The restoration industry can be intense.
It’s not uncommon, in the midst of a chaotic schedule for employees to run into conflict with each other, or feel underappreciated. Staff turnover is getting higher and higher in the restoration industry, and some leaders may have fallen into the belief that this is just the way it will always be.
Bess Leiti is not one of those people.
On the most recent episode of The Restoration Playbook, we sat down with Bess Leiti, owner of Seaside Restoration Services to talk about how she provides 5-Star Experiences to both her staff and her customers. As she highlighted in the podcast, Bess is remarkably intentional about creating a collaborative work environment that nurtures positive relationships among colleagues and equips them to succeed. Here are her proven tactics that leave her employees and customers feeling valued, cared for, and confident, and how you can seamlessly incorporate these strategies into your own business.
Is It Worth It To Invest In Your Team?
Some restoration owners probably hear the chorus of young business school graduates telling leaders to invest in their team and roll their eyes.
Restoration is all about dollars and cents, after all, and between rising materials costs and insurance not being willing to budge on price, margins are tight. Every investment needs to lead to clear ROI.
Yet the data from Why Workers Quit, our survey of 400 workers in the restoration industry, shows just how much can be gained from investing heavily into your team. 35% of all workers surveyed found the best part of their job to be working with others. This need for camaraderie and collaboration holds particular weight for the younger generation, with Gen Z employees valuing team interactions 50% more than baby boomers. The restoration industry can get pretty messy sometimes (literally!), but a strong team culture can drive up employee loyalty. Bess from Seaside Restoration recognized this, and she provides a great example of how to create this environment.
Seaside Restoration's Team-Centric Approach:
Creating a strong team culture is a top priority for Bess, and she understands the power of a cohesive team, placing a large emphasis on vetting her potential employees to ensure they align with Seaside Restoration's values and contribute positively to the team dynamic. Rigorous interviews, DISC assessments, and even ride-alongs allow candidates to experience the company's culture firsthand, and ensure they are a fit for the team. As Bess puts it, “We're not just gonna hire anybody with a pulse”. This thoughtful hiring process has allowed Seaside to develop an all-star team that has never failed a post-remediation verification.
Once these candidates have been selected, Bess has prioritized structured training and effective communication, ensuring that job sites are equipped with clear scopes of work and the necessary tools. “Once you're here for 90 days, you go for IICRC water certification. After that you go for mold, fire, smoke and odor and things like that. So everybody here can feel that sense of worth that they are certified, and that they can handle the situation“. By providing her employees with the proper training and equipment, they are empowered to perform their jobs efficiently and effectively, and they’re more likely to feel good about their work.
This insight from Bess fits perfectly with what workers are telling us. In the survey conducted by Why Workers Quit, restoration industry workers were asked to define what makes a good day versus a bad day. The prevailing response emphasized the significance of providing your employees with a clear scope of work and the necessary tools to perform the job effectively. Combining clear, structured training with effective, consistent communication ensures that staff walk onto a jobsite feeling empowered to live out the company’s mission and do their job to the best of their ability.
Seaside Restoration's Commitment to Employee Satisfaction
What truly sets Seaside Restoration apart is their commitment to supporting their employees, both personally or professionally. Bess leads by example, embracing an open-door policy and making herself readily available to employees to ensure their well-being or listen to feedback, as she stated, “I'll pull them into the office and I'll sit them down and say okay, what's going on? How can I help? How can I serve you to make your life better whether it's personal or professional”.
Developing a workplace culture where employees are valued not only as team members but also as individuals, creates a sense of appreciation for their hard work, and ultimately translates into exceptional service and outcomes for the clients and communities Seaside Restoration serves.
Led by Bess, Seaside Restoration has invested heavily in creating a collaborative work experience that cares about employee well-being. By fostering a strong team culture, cultivating a supportive work environment, and prioritizing effective communication, restoration companies can take a page out of Seaside Restoration’s playbook and maximize employee satisfaction, productivity, and ultimately deliver 5-Star services to customers.
To hear more about Bess' strategies and insights at Seaside Restoration, you can listen to the full episode of The Restoration Playbook Podcast.
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