We’re in This Together: A Helpful, Supportive Office Culture Leads to Success

By Craig Carson

I’m sitting in my office on a Sunday morning once again, working on a project that’s on a deadline, and I’m wondering how many others are doing the same thing. I know some are, because I’ve had a chain of emails with a supplier already and it’s not even 8 a.m.

I want you to know that I’m not complaining. I’m just doing my best to try to stay on top of things, just as many of you are doing or have done. As any of us who have lived through the commercial construction cycle of feast or famine, I prefer the feast.

Weekend Warriors

That reminds me of something my father said to me years ago that’s always stuck with me, “You are paid to get a job done, not work 40 hours a week.” And sometimes weekends are needed to get the job done.

I’m proud to say that the culture in our office is very much the same, and many times I’m not alone on weekends. I also find that in our office we all help each other whenever we’re asked. I believe that this attitude is something you foster and build on. When someone joins your company you don’t always know if they will be the right fit until you have the time to really work with them and see if they bolster the culture or antagonize it. Those who do the latter usually don’t last long. Those who have creative and constructive ideas to
help us grow and learn (remember, you never stop learning in this business) are welcome.

I think about this because it’s been so hard to find qualified people during this construction boom cycle. We recently hired a wonderful new colleague who joined us from another segment of the construction industry. She has experience with project management, estimating and take-offs, but is learning about glazing systems, suppliers and more. One of the things I admire about anyone who decides to make a career change, is how brave this is and how they need the support of everyone to allow them to use their talents to succeed within the new company.

Show Your Support

This brave action also occurs when you promote from within. That person may know more about the company than a brand new hire, but think about this: whether you’re moving someone from one branch to another or from the field to the office, they’re still in a new environment and need everyone’s support.

When someone doesn’t work out and leaves, it’s damaging on many levels—management, co-workers, and that person. All have some level of regret. The bottom line is that no matter how busy you are, you need to take the time to help anyone in a new position in your company and to build on the culture in your workplace.

Last thought, if you’re unhappy where you are and don’t feel valued, what can you personally do to help change it? It’s harder to change a poor culture than it is to keep a good one, but it’s like a marriage—if you don’t work at it, it’s bound to fail. None of us want to fail, and the rewards should be great. Even in your workplace, the devil is in the details.

Craig Carson is the regional preconstruction manager for Alliance Glazing Technologies Inc. in Littleton, Colo.

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