Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Maintaining Loyal Employees

As an attorney, I am often shocked by how quickly employees will turn on their employers when problems occur during home renovation projects. The employees are often as willing as subcontractors to "spill the beans" about a contractor's lack of attendance at the worksite, mismanagement of money, cutting corners, etc. At the NARI/BAGB event, employees had the chance to air their dissatisfaction with their employers in the workplace. So, here's a warning: listen to your employees. They are often the only people on the front line who can alert you if something is going wrong with a project, and protect your reputation. Advice to employers:

1. Pay your employees fairly, on time, and don't bounce your checks.

2. Make clear to your employees what their authority is on a project.

3. Give the homeowner a point person to talk to when you are not there, and let both the employee and the homeowner know whether the employee can make a decision without checking in with the GC. I have seen numerous cases of employees doing "extra" work where the homeowner thinks it is included, and then is furious when he/she finds out that the work costs extra.

4. Have regular meetings with employees to discuss how projects are going. Make sure that you let your employees know that you appreciate their efforts.

5. If a problem does arise, show your employees that you are on their side, and deal with the homeowner to resolve the issue in a way that shows respect for your employees.

Remember, your employees represent you and interact with your customers on a daily basis. Make sure that they present a picture of your business that is professional and consistent with company policy. Treat your employees well. If you do not, you are operating at your peril.


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