How to Be the Best Construction Company CEO or Owner
Many owners and CEOs are missing out on one of the most important things they can do for their companies: advocate workplace safety. The degree, emphasis and expectation the CEO places on workplace safety and health has a lasting impact on the company’s workplace atmosphere.
In the construction industry, one of the most successful techniques to increase workplace safety is the visibility of the CEO on the jobsite—you’re not the “Wizard of Oz” anymore. Your employees want to know you care about them and their personal welfare, and they’ll likely reciprocate that respect in their daily work.
I recently met with Red Mandell, legend, owner and absolute role model in the demolition and environmental remediation industry. He’s been visiting jobsites of his premier, Chicago-based companies, National Wrecking Company and Colfax Corporation, for over 65 years. At 88 years old, he still visits jobsites three days a week, rolling up his sleeves, getting dirty and making things happen on location.
Red emphasized, “If you’re not visiting jobsites, then what are you really doing? What message are you sending your crew?” Underscore mentorship, progress and motivation, and a simple thank you goes a long way when done in person. He said, “What do you stand for? Sitting on your hands will not allow you to get your message out in the field.”
Red also said it’s important to have a goal for every jobsite visit—don’t just show up as a figurehead. The goal could be related to production, safety, obstacles, appreciation, teamwork or all of the above. He also recommends visiting a jobsite first thing in the morning for a greater impact and to follow the 70/30 rule—70% of the time he shows up to jobsites unannounced to help drive a culture of excellence throughout his two organizations.
Based on that conversation, here are six ways you can emphasize safety and become a stronger CEO and/or executive:
- Ditch the suit, skirt, tie, wingtips and high heels. Wear your safety gear and appropriate construction apparel. Visit jobsites often, and don’t put a “CEO” sticker on your hard hat. You’re part of the team.
- Have a goal for the jobsite that impacts employees. Attend a Toolbox Talk.
- Ask for feedback from employees about how to improve the efficiency and safety of the jobsite.
- If there’s an injury, ensure all safety measures have been implemented and well communicated to prevent future incidents.
- Constantly emphasize that workplace safety is the top priority.
- Remember to be accessible, grateful and “high-five” as many employees as possible. Give recognition to those unspoken leaders of your firm to make a lasting, positive impact on your employees and company.
If you want more ideas on how to retain your skilled workforce and keep them safe, contact us. We're happy to help! You may even reduce your insurance expenses.
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