5 ways to build a better work culture

Company culture. It’s more than just a couple of buzzwords. It’s the personality behind your business.

Much like people, personality matters here, too. Nobody wants to be known as the wallflower of the construction game.

Whether you’re spirited and supportive, savvy and strong or something entirely different, culture can be the very thing that helps you stand out when it comes to attracting top talent. More importantly still, culture – or lack thereof – can be costly.

According to a Columbia University study, turnover at companies with rich cultures is a teeny-tiny 13.9% compared to a not-so-teeny-tiny 48.4% at workplaces with poor culture. Think of the days wasted training. Think of the potential jobsite mistakes to come with a constantly new crew. Think of the bad word-of-mouth.

Fostering a winning culture is something we at Buildertrend have worked hard on since our founding in 2006. And we continue to work hard on it as our team has grown to more than 500 employees in the last year.

In fact, for the second consecutive year, we were named the #1 Place to Work in Omaha by Baird Holm LLP and program sponsor the Greater Omaha Chamber. The list recognizes the most admired companies in the city, as voted on by those who know them best – their employees.

It’s an honor that means a lot to every single member of the Buildertrend family. Just as we help our customers find a better way to manage all your projects, we want to help you find a better way to manage your culture, too.

After more than a decade of successes (and a few failures), here’s what we know to be the top five ways to build a better work culture.

1) Make people a priority

“At the heart of Buildertrend’s success is our employees,” said Dan Houghton, co-founder of Buildertrend. “Each day, their attitude, effort and grit set this place apart from the rest.”

Those doing the nitty, gritty work are the cornerstone of your business. They’re the ones on the front lines, often acting as the face of your brand to both trades and clients. Their successes are your successes.

So, how do you make sure these very important people are your priority? Be inclusive. Be transparent. Be respectful. It sounds like a no brainer, but these simple things can get lost in the hustle and bustle of every day. One easy way to show this is by simply creating a healthy work-life balance.

“When we tell our team that life outside these four walls is more important, we mean it,” Houghton said.

2) Optimize your hiring process

Finding a job is a lot like dating – without all the roses and romance.

Company and candidate should like each other. Like really, really like each other before entering into a relationship. Increasingly, this is the mindset of job seekers with 46% of them citing culture as very important when choosing to apply somewhere. It should be your mindset, too.

Know what kind of candidates you’re looking for. Seriously. Break out the pen and paper (or notes app on your phone) and write it out. Finding the right fit goes beyond just finding the right resume. Make sure new hires are up to your standards.

Just as in dating, you never want to settle here. And once an employee has been with your company for a bit, they don’t want to settle either. That’s why 50 percent of the Buildertrend workforce receives promotions or new roles. As your business grows, be sure to provide growth opportunities for your staff, too.

3) Take care of those who take care of business

Who doesn’t love a pat on the back for a job well done?

Recognizing and rewarding top performers isn’t just good for those top performers either. It shows that an element of caring is threaded into your company culture. This helps create trust and teamwork. After all, you are all in it together.

Taking care of those who take care of business can be as simple as naming the best employees of each quarter or as far as offering comprehensive benefits and a competitive number of annual vacation days. It’s all about finding out what’s the right tailor fit for your company and those who work for it.

4) Define your values and purpose

Rules are made for a reason. Defining your values and purpose is like defining the rules of your culture.

Figuring out what’s important to your company is … well, important. But that’s only the start. Don’t just sit back and watch them take effect. It isn’t that easy.

Share these purpose-driven statements with your team and take action. These should guide not only the direction of your construction business but how your workplace environment takes shape.

Really encourage everyone to live those values. Make them a way of life.

5) Get social

All work and no play makes work a dull place.

Let’s be honest: construction is hard work. But it’s also rewarding work full of milestones. These milestones should be celebrated. Holiday parties. Company-sponsored retreats. Kickball leagues. There’s really no wrong way to do this.

There’s another element to getting social, as well. Socializing is just as much about listening as it is about celebrating.

Some of the best ideas for shaping your business are likely going to come from those who live it every day. Make sure your team knows their opinions aren’t just welcome but encouraged.

“We’re inspired by our team to never settle, to always push forward,” Houghton said. “We believe even the best can get better. That’s why we listen to employee feedback and make meaningful changes.”


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