Dress for Success and More
The construction industry has got to have one of lowest expectations for employees when it comes to dress code. And quite honestly, that’s one of the perks of the job! When I worked in corporate medical sales, I hated getting up early to shave and put on the old suit and tie every morning. Now that I am in the construction industry, I realize how easy, and how little you have to do to set yourself apart. And despite how ridiculously easy it is, I am constantly surprised how many companies can’t seem to do the bare minimum!
1) Make company shirts for your employees
I vividly remember the first time I realized the importance of this, while building a screen enclosure in Jacksonville, FL. There were two other subcontractors onsite during the process. A framing crew, comprised of four burly, heavily tattooed gentleman barking orders at each other. They were unshaven and honestly a little intimidating! Not the kind of guys you would cut in line.
Then there was a fence company with a couple of clean cut young men. These employees looked like you could trust them to babysit your kids. They would fit in as a bank teller or manager at your local supermarket. But if you asked me who I would want working on my house while I was away at work with my wife and kids all alone, I would answer with a resounding, “I want the framing crew, get those fencing guys off my property”!
Why I would rather leave a group of guys who might possibly moonlight as Hell’s Angels all came down to one thing. Four guys all wearing matching t shirts. The shirts looked pretty cool, too. They had a tough logo that fit their personalities, and their trucks had matching logos as well. They looked the part. And as crazy as this sounds, their boss showed up and despite having “profanity” tattooed on his knuckles, he had a polo shirt with the same emblem. Although I would never recommend getting curse words scarred onto your fists, my initial response was, this ain’t these boys first rodeo. And while the other company had employees you would rather (much rather) have your daughter introduce you to, one was wearing a fishing shirt and the other was wearing some kind of fraternity shirt. Their boss eventually pulled up and he was in his favorite football team’s jersey. They looked like day labor. They may have built a thousand fences, but I just couldn’t help but think they looked green.
2) It’s Really That Simple! Now Get Started
As this illustration will tell you, company shirts for your employees is such a simple concept, but it amazes me how many builders and subcontractors don’t wear them. Now that we have the company shirt as a staple of our culture, it solidifies brand recognition. I have people come up to me at lunch or even at the gym after work inquiring about their upcoming projects, asking for ideas and ultimately, a bid. And our guys have the same situations happen all the time. Not only does this lead to more quotes, by adding brand recognition, you really are adding value to your company as a whole.
I try to encourage our guys to always wear their company shirts. I can’t be onsite, every job, everyday, so it can be a hard code to enforce. There are a couple of ways to get everyone on board. One way is to demand they wear them or face the consequences. This is the cheaper of the two. Since a lot of my employees are also close friends, I like to create a fun work atmosphere, so I take a different approach. Marvin Himel, owner of Ideal Coach, in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, works with different businesses in Northeast Florida solving all kinds of problems company owners face. He has written only three books, and desperately tries to take credit for a fourth one (his son Brad wrote it). “While working with one of my clients, Snyder Heating and Air, we implemented positive reinforcement techniques to get great results. We rewarded simple desired behavior with scratch off tickets. Relatively inexpensive, The employees loved them and it created a fun working environment” After using this technique to reward the guys for wearing their shirts, the crews love when I pull up and divvy out the tickets. And what’s better is seeing the ribbing the odd man out receives if he “forgot to do his laundry”
Justin McCullers is an owner of Impact Enclosures
They specialize in Outdoor Living construction in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida