As many of us know, this is a highly intense “people” industry. What I mean by that is that not only do we need people but we SERVE people. The connotations are endless.
Like Pastors, psychologists, listening partners, etc… our roll often times reflects or mimics that of the afore mentioned. In our world, we have the added stresses today of the internet, social media and technology. In our professional lives working in restoration, we have the added stressors of being a 24/7/365 Emergency response company and our “partners” – 3rd party vendors and carriers – where people are being pressed (and therefore pressing) for hitting the numbers and meeting the standards “now” (and apparently “algorithms rule”).
I consistently see that many in our industry do not know how to handle this, or have not been trained to handle this and therefore may not be equipped to know when burn out is upon them.
Therefore my thoughts on this go towards several key points that I will address from an owners perspective (but the argument could be made that some/many would also apply to the front line company Mangers as well):
I consistently see the lack of:
- Vision – have a clear vision of what you want. I recently ran into Jarett Dixon from Master Restoration (https://www.masterrestorationservices.com/ )in Pinellas County Florida. Their company credo is: We put people before Profit” – WOW! That is powerful. Jarrett has a STRONG Vision for his company and himself. He truly wants to make a difference. He and his Company “know their ‘WHY’ – they realize that this is a people business and not only put their people first but also the people that they work for first.
- Decide on what the business does or does not do – although this can be part of the Vision, I separate this. Many companies want to be everything to everyone (TRUE people pleasers). From a pure business perspective, this is tough to do and generally requires more people, time and money. So, decisions should be made early on about what a company will take for business, what they will not take for business and they should have a clear idea about what kind of work they should “walk away” from. Bad work creates stress and stress creates burn out. You have to decide early on to say “no” to a bad job (I am pretty sure that most everyone in the restoration business knows what a “bad job” looks like. I can make the argument that not taking a $100K loss that is “bad work” is actually saving you time, money, energy and effort AND you will have less stress.
- Hiring right – Spend time on reviewing and following a “hiring process”. Decide who from the company is involved. I work with many companies that have 2 – 3 people in on the first and final interviews and for many candidates, they are going through 3 – 4 interviews during their process overall. This may sound like it takes forever but it is a quick turnaround process. The KEYS are to know what you are looking for and to have more than one person doing the interview process. What you are looking for is great attitudes, solid aptitudes and appearance (meaning are they clean cut and are a “people person”).
- Correct staffing – some people are focused on “right sizing” and although I won’t argue that point, I will state that correct sizing is based upon knowing your numbers. Do you have solid Data (most companies do not). Do you know who the next position(s) are at the correct dollar volume? Are you thinking 6 days or 6 months (6 years?) down the road? When having the Vision, Hiring and correct staffing come together, it is a stress reducer.
- Training – many times, I come across companies that have little to no training inside their company. Each position should have a consistent training program laid out that includes an orientation, discussions about Company Culture, what you do, how you do it, how you treat people, what are your Systems, Sop’s, extensive training in your software programs, etc. The more you invest in training the right people, the LESS stress (burn out) happens.
- Technology – for a long time I have professed People, Process and Technology. We all agree that generally speaking, technology is racing ahead – fast! However, when you have a good IT partner and have people who are on top of the current trends and making recommendations about how to streamline, that can be a stress reliever in and of itself. In today’s restoration world, all Lead Technicians and Key Construction Personnel should have Smart Pad and Smart Phone technology tied into the job management system and thereby back to the office (this may sound like a given to many but there are still some that are not close to doing this). The dividends in more productive time, more efficiency and more effectiveness will increase the bottom line results (and who amongst us will argue that bottom line results are not a stress reducer).
Bonus … J
Time away – many (most) owners struggle with this. Why? Because they are either a “people – person”, wanting to help people and they struggle to let go OR they have not hired the right KEY people (see above) and are not able to go because “no one else can do it”. I recently had a conversation with someone who has not had a vacation in 7 years “because no one else could do it”. Yes, you have to hire and train some key people. However, I believe that you also have to calendar your time and set clear boundaries for getting away. An owner should be getting away at LEAST 4 times a year, some getaways can be as short as a 4 day weekend (think creatively around the holidays). But the owners and managers should be taking two (2) one week vacations away at least twice a year.
Marty Jocz has been in the Restoration Industry for over 23 years. He has been a Consultant, Business Coach and Mentor to Restoration Companies for over 14 years. He works in the areas of accountability, Sales, Leadership and Management training. Marty offers a free consult on how to help your company become more focused and dialed in. He can be reached at:
Martin D. Jocz, CR
President Coach, Teach and Train Inc.