Who can take a good company and make it outstanding? Its employees, that’s who.
A good company? Last Friday we took a day out from our usual daily work. There were no wall ties installed, no damp proof courses inserted and no dry rot was treated either.
Everyone spent the whole day together for a training and planning event. Taking time-out to train together is one of our core activities and we do lots of work, honing our skills.
However, the best trained people can make errors, especially if they are unhappy, undervalued and feel that they are not listened to and cannot influence their future in the company they work for. We all want to be well paid and safe at work but is that enough on its own? Some business managers think it’s too much – not us.
Recent publicised events at some large companies have illustrated that for some, employees are there to be exploited; paid as little as possible and driven hard, to make a few pennies more. After all, for big firms with massive turnover, pennies add up to millions of pounds.
There’s another way.
We were delighted to earn our first £1M of sales last year and we’ve surpassed that this year. We’ve done this using a much better way than those who feel ‘zero hours’ contracts and ‘six strikes and you’re out’ are a fair way to treat employees. Those employers have forgotten something that we have always known; that it is the employees who are the most important people in a company. They are even more important than clients, because without a dedicated and engaged workforce a business is just lost at sea.
Leaderless and uninspired people see their daily work as a grind; a way to make ends meet and they dream of winning the lottery because they know that the boss isn’t interested in them and Camelot may be. They are right about the boss and wrong about Camelot.
In that kind of environment people do what they have to and the only way any control can be gained is with CCTV, clocking in, warning letters and sanctions for any transgression.
If something goes wrong, then someone is to blame. Nobody admits failure; nobody strives to be better; everyone is unhappy. If something goes right then this just validates the archaic rule by fear mentality so the rules don’t just stay, they get tighter. This is a vicious circle. The only happy people are the millionaire bosses, with their cash in the Bahamas and, paying less tax than the cleaners in their depot.
So we had a lovely day last Friday.
The morning was all about each other. What our part is in the business and how we all contribute to the success of the firm and each other. We picked apart the whole process our clients go through from start to after care service. Who they deal with at every stage; what we say; what we deliver.
We explored the things that we do well and we discussed what we’d like our clients to say about us if they were asked. What they think matters a great deal to us and we made some lists…
The things which came up were trust; reliability; knowledge; professionalism; friendliness, cleanliness, courtesy; honesty and respect.
We all looked at this and agreed that in fact these things are all anyone wants. They are as vital to well-being as oxygen. We all want these things for ourselves and our friends, families and work mates. It follows that to offer these things to customers, we must first reflect these values in our relationship with each other. This is where we start our journey from being a good company and reach our goal to be an ‘outstanding company’.
The extra 25%!
We decided we are 75% on our way to the Nirvana of being ‘outstanding’. So where can we find the improvements needed to reach our target? We asked each other – employees and employers together. This is the power of Investing In People.
We were able to look at the customer journey and see that the little things like; returning calls, heading off issues, taking ownership and supporting each other, mean customers are seeing the values we aspire to. We are not telling them we are honest and reliable – we are demonstrating these attributes so they can see for themselves…
After the morning was over we could all see a direction we need to go in. Our boss Bryan Hindle likened this to the way our Olympic Rowers and Cyclists have gone about their disciplines. They are already very good – so are we. What makes them outstanding are the small additional incremental improvements they make. Combine this with dedication and hard work and anyone and any firm can become truly outstanding.
Time for some training then.
The afternoon was taken up with health and safety training. Sessions included protection against Silica dust, Hand arm vibration and asbestos dust. This was followed by a ladder inspection of all the company’s ladders and the installation of a new visual tagging system to ensure that our technicians can see the inspection status of ladders at a glance.
Sian Caley checked all of the technicians’ PPE bags and replaced damaged or missing items. All our first aid kits were checked and topped up where needed too.
Health and safety are the cornerstones of respect. If a company puts its employees at risk of harm it is not only breaking the law, it is demonstrating that the threat of fines and the objectionable morality of unsafe working, are a more attractive prospect for them, than doing the right thing. If this is the message to employee’s from their managers, why should employees care about customers?
Our employees know they are valued because we do the right thing. In turn they do the right thing too; by each other and, by our customers. As it happens the company was 30 years old last month. So on Friday night we all hit the town…. Brilliant!
Brick-Tie have been Investors in People since 2007
If you’re looking for Professional Specialist Services our team are here for you. For advice or help on Damp proofing, Timber decay, Remedial wall ties, masonry repairs and mould issues, you can explore the previous links or call us on Leeds 265 2752 York 566577 or Sheffield 224 5121 or email us about damp via our contact page