Team Building: Happy Employees, Satisfied Customers

At Callen, our mission statement is: “We genuinely care for people, our customers, and their homes. We believe in the philosophy, Quality Craftsmanship Works.”

By Phil Callen

At Callen, our mission statement is: “We genuinely care for people, our customers, and their homes.  We believe in the philosophy, Quality Craftsmanship Works.”

That mission statement doesn’t only apply to me and my brother, Tom.  This is something we make sure our employees – the Callen team – are on board with.

When we hire, of course we look for skills, but we also look for a genuine caring attitude.  And we are not shy about letting our employees know that Caring, Trust, and Service is our brand and we expect them to carry that out through their work.

It may sound simple, but we emphasize the basics of working with the customer, the please and thank yous and helping the customer out by calling a customer on the way to the job so the customer knows their name and knows when they will be arriving; helping out where they see a need, like a busy mom trying to unload groceries from the back of the car, or bringing up the garbage cart for an senior.  Small things, but they go a long way.

I coach a college rugby team and one of the things the other coaches and I do is teach players the fundamentals, but let them set their own goals – where do they see themselves going; what gets them excited about what they are doing.  Our top rugby players help other players advance.  The point is everybody is teaching and trying to reach the same goal – to be the best possible.

That is similar to what we do here.  People come to us with skills, but we make sure they know the fundamentals of giving our customers the best possible remodeling experience.

We emphasize teamwork and team building and an atmosphere where our staff, even when they are working on different projects, get to know each other and feel comfortable talking and joking with each other.  We encourage our veteran employees to help our newer employees.

Some of what we do includes having everyone show up at the office before they head out to their job sites or make customer calls to build camaraderie.  And once a month, the production department has a breakfast to discuss a variety of topics, including making a remodel a great customer experience.

One of our team building efforts is taking a half-day off to go bowling.  The teams are mixed up so that people are not sitting with the same group that they work with every day.  The point is to get to know people who work in other parts of the Callen business.

Letting people know they did a good job is important too.  We have a company meeting four times a year and, among other things, we share customer letters and testimonials.  When one of our projects wins an award, like the Milwaukee/NARI Wisconsin Remodeler of the Year Awards, we bring everybody together who worked on the job and get a picture of them with the award because it’s really a group effort from first contact to finished project.

Through these efforts, we’ve created a team where everybody has one thing in common – they believe in the company, the work they do, and their fellow workers.

A couple of years ago, I was in a Wal-Mart early in the morning when I noticed a group of employees gathered around a manager who appeared to be firing them up before they went on their shift.  I thought it was kind of funny about getting them excited about going to work but I realized that all the manager was doing was reminding them about what they are supposed to do today…reminding them to help out a customer, do the things that are expected, and give customers a successful shopping experience.

That is what we try to do – to remind our team members to not forget to make their phone calls today; don’t forget to make their customer smile today.  With the great team we have, we know our customers are cared about and are given the best day, every day, on the job we do for them.

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