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INDUSTRY NEWS

PERSPECTIVE

Culture warriors Why being intentional and intimate with your clients and employees matters

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ulture plays a massive role in both the workplace and the field, especially during global chaos. In some of the most unsteady times, customers and clients seek stability, so companies must understand the merits of being intentional and personally involved. Keeping your finger on the pulse of your business helps ensure that everyone’s needs are heard and served appropriately. Being an intentional leader means deciding in advance how you want to be perceived by those you lead. One of the best ways to attain a positive perception is by establishing a positive corporate culture. Culture is not merely a framed vision statement in the office's entryway. Culture is the underlying norms, beliefs and values that drive employee behavior in an organization—how your employees live out each day. Employees are more likely to enjoy their job and perform their duties better if their values and needs align with their employers. Still, just as culture enhances productivity, intimacy also goes a long way. Of course, "intimacy" is not a term you often hear around the workplace, but in this case, it means practicing reciprocity and being compassionate, empathetic and present with one another. It is human nature to seek comfort and familiarity, especially in a workplace environment, where many people spend a large portion of their daily lives. Leading a company in the construction industry is no exception. Not only is it vital to maintain a healthy and communicative environment for employees working diligently in-office, but it is just as imperative that these values extend out to those completing on-site projects. When an organization effectively practices these traits, both internally and out in the field, it creates positive impressions for customers and prospective clients. In short, the importance of company culture and intimacy cannot be overstated.

Corporate culture is crucial

Culture is vital to a construction company because of the unique makeup of office and field staff. The proximity of the job sites combined with staffing requirements sometimes can require over half of a company's team members to work remotely. A hybrid workplace often poses challenges to connect as a team daily. A strong culture helps overcome the challenges of a geographically diverse workforce.

By Tom Harrison

Maintain a positive corporate culture

A positive corporate culture always starts with the right people. You hire for talent, but it is equally important to seek out candidates compatible with the culture. Characteristics to look for include authenticity, grace, humor, a teamwork mentality and humility. An intentional employee is just as crucial as an intentional leader to a company's success. Once hired, the company can foster the culture in various ways like family-based events or one-off gifts of gratitude. Culture is something a company should continue to nurture daily.

How to cultivate strong relationships with both on-site and off-site employees

Having a strong culture-focused team is paramount to forming great relationships. They are crucial to the process behind a strong culture and understand the business enough to promote the work internally. A great way to cultivate strong relationships is by having internal teams with job site visit goals. For example, team members will have a set number of projects that they would like to visit in-person. Never do so empty-handed—small gestures go a long way to building strong relationships. Visiting your on-site team and trade partners with a genuine interest in the job is vital. Gestures of gratitude get noticed and get people talking. These gestures incentivize people to perform their best and reassure them of their value to the company. Develop your company's vision and values early on. Engage every employee on how to live out these commitments in their day-to-day work. Evaluate regularly to get a pulse-check on current culture and overall interaction. An intimate and intentional leader can never communicate too much. Acknowledge and reward, relate and reflect, share recognition from clients and be authentic. As any company would utilize a set of internal measures like KPIs to measure success. Use the same approach to build a positive and proactive culture. Actions you take to ease customer and employee worries during this time of crisis will be remembered. Express your gratitude, display your values, and reconnect with your purpose. Culture has always been influential, but it is how your company responds to crises that will have a lasting impact on current and future stakeholders. CCR

Tom Harrison is the VP and Managing Partner of Johnson Carlier. He has more than 25 years of commercial construction expertise in Arizona. Over the years, Harrison has managed more than $1.2 billion of projects within a variety of delivery methods, including Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) and Design-Build.

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