Joeris employees reviewing construction schematics at a job site.

How This ENR 400 Winner has Built a Winning Workforce

For this Texas-based general contractor, creating innovative programs and initiatives to attract and retain a winning workforce speaks to their commitment to building trust in the communities they serve. Joeris General Contractors was founded in 1967 and attributes their 51 years of success to many things, but their forward-working employees top the list. Since 2009, Joeris has consistently ranked on the ENR 400 list, rising from spot 243 in 2009, their first year making the list, to spot 159 in 2018. What's their secret to their success? Investing in their workforce.

Since implementing the BirdDogHR Integrated Workforce Management Solution, Joeris employees have more time to focus on strategic workforce initiatives, which has made the entire Joeris workforce more productive and engaged.

Paving the Path to Success

Since Joeris was founded in 1967, a lot has changed in how the company conducts business, but their people-first mentality has remained throughout their 51 years. They use the BirdDogHR Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to find great candidates and support them in their first days on the job through BirdDogHR Onboarding.

"We moved our onboarding program from one day to four days," says Julie Delahunt, HR Director. "We strive to get the buy-in from our new hires starting day one. We want them to find out what the culture is here at the corporate office, so they can take the 'Joeris Way' mentality with them on their job site or one of our other offices."

How are new hires introduced to the Joeris Way?

  1. Hire New Checklists: John Casstevens, the company's President, learned of an onboarding tactic in his Navy days that worked well in his civilian job - a new hire checklist. While Ellen Ward, HR Manager, has established a comprehensive new hire guide for their college interns, she will also be creating one for all their new hires - from entry-level to executives. They will be required to visit with employees in every department, complete a small task or simply have a conversation about what that department does and then get a signature. The goal is to familiarize each new employee with the entire Joeris process and get them comfortable with their new co-workers.
  2. Lean Initiatives: Lean initiatives are a relatively new concept that Joeris is implementing with their Operations team, with the hopes of introducing the concept company-wide. The goal is for employees to identify processes that can be more efficient and less wasteful of company resources. The lean mindset gives employees more ownership over their position and daily processes.

"We want to understand what's important to employees, so they feel more in-control of their work. People want to have a purpose at work and this initiative is helping that goal," says Delahunt.

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3. Position-Specific Devices: Joeri's Superintendents and Assistant Superintendents don't have much use for a clunky laptop on the jobsite. That's why Joeris gives them devices that make much more sense for their position. Most receive iPads to make communication and processes easier and faster on the jobsite.

"When they have a quick minute, the supervisor can go into the BirdDogHR system and look at the team's certifications, complete a training course, look up employee information, etc." says Travis Bone, Training Specialist. "Every instance where they're able to access employee information themselves on the jobsite saves the HR Administrator about 10 minutes, which adds up to about a hour and a half per week."

4. Cross-Department Mentorships: The mentorship program at Joeris works a little differently than at most companies. New hires are assigned a mentor at the corporate office in San Antonio, often in a different department than their own. That way each new hire has somebody to turn to at the main office when they need a little extra support.

Learning and Development

To keep their company competitive and their workforce moving forward, Joeris has invested in training and development at work. Through the BirdDogHR Learning Management System (LMS) Joeris' employees have access to custom training courses on soft skill topics like effective phone communication, presentation skills and writing skills. They've also introduced more diversity into their training through their Women in Construction course series.

"Joeris works hard to attract and retain strong talent. We are utilizing BirdDogHR to deploy employee development programs and workshops." Says Bone.

Going the Extra Mile

The HR Team at Joeris knows that in this competitive candidate-driven market, providing extra perks can be powerful. To attract great candidates and engage and retain current employees, they've introduced small benefits that bring huge value:

  • On-site gym in their San Antonio office and discounted gym memberships
  • Amusement park tickets
  • Discounts at San Antonio auto repair shop
  • Discounts at popular retail stores, including a specialty work boot store
  • One-on-one consultations with their insurance broker and/or a Medicare specialist
  • A comprehensive Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at no cost to the employee
  • Monthly Joeris Way to Go winners - recognition for a job well done!

They've also increased vacation time for full-time employees. After adjusting their vacation policy in 2017, employees may now receive up to 20 days of paid vacation time dependent upon years of service. Also, new hires no longer have a one-year waiting period to be eligible for vacation.

"We wanted to make vacation time more equitable for employees across the board," says Delahunt.

What's Next?

From a marketing perspective, the ENR 400 awards Joeris has consistently received since 2009 have paved the way for new client relationships, according to Angela Cardwell, Chief Marketing Officer. Cardwell says Joeris can compete with much larger construction companies because of the technologies, innovations and recognition Joeris receives. Her advice to ENR 400 hopefuls? Perseverance.

"There's an in-depth survey and application process you have to go through, but once you make the ENR 400 list, it's worth the effort."

Through all the benefits and engagement programs at Jeoris, employees are motivated to do well. Productive employees mean higher profits and more opportunities to build trust and meet new clients within their Texas communities. Using the BirdDogHR Integrated Workforce Management solution has supported these goals, and the Joeris team is looking forward to even more workforce innovations to stay competitive in the future.

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