Is Your Company Culture Fit for Purpose?
Company culture in the building industry is often accidental, rather than planned. The company culture often filters down from above— but without any real strategy about what the workplace culture needs to be in order to attract talent and maximise employee engagement.
This often-unplanned nature of company culture means it’s vulnerable to changing circumstances, or contingent on key people, i.e. the ‘culture-makers’, remaining with the company. Even more troubling, your company culture might not even fit the image your company wants to portray to the wider building services community or to your customer base, and it might be really harming the company’s ability to attract new talent or retain the talent it has.
A great company culture must be fit for purpose.
Culture can encourage ideas or stifle them, spur employees to work harder or slack off, lead people to either admit mistakes or hide them. Workplace culture should be fun, supportive, and productive. It should relieve the stress of the job, not add to it.
It’s, therefore, imperative that your company culture is designed, not left to accident, and that it melds seamlessly with the wider company goals.
Why is company culture so important?
It attracts key talent to your organisation
There’s a skills shortage going on, and it’s expected to get worse across the building industry— regardless of whether or not EU construction workers are allowed to stay on post-Brexit. The importance of attraction and retention of star performers is painfully relevant to today’s building market, so your workplace culture must be attractive to candidates. A positive workplace culture is a powerful negotiating tool.
A good company culture reduces turnover
In the building services, strict deadlines, skills shortages, inclement weather, and budget concerns tend to make construction projects fairly stressful undertakings. Added to that, new technologies and systems maximise workers’ efficiency, and require key personnel to be ‘connected’ always.
The resulting building services culture often exerts a great deal of pressure on its employees, with little down-time or support.
Maximum efficiency is great from a bottom-line perspective, but a strong workplace culture must exist to support employees in these high-pressure environments, or high turnover, employee burnout and mistakes will erode any efficiencies gained.
People are not robots, and all the project management tools in the world won’t encourage employees to stay if they’re constantly working with their noses to the grindstone, or working in an unhappy workplace culture.
Productivity is driven by happy workers who like coming to work because they enjoy the workplace culture. It’s as simple— and as powerful— as that. Building a great company culture will make you a building services company that high performers will line up to work at.
How to build a positive culture
Make sure your culture is a logical fit
It must be something that’s in line with the company goals. Your company culture must make sense— not only to the employees but to the customers you’re serving.
You can hire people to fit your culture to a certain extent, but also bear in mind that building services tend to have a fair proportion of introverted employees, such as engineers who may not take too kindly to company cultures that require lots of team-building exercises with group hugs, or dress-up disco nights.
Find out what matters to your employees.
Find out what your employees dislike about your current corporate culture
Is the culture one of top-down authority where ideas aren’t encouraged? Or perhaps it’s a ‘meeting culture’ where things are endlessly discussed, but not much happens?
- Is there excessive red tape getting in the way of productivity?
- Is it a hitting-deadline-at-any-cost culture?
- Are mistakes seized upon and disciplined, or do you have a learning culture, so the same mistake isn’t made twice?
Conduct some anonymous surveys and hold detailed exit interviews to find out where your culture needs improvement. You’ll also learn what you’re doing right!
Talk about culture right from the interview stage
Make sure the candidate sitting in front of you is going to fit with the culture you have or are aiming to implement. In fact, mention the culture right from the job ad. Talk about it honestly: if yours is a high-pressure culture with high rewards for those who excel, say so. If it’s a more relaxed culture with room for big ideas, say so.
Don’t be dishonest about culture, as the new hire will probably know that you misled them by noon on their first day. Encourage your top candidates to meet with existing employees, upper management, and take a tour of the office to figure out if the culture is a good fit for them.
Consider how you can make the culture more fun or positive
Building services have deadlines, budgets, and high pressure and that will never change: it is part of the job. However, what can change is the culture surrounding those things. Consider what you can offer to make work less stressful, or suit employees’ needs better.
Are flexible working hours an option for some employees? Is there red tape you can get rid of, or better project management software available to make the work easier? Is there a community project or sporting team, the company, could get involved in?
Can management get better at sharing information and encouraging the free flow of ideas? Can there be some incentive schemes put in place, with bonuses to reward employees when deadlines and budgets are met? Can employees own shares in the company to drive a sense of ownership?
Can your team start to celebrate the wins more regularly, with team lunches and other perks? Could the site office do with a few more creature comforts? Be creative with what you can offer, and your culture will pay dividends in productivity and low staff turnover.
If you’re looking for star players to join your team and you want some advice on how to improve your culture, email us here or call on 01743 247774 for a friendly, no-obligation discussion about your recruitment needs.