By: Eric Gurnsey, General Manager, Tradesmen International

In the short time that I have been in a position of hiring office personnel, I have quickly learned that hiring slow is one of the best practices one can have. Creating and maintaining a prosperous environment will never be an exact science but will get you close to being the “well-oiled machine” any business would desire to be.

For any person in management, HR, or position of hiring, you are only as good as the individuals you hire. I have learned this to be truth, day after day. This of course also goes hand in hand with training which is another topic, for another day. This short entry will be a synopsis of what I have taken away from opening an office and creating a team which has been very prosperous in the short snapshot of its existence.

The main points I have taken away from hiring and building an office have been to hire happy people, people who know their personal goals and what they would like to accomplish in the near and distant future. Not everyone enjoys their job every waking moment but creating an environment which produces open, honest discussion with a common goal in mind will produce more cohesiveness and eventually lead to a better, well maintained and functioning business.

The most important thing I have taken from opening a business is that we need to have a positive outlook. A business needs positive people, and I have always seen that positive people are happy people – glass half-full people. I firmly believe that in order to gain success, one must be aware that there will be tribulations, obstacles, and challenges on a daily basis. In order to beneficially assess, process and rectify a problem (especially the types of issues which we run into in the construction industry) you have to maintain a positive, happy attitude. In our business, there are always going to be headaches. Lack of work, lack of workers, lack of materials, change orders, timelines, delays, weather, etc. are all factors, and we have to maintain a positive outlook during all of these issues in order to create, maintain, and build a successful business. Hiring someone with a cheerful attitude will go a long way when dealing with these tireless stopgaps we see each and every day. It does start at the top, with those in command, and hiring those positive individuals will continue to promote a positive environment.

When dealing with individuals, I really like to know what makes them tick. I ask why are they looking for a new job or what they are looking to achieve in the near and extended future. I ask this during any interview I have, obviously depending on the individual and how the interview progresses. I like to get into their goals whether it be a material or intangible aspirations. Some want to further their career and grow into a position of management, gain more knowledge of their trade, move from a super to a PM, and getting certified in this, that or the other.

Others have goals of being able to buy a house, save for retirement, take a trip to Disney with the family, buy an engagement ring, or put money towards the wedding. I have found an open and candid discussion is bountiful in terms of creating a relationship that shows you want to know more about this person than whether he or she has all of their certifications, is good at estimating million dollar projects or can maintain project costs or deadlines. This also opens up a window into the life and dreams an individual has or may aspire to have. Open and honest conversation will allow you to make the right decision as to a good hire and create those lasting work relationships to better the atmosphere at your place of business.

The most simple of concepts has been the most helpful to me in order to grow an office of one (myself) to an office of eight people in a year’s time. Staying grounded and revisiting these individuals and their goals on a regular basis maintains a positive atmosphere and should be a conscious effort made by those who are in a position of leadership. The continuation of growth and prosperity will create more opportunities to find the right, optimistic individuals and is something that I welcome. I wish you the best of luck with creating a successful work environment!