Lots of companies boldly state on their website that people are their greatest asset. It’s often true, but, in many cases, companies are just paying lip service to the idea of valuing their staff rather than actually making it happen. Here at Millcroft, not only do we want to look after our team, but, after 40 years of trading, we also know how much delivering a quality service to customers depends on actively valuing and nurturing our people.
So how do we ensure that we not only acknowledge our people as our greatest asset but actually treat them like that too?
The Happy at Work Principle
Let’s start with the obvious: a happy employee is a productive employee. If you’ve ever been unhappy at work, you’ll know that it makes you feel de-motivated, less concerned about whether you’re doing a good job, less likely to help out a colleague or go above and beyond the call of duty. It may even make you less likely to turn up on time and more relaxed about calling in sick at the first signs of a sniffle.
At Millcroft we want people to feel valued and supported at work because we know it will make them happier in their job, which ensures our customers receive a high standard of workmanship and service across everything we do. It’s not about staff perks and a holiday camp atmosphere – what we do is serious stuff that requires a keen focus on accuracy, scheduling and health & safety, so nurturing a happy team isn’t as simple as fun Fridays and free bacon butties.
We know from our experience of running a successful scaffolding company for the past 40 years that people are happier at work if they feel that what they do is appreciated and they’re part of an organisation that values the role they play in its success.
This can be as simple as saying thank you for a job well done, recognising talent, hard work and achievement, both formally and informally, and ensuring that every member of the team feels listened to and respected. There are a number of practical ways we use to make sure all of these principles are followed at Millcroft:
• We have an open door policy that allows everyone to talk to the senior leadership team on any matter.
• Our directors are personally involved in projects so they understand the challenges the site team face. In our experience, empathy between the management team and site personnel is vital for a cohesive company culture.
• We have an employee of the month award, for which any employee is eligible, and an employee of the year is selected from the monthly winners
Train to Gain
Our in-house training facility is one of the many things that sets us apart in the scaffolding sector here at Millcroft because it enables us to train our own scaffolding teams and nurture their professional development. It also allows us to ensure that all their health & safety training is up-to-date.
A business that trains its staff is investing in them as individuals and offering them improved career potential and salary prospects. Many companies don’t invest in training because they see upskilling their staff as a risk that key members of the team will be poached by the competition. Our philosophy is that training is an investment in the loyalty of our team as well as in the skills that maintain high standards for our business. This offers a distinct and sustainable value chain that benefits both Millcroft and our customers:
• The employee receives training that helps him/her feel valued
• The employee remains loyal because they can see a clear career and earnings path based on future training goals
• Millcoft benefits from a loyal, skilled and motivated workforce
• Millcoft’s customers benefit from high skill levels and reliable, in-house resource
Retention & Recruitment
Our customers love that so many of our team have been with us for a number of years because it means that they’re dealing with the same experienced people on project after project. It builds trust and confidence.
Nurturing a loyal team ensures that we know we have enough skilled resource in-house to manage the projects we take on and, because we know where the strengths of each individual lie, it also means we can ensure we leverage that experience when we decide who to assign to which project.
With so many of our scaffolders staying with us for years and even decades, our recruitment requirements are reduced, helping us to save on management time and costs, so that we can focus on designing and running projects. Having said that, we’re committed to bringing new talent into the business on a continuous basis and have an established apprenticeship scheme. Our new recruits are supported and nurtured by our more experienced staff, which means we use our existing pool of knowledge and skills to develop the next generation. It also means our safety, quality and operational best practice is consistent across the company.
In a sector where skills shortages are always a topical issue, our culture of nurturing staff helps build our resilience. Not only do we develop our own talent, but our existing team are great advocates for the company, helping us attract both experienced and novice scaffolders whenever we need to. For customers, it’s reassuring to know that we’ll never be short-handed.
The Bottom Line
For Millcroft, nurturing the team and ensuring we’re a company where people are happy at work are cultures embedded in the way we’ve run the business for the past 40 years. We’ve not only stuck with that philosophy because it’s the right and responsible thing to do; we’ve put it at the heart of our business because it makes sound commercial sense. Ultimately, a valued, motivated team is simply better for business – ours and yours.