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Keeping Our Teams Productive

In revisiting my article from last month, it struck me that as important as client relationships are, the most important factor for success in our business is our employees. Gaining buy-in and commitment from our teams is of the upmost importance for business success. Teams thrive when people are appreciated, valued and everyone is committed to the same goals.


I believe there are many ways of keeping employees happy. It is crucial not to lump everyone into the same category. A number of factors can motivate an individual. We need to spend the time to really understand our team members and what it is that they need to be successful.


There are also broad actions that can be taken where everyone sees an impact. I wanted to list a few of the actions we have taken over the years—some of which may seem related to the changing times, but they present ideas for everyone to evaluate.


When I first started in the field in the mid-1990s, paid holidays for field employees was virtually unheard of. How things have changed. Also, the amount of vacation time for office and field staff has dramatically increased over my time.


I believe there are many reasons behind these changes. One is that businesses in general have become more concerned with work-life balance over the years. While the construction industry may have lagged in this department, we are really making strides here.


One of the most impactful moves that we made was to become an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) company around 20 years ago. It gives our employees a better retirement plan and offers them a sense of ownership. We believe it helps to motivate our team members to gain buy-in, which is so important to our success.


I know you have your own way of doing things at your businesses. There are many of you who I am sure do a much better job at all of this than I do. I know one item I would like to improve on is holding more organized recognition events for my employees such as safety, production or tenure milestones. This will be something I will work toward this year.


I wrote this with the hope of opening a dialogue to share ideas and best practices. I am sure that you all agree with me on how important it is. When people are happy, they are at their most productive, and work gets done in the best ways. I believe the greatest strength of AWCI is the ability for us to communicate and share ideas. Learning from each other needs to be a priority for all of us.

In addition to being 2020–2021 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Chip McAlpin is division president of the Jackson, Miss., and Louisiana offices of F.L. Crane & Sons.

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