Best of Success: Recruiting and Retaining Employees Successfully
Mark Lee, president of Baker Roofing Company, took the stage at Best of Success to discuss how the established recruiting program in place at Baker incorporates both company culture and employee development.
Lee possesses a Business Administration degree from the University of South Carolina, and over the past 15 years, has climbed through the ranks — from working with crews in the field to eventually becoming Baker’s current president. His responsibilities at Baker include strategic planning, reviewing financial and operational performance, and aiding in the company’s overall growth and development. Lee’s session focused largely on recruiting and training procedures, including how companies should take time with their employees to closely examine their own internal processes and figure out what needs updating.
Lee began his presentation by detailing the importance of creating a brand that people want to work for. He described the moment that Baker decided to make their branding an internal operation, and how their leadership group met for two days to formulate a solid plan. “We asked ourselves, what behaviors are we looking for from our people? What behaviors do we try to operate by? What do we do to coach our people in how we make decisions, how we treat our customers and how we treat each other?” he said.
He quickly dove into the company’s defined values, also referred to as the “fundamentals.” These values are utilized both internally and externally companywide. Each Monday morning, a specific fundamental is chosen and sent to employees via email, and their desktop wallpapers are changed to reflect that fundamental. The elected value then becomes the center of weekly meetings where employees are encouraged to present examples, challenges and strategies related to that topic. Given Baker’s large size (1,200 employees), these methods have helped shape and unify their 17 locations throughout the southeast United States.
Lee also elaborated on Baker’s method of exemplifying a healthy workplace. He detailed how the human resources department organizes several fitness and weight-loss challenges throughout the year. In addition, an onsite gym is available for employee use at no charge. Lee noted that the company aims to do all it can to ensure employees are successful.
He also gave an overview of the company’s foreman recruiting and development program, where foreman essentially hire their own crews. They then use a rank and rating system where the foreman set benchmark goals that encourage employees to move forward in the company and improve their skills. Lee mentioned that the company’s online video library is a great tool for employees to strengthen their skills. “We track our employees on which ones they’ve done, when it was done last and how often we want them to watch it,” said Lee, who worked for UPS, Jefferson Pilot, Allergen Pharmaceuticals and Provident Life before joining Baker in 1998.
By doing so, Lee said his team keeps employees up to date on regulations, new products, installation techniques and more.
“We’ve had a lot of failures, and we’ve had some successes, but all of it is helping us,” Lee explained. He recalled a time when Baker was trying to strengthen its training program, but didn’t have a position in place dedicated to accomplishing that. That’s when the wheels were put in motion to hire someone to help them achieve their training goals. “Anything you want to achieve, if you don’t have somebody dedicated to it, where that’s their responsibility, you will struggle,” he said.
Lee closed out his session by encouraging employers to sit down with their employees and gather feedback to help create better training procedures, and an overall healthier workplace.
“You have to have a plan, you have to have a process, you have to have a system,” he said.
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