Building Employee Loyalty Through Honesty, Fairness And Good Work

03_retention_storyIntegrity Post Structures, Okotoks

Integrity Post Structures got its start in 2008 in Jerry Myer’s garage. Myer and his co-founder, Al Williams, saw opportunity in their complementary skill sets – construction management and sales, respectively. The company now builds a variety of post-frame structures for agricultural use, the oil and gas industry and commercial applications. Despite the company’s rapid growth, Myer and Williams have remained committed to treating their customers and employees with, well, integrity.

Many of the company’s employees have been with Integrity since the beginning, something William credits to the culture of responsibility at the company. “Within the big team, the people that we have working for us all feel that they contribute to the end product, which I think is the winning formula there,” he says. Another aspect is the company’s social time outside of work, which includes baseball games and lazy days spent at a nearby lake.

“We try to do things outside of work as well as within work that give us some good team-building exercises. That ultimately improves the work environment.”
Following the principle that if you like your employees, you should hire more people like them, Integrity relies heavily on referrals for hiring. “It’s mostly word of mouth,” says Williams.

“If someone can do the job, we promote them and give them all the opportunity they could ever want.”

Employees are given the opportunity to advance in the company quite easily, and it’s not uncommon to see former crew members take on sales positions. One employee, who got her start with the company manufacturing posts in the shop, now works as a safety officer with the company and is responsible for auditing other companies for COR certification. “We like to see ability, and that’s what’s important to us,” Williams says. “If someone can do the job, we promote them and give them all the opportunity they could ever want to succeed doing it. … We let them lead us to their full potential.”

Integrity Post Structures follows a simple strategy, but it’s an effective one: treat employees with respect and provide them with a safe work environment with camaraderie and the opportunity for advancement. Starting with just the two founders, Integrity has grown to approximately 20 full-time employees, employs between 12 and 14 construction crews, and is on track to build more than 300 buildings this year. In 2012, they launched a second business, a building supplies store called Integrity Building Products. But Williams says they’ve remained just as dedicated to their principles. “We’ve tried to retain the family-like environment that we had when we first started,” he says.

Parting Advice

Understanding why employees might seek out a new job, and addressing those problems, is key to retaining them. Aside from compensation, here are some of the most common reasons employees leave:

    1. A poor work environment
      Your corporate culture is key to retention, and if employees feel that their work environment is unsafe, unwelcoming or doesn’t reflect their values,
      they’ll leave.
    2. Personality conflicts
      A bad relationship with a boss or a co-worker is one of the most common reasons for leaving. Having HR policies in place to deal with conflicts is essential.
    3. Lack of recongition
      Most employees (not just millennials) want their achievements to be recognized. This doesn’t have to mean a huge bonus – even a staff email thanking someone for their work on a difficult project can go a long way.
    4. No opportunity for promotion
      When an employee gets to the top of the career ladder, they’re likely to seek opportunities for advancement outside of your company.

Alberta has 11.6% of Canada’s population, and 14.6% of its companies

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