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How to Find and Foster Great Employees

Finding and keeping good employees is a challenge in the construction industry, but it is necessary to remain productive and profitable and to show clients you have strong leadership in your company. Ekedal Concrete, Newport Beach, Calif., is a foundation company that focuses on large, complex custom home foundations. The company employs 80 people. Vice President Ryan Ekedal says about half of the company’s employees have been with them for more than 10 years, and about 20 have been there more than 20 years. Their estimator and plan detailer have been there 30+ years.

“When people come here they stay, and we are lucky for that,” Ryan Ekedal says. “But when we have to put an ad in the paper to find someone new, that process is not easy.”
The company typically vets 100 resumes before they find the one person who is a fit for the company – a good person who is easy to get along with and gets along with co-workers, has an open mind and is looking for a challenge, and someone who understands how their work directly affects the success of the company.

“We ask potential employees a lot of questions in an interview, but one question wealways ask is if that person played sports in high school,” President Dave Ekedal says. “That tells you something about someone — it tells you whether or not they are a competitive person. You need to have competitive people working for you.”

Once an employee is on staff, Ekedal Concrete fosters an environment that breeds productivity. “We create competition among employees so they want to get better and want to get faster,” Dave says. “I tell employees that when they are working they are on a dance floor. They have people looking at them from start to finish. Whether they or lazy or working hard, GCs and builders see it.”

The culture Ekadal Concrete created works. Employees are innovative and creative. “We have never walked away from a job because it was too difficult. If we don’t know how to do something, we will figure out how to do it,” Dave adds.

The ability to create a healthy employee environment comes only for the employer who truly believes in the importance of everyone on his team. “They guy who drives the truck is as important as someone pounding nails or working in the office,” Dave says. ”Everyone plays an important part in the business. That’s the way I see it."