Good Work is Hard to Find

Many of you know me, and to many of you, I’m nothing more to you than a few words on a screen.  Regardless of our familiarity with each other, you need to know that I am a runner.  I run for my university and have now for a few years.  There’s a phenomenon that exists within a collegiate track team that doesn’t seem to exist with many other sports teams: people quit my sport regularly.  Running is hard, let alone waking up at 5:30 a.m. for practice every day and sweating it out for 10 miles.  People just can’t handle the dedication that it takes to being good at the sport.  A similar principle applies to hiring new carpenters.

I was having a talk with Glen Knight a while ago, and I was curious what hiring a new employee is like.  I’ve always known that we have high standards when it comes to employment and our lead carpenters set a high bar regarding quality of work.  I wondered what it was my dad looked for in employees.  This is where the parallel between running and carpentry kicks in. 

Sometimes people slip through the filter that shouldn’t belong.  Its possible that people are better at talking the talk than walking the walk, and these people generally don’t last long.  Most E.A. Knight Construction projects operate by assigning two to four people to a job, and that’s certainly not enough people to get lost in the mix and not do any work.  The carpenters are given their task, and each plays a very specific role in the completion of the project, so if one slacks, it is felt greatly.  If one guy is a pain to work with, it is noticed.  There are seldom any hiding places in such small groups.

Let’s assume we’ve found a guy that can stick it out and has proven he can handle the work.  What next?  We haven’t been a company for over 40 years based on just good work.  If we were rude and unpleasant to customers, we’d never have returning customers or good reviews.  This is the secret ingredient that shouldn’t be secret at all.

“If my guys are kind and clean and courteous… that ability goes a long way towards customer satisfaction,” Glen said.  He shared that there have been times where he’s seen completed jobs that he knew could’ve been better, but when Glen talked to the customer, they were over the moon.  It’s often the case that being liked is nearly as important as doing good work.  That’s why we emphasize manners and proper etiquette so highly when training a new employee. 

So, how does Glen hire people?  Essentially, its trial and error with a laundry list of red flags to look for.  Those that belong make it and those that don’t fall by the wayside.  Of course, after almost 20 years of being with the company, Glen has a better idea of what to look for. 

Thanks for reading!

Austin Knight

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