heard and valued? Are they comfortable speaking up when they have a concern?
- Is my team afraid of making mistakes because they think they will be unfairly reprimanded or fired?
Implementing a strong company culture can be hard, especially if you’re working to filter out employees that have seeded a toxic culture. Employees may not respond as quickly as you would like them to and you may find yourself feeling worn out.
As a leader in the construction industry, you need the support of your peers.
Hammr is here to help you build the community you need. Have you ever wished there was a social platform where you could connect with other like-minded folks in the construction industry to network and trade ideas?
With Hammr, you can.
Download the app today and start connecting with others in the construction industry.