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Keep Them Fed: What Is Your Company Culture Worth?

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Home to a who’s who of global powerhouses—including Apple, Google, Facebook and more — California’s ‘Silicon Valley’ boasts innovations and influence that extend well beyond the West Coast.

This extraordinary innovation and entrepreneurship hasn’t gone unnoticed by other industries like AEC. As construction executives struggle to overcome the skilled labor shortage, they are trying to kindle the same kind of innovation and profitability that they see emanating from the Golden Coast. 

But can they?

Culture Drives Performance

If you’ve been in construction all of your life, stepping onto a Silicon Valley “campus” can be a culture shock. Subsidized massages, bowling alleys, chef-prepared food, and game rooms. These tech headquarters are brimming with costly on-site benefits. But the returns are astonishing. Not only are they seeing massive profits and productivity, they are attracting job seekers better than any other industry. Company culture is the key to their success. 

Statistics show that a company’s culture has a direct impact on employee morale, which affects productivity, and ultimately profits. According to the Gallup Organization:

  • Employees who feel there is a lack of company culture are 18 percent less engaged 

  • Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 200+ percent

  • Less productive workers have 37 percent higher absenteeism

  • Disengaged workers produce 60 percent more errors and defects on average.

  • 40 percent of workplace accidents can be linked to stressful environments

  • Spending 10 percent more on your employee engagement budget can increase profits by $2,400 per employee per year

  • Good company brands can reduce recruiting budgets by 20+ percent

The Mismatch Between What Statistics Prove and What AEC Does

Instead of referring to these statistics, too many AEC organizations are creating company policies based on unquestioned work practices. Culture is an afterthought. When you’re done putting out fires, taking care of business, and analyzing the budget then maybe you’ll schedule a company event or develop a culture plan. But this is a mistake.

Decades of outdated working environments have caused blue collar jobs to seem less sexy than other industries. So here we are with a baby-boomer dominated workforce struggling to hire to meet the demand of projected growth. For an industry that contributes nearly five percent to the global GDP each year; this status quo needs to change if we are to succeed in the future. 

We don’t expect to see fringe benefits popping up in construction any sooner than we anticipate seeing fringe worked into the uniforms. So how do we translate this knowledge into action on the jobsite? 

We can start – free of charge – by instilling another intangible: company values.

Ownership, Optimism, and Openness

In a recent webinar called “Feed Them Tacos: How to Attract and Retain the Best Talent”, Procore’s VP of Operations Suzanne Mayeur, joked about how feeding employees is the key to a successful company culture. But there is more to it than that. Ever present in our culture are the values of openness, optimism, and ownership. 

“Our company values have been our compass and guiding light for every decision we make”, says Suzanne. “It allows us to provide industry leading customer and employee experiences. Our employee churn rate is less than 5% voluntary. And this is all due to creating a lifestyle for our employees and living our values. Our employees naturally want to recruit their friends. If you focus on your people they will make your job and life easier.”

Similarly, career analyst Dan Pink argues that traditional notions of management are great if you want compliance. Which is predominantly what construction is known for. Comply with the rules, do your part, and clock out at the end of the day. But if engagement, innovation, and growth are what you’re after, then values like openness, ownership, and optimism can set you apart from your competition when investing in new hires. 

These values can be the building blocks of an entirely new operating system for your teams. They give way to diversity that breeds cross pollination of ideas, open doors to untapped labor pools, and ultimately better customer experiences.

How to Begin Creating a Company Culture

Now that we’ve established the value of your values… How can you measure and assign ROI to to this most elusive element? Start by sending a survey to your current teams.

  • Is our office environment conducive to productivity?

  • Is executive level communication effective?

  • How can we help foster employee wellness?

  • Do you feel like company policies are in line with company values?

  • Do we adequately recognize our employee accomplishments?

  • Do you have the resources you need to succeed? Or are you limited?

  • Are we encouraging collaboration and relationships?

Analyze the results and adjust accordingly. Once you have a strong company culture, job seekers won’t even have to Google your company. They’ll come out in droves to apply.


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