Delivering Unmistakable Projects Nationwide
Contributed by John Walsh, Director of National Construction
As the world continues to adjust to doing business through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all struggled to adapt to having fewer personal connections, fewer in-person meetings and acclimate to what is now known as the “new normal”. We have praised and cursed the use of digital platforms to do business. While technology gives us the ability to hold an impromptu Zoom® meeting from anywhere, most of us are eagerly awaiting the day we never again have to hear, “You’re still on mute.”
But those of us who are part of the National Construction team at EV Construction were using remote technology long before 2020. We were already accustomed to seeing people and projects through the lens of a computer or phone screen. We have found that effectively managing construction projects throughout the country requires the use of technology for a few different reasons; primarily, maintaining relationships with field personnel. How much more meaningful is a connection when you can see a person’s face and read their expressions? Zoom® (or similar platforms) allows those of us in the corporate office the opportunity to see a field manager (superintendent) and “tour” the site in “real-time”. We get a better feel for the quality and professionalism being delivered than we would on a phone call and with greater frequency that multi-day airplane trips to the project site.
Corporately, we have embraced the motto “Built Around People”. We believe these three words reinforce the value of each opportunity we have to connect with not only EV team members, but also with our trade partners and clients. My favorite story pre-dates my time with EV but provides an accurate depiction of how our people operate whether working five or 500 miles from our headquarters in Holland, MI.
A representative from what has since become a long-term client drove by one of our out-of-town projects and was amazed at the cleanliness of the site, safety measures in place and professionalism he witnessed. So much so, that he turned around and drove back to the site where he spent an hour speaking with our field manager running the project. Our visitor was astounded to hear the corporate office was over three hours away and, more so, that the field manager was following all protocols even though there was no supervision nearby. Not long after this interaction, we constructed our first project for this client and, eight years later, continue to complete multiple projects each year for them.
So, how do we ensure new employees will represent our company well and put our clients first? How do we encourage every field manager to be like the one in the story above?
First, we train. Each new hire goes through an extensive onboarding process. They spend a week at the home office getting to know the company, the people, the processes and most importantly, our corporate values.
Second, we do our best to make each employee feel appreciated and fulfilled. A happy employee is a good employee. They will work harder for a manager that truly treats them with respect and recognizes their successes than they will for a boss more concerned with looking for mistakes.
Third, we visit them when we can. And when we can’t, we connect via video call. As I stated above, when communicating with video and not just audio, you can read reactions. You can see stress, exhaustion or other emotions that may be concerning. When we’re able to witness those emotions, we can help.
I am honored to be part of a team that puts people first. While we are not perfect, we continue to learn and get better as we go. This gives me extreme confidence that while searching for and taking advantage of every interaction we can, our team will continue to grow, regardless of whether we are faced with a global pandemic or the “small” matter of thousands of miles separating us. We are unified in one common goal; to deliver an unmistakable project no matter where the site is located.