Managing growth and company culture is a delicate balancing act when a business is scaling up. During the excitement of signing and onboarding new clients and looking for the next deal, company culture often takes a back seat.
In my experience growing our Orlando-based, family-owned and family-run home building company Park Square Homes, I learned how important it is to ensure that team members are working collectively and enthusiastically to achieve a company’s goals. A few years ago we decided it was time to commit to accelerating the growth of our company and entering new markets, but we didn’t want to lose the family atmosphere that we knew had made us successful.
To help us on our journey we brought in a business coaching firm, Petra Coach, which I discovered while attending a CEO boot camp organized by Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits. The Rockefeller Habits are based on the leadership principles championed by oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, and focus on four areas – people, strategy, execution, and cash – that keep everyone on the team accountable and aligned to meet company goals.
Weaving these principles into our daily operations provided us the framework to think differently about our business and how we managed production cycles and staffing patterns, monitored cash flow and identified roadblocks to delivering homes to clients. We saw the value of holding daily huddles, tracking tasks every two weeks and setting quarterly performance goals.
Since then, our company has doubled in size in just one year from 2017 to 2018, hired nearly 50 employees in 2018 to manage our growth, yet reduced employee turnover to 15% from 25% percent, and expanded into another market – Tampa Bay – where we will launch a new division within the next year or two. More importantly, the company’s culture feels more like a family than ever before.
Here are three ways we did it:
Get Your Whole Team on Board
When we first begin implementing the Rockefeller Habits, the team was resistant to change. To start, we wrote a core purpose stating why we exist and what we are here for, created core values for how we live out this purpose at the company, and even created videos to encourage buy-in from our team. As a result, team members said that – for the first time since joining the company – they felt they were part of something bigger, that they had a voice, and that they had an opportunity to make changes and help the business grow.
Communication is Key to Combating Employee Turnover
Before working with Petra, Park Square Homes was experiencing a 25% turnover rate (compared to the construction industry average of around 21%). Over time we decreased it to 15% by implementing a renewed focus on communication.
We created more opportunities for open communication, such as weekly leadership meetings and daily huddle meetings, to help get everyone in sync with each others’ schedules and to-do lists. Team members made a conscious effort to work together more closely, to talk in person rather than communicating through email, and to speak freely when there’s an issue – all crucial factors in employee retention.
Gain a Recruiting Edge Through Closer Ties with Trade Partners
The construction industry is currently facing a labor shortage. As part of our recruiting process, we began working more closely with our trade partners (a key source of labor referrals) and invited them to participate in company functions. By forming better relationships with them, Park Square Homes has had more support in finding labor to fill the shortages, which has contributed to the decrease in employee turnover.
What’s the big lesson here? When a company’s strategy, culture, and team are aligned, it will experience more success. Whether you work with a business coach or not, take time to be intentional about your culture, your people and how you work together as a company. If your organization is resistant to change as we were, bringing in a third party for coaching and perspective could be beneficial. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain as you watch your business achieve its growth goals and retain a positive company culture.