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Most of us, at some point, have lost valuable team members. Our guest this week is a familiar voice, and he's going to explain the change in mindset that's needed to hold onto the people you already have. Join us as Steve Barkhouse shows us why valuing your people as individuals can create freedom for them and your whole team. Let's jump into the retention business.

Show highlights include:

  • How treating your team members like your clients will help you drown in applications (5:12) 
  • Why letting your teammates leave early is one of the best retention “hacks” you never heard of (7:35)
  • The “Small Investment Strategy” for your staff that makes them jump out of bed to work for you every day (10:35) 
  • How something as simple as reading testimonials to your team makes them never want to work for someone else (11:38) 
  • Why sharing your finaicals with your team attracts smarter and more talented people (even if being 100% transparent seems scary) (15:07) 
  • How a simple 15-minute “Tailgate Talk” with your team members shows them you care about them (23:51) 
  • The “hidden” question to add to your employee surveys taty makes them want to refer you to their friends and family (34:44) 

If you’d like to learn more about Steve and how to build a company culture your staff loves, check out his website at https://www.amsted.ca/

To get the most out of this podcast, or connect with Duane and Dave, head over to https://buildernuggets.com and join our active community of like-minded builders and remodelers.

Read Full Transcript

If you say exactly who you wanna be, only people that want that are gonna come work for you.

Welcome to builder nuggets hosted by Dwayne Johns and Dave young. Hey, our mission is simple, build freedom. We are a couple of entrepreneurs turned business coaches who have dedicated ourselves to helping our builder remodeler clients create the most rewarding businesses in the industry. My co-host Dwayne has been a successful builder and remodeler for over 30 years. He's seen the highs and the lows. From the beginning though, Dwayne has been on a quest to find a better way to run a contracting business. In 2016, he found that better way. That's how I met Dave, a lifelong entrepreneur and visionary who measures his success by the success of those around him. He reached out one day with a formula on how to transform my business and the rest is history. Since then, we've teamed up to help hundreds of contractors like you build better businesses and better lives. Now we've decided to open up our network and share our secrets so we can start moving the needle with you. It's collaboration over competition. Each week, we bring together industry peers and experts who share their stories so that we can all build freedom together.

Today, we welcome back. One of our very first guests. You will remember Steve bark house of Amsted design build from episode four, where he shared with us his strategies on how to build a life you want through your business. In that life plan episode, we learned that he started his life plan with his eulogy, wants to wear a fedora at 60 and has an envious bucket list that has a whole bunch of check marks already. Steven is an award-winning builder and industry leader who has done some big things personally, professionally, and for his community today, he's going to walk us through how he's built his team and more importantly, how he's kept them and the timing on this. Couldn't be better. Dave, not only is this a hot topic for business owners everywhere, but we've recently been sharing with you expert advice about the six myths of hiring from ed and Paul at contractor staffing source. Yeah, many of you have probably recently lost valuable team members. Now it's time to dig into how you hold on to the people you already have. So from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, we welcome back our buddy, Mr. Steve bark house. Welcome Steve.

(02:16): Well, thanks voice. Like I said, that I love the show. I'm really getting some some real nuggets out of it. And I, I just wanna say thank so we really appreciate it. And you mentioned the upcoming podcast that's, that's coming up, but the one that caught my attention and, and sort of had me thinking about the topic today was James and I thought James hit the nail right on the head when he talked about finding, hiring, and retaining great staff and that logic that goes behind that. And I, I thought that today, maybe we could talk about some specific tactics and techniques that we employ, cuz you guys know, we work really hard at this at Amsted and get that dialogue going with builder nation so that we could get the good ideas flowing and collaborate and, and, and get, share those good ideas.

(02:59): You've built a spectacular team. And everyone listening today should go to amsted.ca and, and check out Steve's team page that, you know, the group that you and Kirk have assembled, it takes you just seconds to know that these people are valued and that it's a, it's a great place to work. How did you guys create that?

(03:20): Well, Dave, I guess really, maybe to start is that our company has 80% of its business coming from referral repeat clients. And this work comes from happy clients. And they're happy because our team is matter, exceeded their expectations. So my team is absolutely our greatest asset and critical to our future success. So, you know, they talk a lot about artificial intelligence, but I think we're gonna be saved in our industry for a long time to come, cuz our work is done by people for people. But knowing that it's my team that creates the customer satisfaction and really said drives 80% of our business is what motivates me to invest in the company's future by investing in our team. And that requires a people plan that's is our culture it's embedded in our business plan and included in our budget. And as you guys know, I love a plan.

(04:16): So I want to get that out there right away that it just doesn't happen. It's something you gotta plan. And like I said, I thought James nailed it really well, but hopefully I can touch on some, some of just some specific tactics that we employ, cuz I think everyone realizes that you need staff to grow and achieve your goals. Otherwise we're gonna do like so many of us do and work our 80 hours a and put ourselves up, set ourselves up for a heart attack at age 65. Right. So we wanna make sure we avoid that. So you said people

(04:48): Plan I'd love. Yeah. That's what tell us, what does that look like?

(04:52): You know what, we do something a little bit different. And I, I, I tried to do a little research before I started today and I got a little discouraged because our people plan is under the job title of the marketing manager. And when I looked on the internet, it sort of said, no, HR is HR and marketing something totally different, but I think our industry's really different. And I think that what drives marketing for our industry is largely referral to repeat, like I said, and so how you market to those people is different. And I think the same T and tactics work for marketing to potential employees and really to existing employees, we wanna make sure that we're taking care of our staff, taking care of our clients so that they repeat and refer. And when it's staff refers great, they refer you to other people that are great to work with. But repeat is that they stay with you for long periods of time and do great work.

(05:44): So when you say you have a people plan, is there something mapped out? Some, some specifics, I, I know like when you sent me your life plan for our first episode, it was the title of the episode and I could see us totally calling this. The people plan, maybe walk us through some of the, you know, what are the things in the people plan? Do you actually have a document entitled the people plan that you use and, and think about a lot?

(06:05): Yeah. I, I think it's our largely our marketing plan, but it starts day one when we hire someone. So day one, we have an onboarding plan, which is document it and a, and a passport that we give it. So the onboarding is, is a checklist. We make sure that we greet the employee. You know, when they walk in that day one, we review the manual with them, provide all of the equipment that they need. So they're not waiting for a phone or home Depot card or safety stuff. Everything's right there ready for them. So that we're modeling the behavior that we want from them. We review you the fish video. I don't know if you guys have seen the Seattle fish market video with the four pillars. It's fantastic. I don't know it's old as the Hills, but we still sit everyone in front of that.

(06:48): And every time I watch it, I get something new out of it. So it, it really talks about culture and doing a tough job and, and, and being present and the four pillars there, we review their job description with them, just walk them through it. We have a lunch brought in where we, they get to meet everybody that they'll be working with. So not the whole team, but the people that they work more closely with. And then lucky, then they get to spend two hours with me right after lunch with lots of coffee. And I go through the vision, mission and core values and explain to them what that is and what it means. Otherwise it's just words on a, so I walk them through what it means to, to Amsted. I explain the company goals, talk about the VTO, which is our two page business plan for this year, three years and 10 years from now, including financials, we discuss their important, discuss their goals, their career aspirations and values.

(07:35): And I let them go early. And I, I do this for, or two reasons. One, their expectation is that they're gonna be done at four 30. So we're actually done around three, let them go early. So we're exceeding their expectations. So teaching 'em how to do that right off the bat, because that's so important to our clients. But most importantly, that when they leave, they get paid to the end of the day. So they're actually working. And what they've gotta do is find a way to their family. And we want them to know that they're gonna go home. They're gonna do something nice for the family, whether it's make dinner, bring some flowers, a bottle of wine, whatever it might be, take the kids to dairy queen, but just show appreciation to the family so that the family knows that the company, they now work for really cares about them and that when they're away from the home that they're cared for and that we were respect and appreciate the family giving them up.

(08:22): And that just sort of gets that first day off on the right path. So they're not on the job site, they're not at their desk. It's a full day of, of onboarding. And then we also hand them out a passport. I stole this from my buddy time, Elton in Boulder, Colorado. And it again is a checklist and it has items that we wanted to in the first four weeks. So each of the first four weeks is spelled out with a checklist of things that we want them to achieve. And it's like a passport. You get a stamp every time you achieve something. And then the second and third month, just as a month as a whole of what, what we want them to, to be able to achieve. And actually in the week four checklists, they have lunch with me. So I get to check in with them, reinforce the messages.

(09:03): The funny thing is they always think they arrive at lunch at the restaurant and just sit down with me and they think they're getting fired. Now, day one, I told 'em, they're gonna have lunch with me so that I can check in with them, but they always come to lunch and terrified. And so it's kind of funny, but we sit down and go through it. They spend the checklist includes things like spending a day with the sales manager, whether they're in sales or not attending a client meeting, spending a half day with a home care people reviewing the websites, providing a referral just really go and through a whole bunch of things so that they understand the entire company where they fit in and it's clear and concise, which I love.

(09:43): Wow. So that's a good start. That's that is a great start. And, and so I can only imagine what somebody feels like walking in the door for that we talking an awful lot in and the show about investing in your people. You're just providing them so much proof there with all the little things that, that you did from the personal touch, you know, of the time with you to openly sharing the vision and the mission of the company, the goals, financials, their role in all this, having a, a dedicated plan. I mean, Q are really sinking them in what a great first impression, you know, to come into that. And not only see a level of, first of all, you're getting you see that you're being appreciated right outta the gate. They're the expectations that are put in place. It's structured, it's professional, it's personal. It's an unbelievable first

(10:34): Impression. Now we get tremendous response and, and honestly, all of things we're gonna talk about today and it's like that investment, right? It's a small investment of time and effort over a long period of time. It's not a lump sum payment to, to get a return. So it's like I spent two hours on their first day and, you know, we hire people. But when I do that 10 times a year at the absolute most, if we're really having a big grow year, so there's 20 hours a year. And, and like you said, it has a tremendous impact. I've had so many people say to me that they never met the owner of the company that they worked for in the past. Let alone had a private conversation and invited to launch four weeks later. And again, it's a small investment. It helps me get to know of them and it gets our greatest asset. Right. So if you treat it like that, it it's real easy. So

(11:23): That's day one first impression, then, then you do it. Yeah.

(11:26): Yeah. You got one, one time, one chance to make a first impression. So then got a whole list of things. So I'll knock 'em off as quick as again, here. So we do a state of the union annually and quarterly meetings with the whole team. So the entire team state of the union is a celebration. We provide breakfast for the team, get together. We have a slideshow pictures of our projects. We talk about how awesome our team is, how we've changed our clients' lives for the better throughout the year. I read testimonials that we get in from clients because a lot of the team don't hear them. And that's so impactful. Just reading what our clients have said about us from the jobs that we've done just gives everyone a tremendous amount of pride. We review the results from the previous year and talk about lessons learned because there's always something to learn.

(12:08): We review the VTO for the next year or the business plan for the next year and three in the 10 year plans with the team. And we talk about how we came to those plans. Our team is smart. They're savvy with what's going on in the world. So they wanna understand and have confidence in those plans. We talk about where we think the economy's going, why we think these plans are so strong, and it really gets strong buy-in and then what it means to eat team individually, and then what it means to each individual, where they fit into those plans and how they're gonna drive us forward. And we enforce the important value of each person's contribution. We also do awards. So we hand out e-tool awards. We, we throw the fish around. I'll talk more about that in a second, from the Phish video any achievements, personal achievements, we talk about those awards that we, we may have won for design or build charities that we've sponsored and supported and other, other things.

(13:02): We also make sure that there's always a fun event involved there, whether it's building a Lego castle who could do it the quickest or whatever it might be. Just make sure we're having lots of fun at that breakfast and get through all that stuff. And then we follow that up with quarterly meeting. So the state of the union's about two hours long, maybe two and a half quarterlies about an hour, hour and 15 minutes. Again, once, once a quarter, we get together celebration. We make sure there coffee and muffins because in our industry, coffee and muffins go a long way. We also like to make sure that the location is changed up. So we try and look for something that's maybe a little educational or something that drives pride. Last one we went to was at our local college where we were integral in helping them build a new facility there.

(13:44): And we had the meeting in the facility. So that was kind of fun and did a tour afterwards. Again, we reviewed the VTO for the year, look at our goals and budget, look at our year to date progress. So how we doing so far and then discuss with a team, what individual actions are required to either get us on track or keep us on track also include a, an educational hack. I call them, but whether it's a mental health talk or you know, how to better prioritize or, or, or time plan getting organized, whatever it might be, it's something that's common for our everybody. And then we do past the fish for one employee. We have a little plastic fish that has a gift card in it, $50 gift card, and they throw it across the room to another employee. And they have to say why that employee has exhibited the four pillars of the fish philosophy and exhibited that in, in the company over the last quarter. And that's why they're getting the fish. So it's kind of employee recognizing employee, which is super cool. And of course the fish is very coveted. So you get bragging right? When you get that, that's those are our sort of our key team meetings that we have throughout the year. And I think they really work well and just reinforce the messaging throughout

(14:56): One thing that's coming through loud and clear is the level of transparency that you guys share with expectation, where the company is going, things that we're seeing. There's a lot of sharing from the leadership level here. How would you help a builder or a, a business leader who struggles with, you know, sharing, maybe some of the financial stuff isn't used to having those conversations? You know, it isn't there yet in their mind because I can see people, people hearing some of this and, and having some reservations around, you know, I don't feel, I don't feel comfortable sharing our numbers, but you share, you share everything

(15:29): Well, as my kids would say, Dave, it's not rocket appliances. This is sticks and bricks, right? It, it's not a, a complicated industry. I'm not saying it's not difficult, but it's not complicated. And, and if you want smart people working for you, which everybody does, they get it, they probably get it better than how we do. So we share at a high level, you know, revenues cost a good sold, gross profit overheads and and profit. And then we show them how that impacts them in profit sharing. And that's a, that's a big motivation, right? To and, and it's funny, you know, the, the check that they get is motivation. Don't get me wrong. It it's financial, but it's even more than that. It's, it's hitting that target and knowing that their contribu and is allowing the entire team to get a check.

(16:15): So they care more about the other people's check that they get than they do their own, I think, but it's that pride in, in teamwork and success. And, and I think that sort of S segues into some of the other things that we, we do a, a celebration priority for really anything that any success that we have, if we win an award locally or provincially or nationally we have a celebration. And, and I think that that's important that you're celebrating and showing the team that, you know, we're a strong team, we're a winning team because winners wanna be part of a winning team. And, and you need to keep showing them that. So we just rent a, a local pool hall. We don't even rent it, just section off an area we pay for some snacks and, and a couple of drinks. Everybody comes, we do a quick speech on why we're there. And then it's just fun. We play pool and ping pong and tell jokes and, and just hang out and have some fun, just a tremendous team building exercise, but really goes back to that celebration and, and celebrating your successes. Awesome. We

(17:11): Wanna come work for you.

(17:13): I'd like to say it's not all fun in games and it, I don't wanna make it sound super easy cuz it's not, but it, it really is just simple, consistent efforts made again, because it's your most important asset that you're working on. And then just really checking in with the team. We do annual reviews. I, I was never really a big fan of, you know, I've worked elsewhere and been brought in from my annual review and told how much my wage increase was gonna be and told where I needed to improve. And it was always very stressful. It was stressful for the person giving it and stressful for the, for me getting it maybe cuz I was a bit of a bad apple, I don't know. But it just didn't seem to be a fun exercise and didn't seem to be achieving what I thought would be the corporate goal.

(17:51): So we do it a bit different. We do have an annual review again, I template it so that it's consistent so that anybody that gets a review by their manager, that ex that experience is consistent across the company. First question we ask is we stole it from EOS, but basically it's the segue. Just what do you like most about your job? So just really getting that, that meeting off on the right foot, setting the mood, making it enjoyable. Then we get into the personal goals for the one three and five years and how they align with the company goals because we share the company goals. So people know that, you know, if they want to move with the company that they're going to align and put their goals with the company goals and say, you know, look, I hear we're gonna open up a new custom home division.

(18:32): I'd really like to be involved in that somehow or that wanna move to sales or whatever it might be. Then talk about what their needs might be, whether it's training or they might need some more opportunity or tools, whatever it might be there. We have a short talk about wages. And, and I have to mention that because that's often a fear of, of managers and, and for us, it's not bad. We have very structured pay schedule. So people know pretty much where they're gonna fit in. And, and so that, that doesn't take much time. And we pay slightly above average. So we keep people happy with their wages, but we don't overpay. But we include health and dental, but really people stay at am said for the culture they stay because of the people that they're working with. We know that they know that. So talk about wages. Doesn't doesn't last long,

(19:17): What's your mindset around opportunities for your people? You know, how does that fit into your people plan? I mean, is that something you really try to dive into and understand where do they want to go? Do they want some upward mobility things that they have on their radar? How, how is that treated?

(19:30): Yeah, I think I, you know, I often thought that I, I, the best laborer in the world would be someone that really worked hard and had no ambition. And I thought, oh, they'd keep them forever. Cuz it's hard to find a really good laborer that doesn't mind doing the sort of low end stuff. And I realized that was a big mistake. Everybody that works for us needs to have ambition well, want them to have ambition. I want them to want to move forward in life. It that's exciting. It's exciting for them. It's exciting for us. And career planning is, is a big part of that. Like I said, when we share the corporate goals and where we want to go, they get to share their personal goals and we get to mesh those. And quite honestly, long term goals, especially staff might say, look, we, we really wanna do smaller jobs.

(20:14): We wanna get into home care and we'll be like, we don't have a plan to get into home care. We don't have a plan to do small jobs. We just wanna do the big ones and they'll convince us that that's really a, a direction we need to go. And, and we will. So they help drive the long term plan for the company and vice versa. We get to show them where we're going. So they get to find where they fit in best and what opportunities. Sometimes they don't think I could be a project manager or I could be a controller or I could be a designer or design manager. And, and so we show them that there's gonna be opportunities moving forward and that they can prepare for that

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(21:08): You mentioned earlier that you talk about personal goals as well. And it sounds like, you know, if you got an, a, a pretty transparent culture and people openly talking about their personal goals, you must see an awful lot of peer support for those goals and getting behind them like the company and, and, and the rest of the team wanting to be involved in, in making those happen for people in individually. Is that something that you're seeing happen on a regular basis,

(21:30): Maybe taking that a little bit of a different direction, that understanding people's personal goals and it's not just work related personal. We found through COVID that it was the personal side of people's lives that were the most stressful work was kind of that consistency that helped them get through things. You know, they, they came to work, they knew what they were doing. It, it was okay. It was going home where kids were home from school or home learning, and other spouses were working from home. That was really stressful. And so understanding that, and, and then maybe providing a flexible work environment that, that allowed them to better deal with these other stresses. So just again, understanding their personal challenges, whether it be work related or not allowed us to be flexible with our employment, achieve our per our corporate goals, but also achieve their personal goals. Maybe they came in a little bit later cuz they had to drop the kids off at school cuz their spouse was working from home or you know, whatever, it might be.

(22:25): One of the things that's striking me as we go here is that there is, and we love this. There's no commodity thinking here. And in our, in our business, we talk about that a lot, the commodity mindset and how we utilize people and, and all that sort of thing. And none of that is coming through here at all. It's all, they're all things to design to make that employee feel appreciated and valued. And like you said, then they want to turn around and deliver that same experience. It's the, it's the behavior that you want them to, to model and to emulate you first have to emulate it or to, to demonstrate it yourself. And what that's creating there is not just an environment where people don't wanna leave their job. They don't wanna leave each other because they're all in it. They're all in it to get other and that's that team environment. So it's, it's a, it's a magic thing you're, you're creating here, but yeah. Keep going. You're on a roll buddy. Yeah.

(23:18): Well, I, I think you, you sort of hinted around the craft of our industry and I think only a hundred years ago that people in our industry were held in very high esteem and that sort of fell off a, over the last a hundred years, 50 years maybe where we're not seen as true crafts people. And I think that's starting to turn back around as you're seeing people really appreciating the craft of our business and, and not a commodity. So we're not treated as a commodity. We're treated as a craft and therefore we can treat our team as true craftspeople, which they deserve because they are. So we follow up the annual review. So that's once a year, that's the annual part of it with what we call tailgate talks. And these are unscheduled brief meetings, just little check-ins with staff couple of times a year.

(24:03): So when I say on, I don't mean unscheduled, they're actually scheduled because if you don't schedule them, they don't happen. Right. But we put it in our schedule, but it's just, again, very informal pull up to a job site, pull someone aside, sit them on a tailgate, give 'em a coffee and just have a little chat. Talk about how they're doing their individual goals, check on their progress. Maybe offer some advice on strategies. If there's on something, try to move it forward, motivate them, give 'em a pat in the back and share the big picture. And then what their individual value to the team is. So it's a 15 minute chat again, two, three times a year that a manager does not onerous. But just shows that you care that you remembered what what's important to them. And you talk to them about that. What of touch quickly on discipline, neither the annual review or the tailgate talks. You heard me talk about motivation and pats in the back. These are not disciplinary meetings. Discipline in my opinion is dealt with immediately and directly is not scheduled off into a, a, a separate meeting or in front, you know, in a big crowd. It's something that's dealt with immediately. And with a good team, you don't have many discipline issues, but you wanna deal with those quickly.

(25:14): One thing I, I I'd love to know, obviously there's still times where you are going to lose people from your team, walk us through how you handle, ideally you you're having in advance or they're telling you, they're thinking about it. I mean, that's, if, if, if that's happening, you've developed a great degree of trust. So it's obviously the ideal situation where you get word of it first, but whether or not you get word of it first or, or it blindside you, how do you, how do you handle those situations? What, what, what do you say, do you have, do you have a playbook for that as well? Or tell us about your exit plan?

(25:48): I, I think that people leaving is inevitable. I tell people day one in my two hours with them that it it's my job to keep them happy to keep them engaged, to tease them challenged. And if I fail at that, then I invite them, you know, to leave. They'd be foolish not to because that means I'm not doing my job properly. So we work hard at that. I have had obviously people leave and that doesn't have to be a bad thing. They, they could be leaving for the right reasons. There might be opportunities that they are seeing in another company that we are just not in a position to offer to them. And they deserve that. I can tell you that I've never had someone leave the company. It hurts at the time. And sometimes they'll think, oh gosh, we just lost a, a rock star.

(26:29): How are we ever gonna replace them? But after six months, I I've never had anybody leave a and regret. It. It's always turned into something that that was meant to be. And if they're not engaged, challenged, and happy, then really we don't, you don't want them in there that that's not a happy place for them. They're not gonna perform at their highest level. So I think we have those, we do do an exit checklist with them. So we, when they leave, we have a little sit down and go through and we just wanna know why they left just in case. There's something that we want to, to deal with, but where they're going, what they're up up to. And most importantly, we want to keep in touch with them, leave that door open if they want to come back and then you know, have an alumni.

(27:10): So I reach out to, I've got people that have been gone from Amston for 15 years and every, you know, once or twice a year, I'll talk to them, maybe have breakfast with them once a year and just find out how they're doing, because they're a great resource for other employees, whether they come back or they talk to people that they're working with and say, you know what, the opportunity that you're looking for isn't here, but I, you should talk to Amsted and that's a great resource moving forward. So when people leave it, it's usually for the right reasons. And that's different than letting someone go, of course, but sure. Yeah. If someone comes and leaves, then you know what, we're happy for them. We want them to, to move on to the best opportunity that they have.

(27:54): You've probably had a few situations too, where somebody has moved on to create their own business. They've been inspired by what they've done with you there, they've learned a lot and they feel empowered and go out and, and starting out on their own. Can you think of a few cases around that or what, what that looks like for you? Yeah,

(28:10): I think gosh, it was probably 20 years ago. Maybe more young guy comes to us, just a rockstar wants to start with this, but he said, look, I wanna tell you in the interview with me, he says, I wanna tell you that in eight years, I'm gonna leave and start my own business. and I'm like, well, I mean, eight years and he's 22 or something. And he said, yeah, at, at age 30, I'm gonna go out and start my own business. I hope that's okay. And I'm thinking, well, why would I hire a guy that's gonna go out and be my competitor in eight years, I got thinking about it. He says, well, I'm gonna bust my hump for you for eight years. I'm gonna learn a lot from you, but I'm gonna make sure that I'm great value. I thought, you know what?

(28:44): That, what a great attitude. I I'm gonna take a Lark on this guy. Well, in eight years he became one of the best employees we ever had moved up to management position. I thought he's never gonna leave rod. I'm giving him everything he wants. And it was like eight years to the day knocks on the door. And he comes in and I said, Hey, Rob, what's going on? He said, well, it's eight years. He said, I know I was hoping he wouldn't come in today. And he said yeah, I, I, I gotta go up my own. And I said, you know what? That's fantastic. I had already helped him get involved in the home. Builders get really set up. And he to this day is one of our greatest, I guess, competition in a good way in that he charges the right amount. He treats his clients. Well, you know, he's, he's good competition, unlike Chuck and the truck. So I I'm glad he is out there.

(29:27): Awesome. Yeah. He gave you a huge investment of himself. There's nothing bigger you can ask of people. No, yeah, it is. It's mutual respect, which is that's the way you've come across. And obviously that's the way you guys operate as a business. So yeah, what, what we're seeing here is a lot of proof. Like we, we talk to a lot of business owners and many of them talk about the, the value of their culture and the things that they're working on and, and what they're doing. And what you've you've got here is a legacy of proof. You know, you're documenting it, you have a plan for it. You you're being very intentional about the experience that you're delivering to the employees. You're teaching them how you want to be treated. So a lot of thought has, has gone into all of this and it, it really just becomes undeniable proof that what you see and hear about Amsted is all true. How do you guys, no, you said this is in the marketing plan, so I'm gonna tie it back. How do you guys show this to the rest of the world, through your marketing plan, through your social media channels? What are some of the things that you do outwardly to project this and to share it so that other people are attracted to it and, and wanna be part of it? Yeah, I think that's,

(30:37): That's a big part of it, Dave especially these days that it is out in social media. And again, it's part of the marketing plan. We, we have a, a big investment in talking about our staff, talking about what it is to work at AMSAT and really talking about our projects and what we do, because that provides a lot of pride. I don't wanna take too much credit. We are doing a great job and I'm really proud of that, but it it's very little me, all of these ideas have come from other remodelers, you know, across north of Erica that, that we've shared ideas with. And so, yeah, I'll, I'll, I'm gonna knock off a few more because I think it's important that we get some of these tactics out there that, that we've been fortunate enough to be shared with us that we've used or do use a great advantage.

(31:18): And, and I think that is that outward facing that you're talking about that people see. So one of those is charity work. You know, Dave, that we do a, a, a weekend long charity volunteer effort for the boys and girls club, where we go away to their remote camp and we fix it up for a weekend and, you know, we've saved them well over a million dollars over the last 20 years in, in building cabins and fixing things and cutting trails. And everybody brings their entire up there. We have over a hundred people attend this thing, and it's a tremendous weekend, tremendous team building. It. It's just a win-win. And, and just the pride that our team has in what they accomplish, because as individuals, you know, we're not multimillionaires, we're not given tons of money to charity, but as a group, we accomplish so much for a needy charity.

(32:03): And that's just one, we do a lot of charity work through the year and, and that makes the team proud and feel like they're giving back to the community, which is important to them. Along with that, we have a volunteer policy. I heard this from another company, if, if someone volunteers a day to any charity that the company pays them for a second day. So if they volunteer a day, they actually volunteer two days, but they're only, so they might volunteer a Friday. Saturday. We pay them for the Friday. They take the Saturday and the charity gets two days to volunteer. Whether it's grooming dogs or picking up clothes or presents at Christmas for to give or, or meals, whatever it might be, soup kitchen stuff. So that's, that's a fun thing. And, and, and again, just a small thing that that really makes a big difference in culture into the team.

(32:51): We talked a little it about listening and hearing and understanding personally where your team is at. We're currently working on a video know in collaboration with the mental hospital in Ottawa and, and our local college to address post COVID stress challenges. We're seeing a lot of that in the industry, some at our company, but really industry wide and, and really society wide. And there was not a whole lot out there when we looked, we were just trying to give our team some tools to, to, to just help manage that. And there was really nothing out there. So we reached out to the college and, and to the hospital and they just jumped on this. And so we're doing a video. Our guys have volunteered to talk about their challenges so that it can be shared in the industry. So again, just listening to the team and just showing them, I can't tell you how appreciative our team is that we're making this effort.

(33:38): It, it could go for a crap and, and not work out very well. But to show that we're trying is, is big to the team. And it just, yeah, that's you lets the industry know that we're, we're out there, Dave, you know, that we do our loyalty rewards. So we do our stones in the front walkway. So every five years you get your name on a stone with the number of years you've been at the company, it gets put into the walkway. So it's the foundation that that builds our company. You also get an extra week's vacation at the five, 12 and 20 year mark. You get a watch at the 10 year mark and a vacation at the 20 year mark. So just little loyalty rewards because I think society right now, I heard a statistics the other day it's careers are they've gone from five years to three years at anyway and company.

(34:21): And I don't know what our tenure is, but it's significantly beyond 10 years. So we're really proud of that. And loyalty's important to us, so that, that that's very cool. Little perks. Yeah. And again, the watch is nice and it's a nice, expensive watch, but I tell you that stone is what they really Cove it, that $50 stone with their name on it. That , that's, what's coveted. I remember in, in the last podcast that he talked about employee surveys and, and we do that. Ours is an anonymous survey just through survey monkey, just a short anonymous survey that they fill out. We do ask the question, would you refer us to family and friends? So that's, you know, driving them to remember to we also say right after that, if you would refer us do it so that they would refer us both for work and to get them to send us potential staff. We also ask them what they'd like to see changed. Are you being paid appropriately? And, and just a few other questions, you gotta make sure that you're vulnerable in the questions and that you ask, what can you improve upon? Is there, if there is a consistent message that comes outta the survey that you act on it immediately show people that you heard them and that you're taking action to, to correct something. If it needs it, have you had any

(35:37): Surprises come out of those that, that really caught you off guard?

(35:42): Probably the first few that we did, Dave the biggest surprise, and it sounds a bit arrogant, but it was just the high marks that we got across the board. People saying that they get paid appropriately. And it, it said a about score out of five. I was expecting twos, threes where three being satisfactory and they were, you know, fours and fives and a couple of threes. I think one of them was mine though. So yeah, it, it, it, so the, the great results, but then getting a consistent message on a three for us, which is satisfactory. We don't wanna be satisfactory. We wanna be better than that. So getting up in front of the team and saying, look it consistently, we saw that you guys ranked this satisfactorily on communication. So we're gonna do a two hour communication education seminar next and, and really understand how to better communicate so that we hit that one and, and knock it off. So people really appreciate that you, that you hear that. But communication was one for us, for sure. And it surprised me cuz we work really hard at it, but communication's tough. So we did a little personality profiling and how best to communicate. So we, we had the tools to communicate, but we weren't communicating in a fashion that people wanted to hear it. So everyone's personalities is different. So we had to learn their personalities and how best to communicate with those different personalities. So that was of fun. What

(36:59): Tool did you use for that? Steve,

(37:01): The communication tool we just had we used the college, they had a program and the lady came in and put on a two hour seminar and we based it on the Phish principles, honestly. So we, we built off the French Phish, the four pillars of the Phish philosophy and then worked into just people doing personality profiling in a general way, not okay. That's

(37:20): Right. I was getting to, if there was a, if you used a Colby score or a Clifton strengths find or something like that, that you've implemented into your

(37:28): Business. Yeah, it was, it was a light Colby. And, and again, not about personality, but how you like to communicate. Mm-Hmm how you hear things and how you like to communicate. So you, certain people want just the facts. They want it quick. Some people want to talk and have a, a preamble warmup, just those types of strategies and identifying what that personality type is. So you know how to communicate with them last two quick ones e-tool which E stands for excellence and excellence is one of our core values. So the excellence tool is really just an electronic suggestion box people to type in E tool. And it, it comes directly to me and they just send a, an idea suggestion whether it's an suggestive for an improvement with the company, something that they see that we should stop doing something, they, they see that we should do more of, it might be a shout to one of the staff members.

(38:15): Somebody helps someone carry their groceries in. It really could be anything, but it, it is the staff's voice for change. And again, as soon as you get any tool, you gotta act on it and then we share it in the newsletter. We actually have a, every newsletter, we give a $50 gift certificate to the best E tool and, and we list them all what came in, so, and what we've done about them. So that that's kind of fun. And again, super easy to do really cost effective. And then our last one I have down here is just that promotion from within that, we look to promote our staff from within knowing through our, our EOS VTO through the, the 10 year plan. We do an accountability chart or an organizational chart for 10 years from now. So we know the positions that we're going to need in 10 years.

(39:02): And that allows us to a start career, career planning people planning the careers of our team to have them be in a position to fill those positions. But also if I'm walking down the road one day and a bump into something and someone that's pretty cool, I could say, oh, that's the person that I need in three years to fill a role. And I can start to you know, to, to, to have that relationship with them and start that dating process that often takes years or two. We just hired a design manager and it was 18 months before we were able to go from that first date to that, that relationship of, of moving in together and, and, and working together. I gotta share one more thing. So one guy expl an old guy that runs a, a, a, a small renovation company.

(39:47): And I was whining about not being able to find good people and there's no good people. And he says, well, listen, we work in a city of a million people, and it it's been a statistic in Ottawa that there's 4,700 renovator remodelers in the auto area. Now how they know that, I don't know, but that's, that's the statistic. So he said, look, if each one of those there's big ones and small ones, but if each one has an average of four to five employees or company people per company, that's a, a labor pool of 20,010 employees. We are not a sophisticated industry. It takes a little bit of effort to be in a top 10% in our industries. So you've got, you know, what do I hire 10 people a year at a 20,000? I just have to have good culture, have the plan be better than 90% of those UNS allocated companies that are out there to attract the people that wanna come and work for us. And I just think that's so big. The, the other side of that coin though, is that you've gotta be broadcasting who you are. You've gotta be winning an award. You've gotta be known in the industry. You've gotta be working with your home builder association. People have to know where to seek you out. When they're looking for what you have to offer a great website and put on who you are, put your core values on the website. So they know who you are. So they don't get people that aren't looking to be with who you

(41:08): Are. And then every day you need to be worth it to them too. And that, and that's, that's the thing. And, and that's what you guys, because of your affinity for, for planning, I mean, you have a plan to be worth it every day. You you've, you've got a plan for the things that you're going to do, and your team is going to do to prove to each other, that this is the right place to be. It's not just a, a plan to attract people. It's a plan to keep them. And that's pretty awesome.

(41:36): well, you don't me, David, it's gotta be simpler. I can't make it work, but it's, it really is a self-fulfilling prophecy, right? Because if you think about it, if, if you say exactly who you wanna be, only people that want, that are gonna come work for you. Well, they're gonna then drive the culture and that's who you will be. And it isn't you anymore. It's them driving it. So it just, you know, I, I don't wanna make it sound easy, but it, it really is right. Something that once it gets momentum, it drives itself.

(42:06): Being able to project who you are, is the best possible call, the best possible magnet for other people who believe in your mission. You need to tell the right story, show value, show appreciation. People will stand up to say, I, I want be a part of that. And you've when, when they do, and it becomes more than just curiosity, you've actually got a plan for them and you, and you live that plan day in and day out. And I, and I think it's so genius. I can't believe we haven't thought of an actual people plan in our business. We have plans for everything else. This is the first time I've, I've heard somebody refer to it specifically as the people plan. So, yeah, I think you can see a lot of that in, in the builder nuggets community here. Now that encourage everybody to out and work on you or people plan, we've been calling it something else, but you know, or bits of it and, or having the ideas around it, but to, to hear it. So succinctly laid out and simplified and embraced that's proof, right there, get a people plan. The people plan by Steve bark house. It's awesome. What's coming down the road. What excites you for Amsted?

(43:14): Well, Joanne, I'm surprised you have to ask me that you've got my business plan. You've got my life plan. So, you know, what's coming up, man. I guess you know, I think the thing really that it's coming up for us is, is growth. The economy strong right now, my team wants to grow and take advantage of it. And that's super exciting. So, yeah, thankfully my plans out there and, and my team wants to help me achieve my personal plan. And so far they still think that I'm of some value, so they're happy to have me around, but we'll see how long that lasts.

(43:45): All right, man. Well, this has been great. Thanks for sharing your your time and your wisdom and your enthusiasm us here today. I'm sure it's not the last we've heard of you. And I feel like we're going to have you on the best of roles that there will be some bark house nuggets on there. Thanks for delivering buddy, for anybody out there listening that might wanna check you out or connect with you. How can they find you

(44:08): Through the website? For sure. Www amp said dot C and that that's probably the best way to get through there's in there. That can come right to me. Yeah.

(44:18): Okay. Again, man. Appreciate it.

(44:20): Okay. Cheer boys. Have a great day.

(44:23): Hey, thanks for listening, Dwayne and I love hearing from you. Your stories are inspiring and your challenges can be overcome.

(44:29): Got a cool tip idea for a show problem that you haven't been able to solve, or maybe just struggling to figure out what you need next and where to get it. We can help hit us up@buildernuggets.com and start building freedom.

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