Monday, October 1, 2012


Crossland Construction is a family-owned enterprise that has seen tremendous growth. They recognized a need to improve its ability to communicate effectively to five regional offices and a larger workforce. Informal channels were no longer appropriate. The following is an overview of plan that was implemented as the head of that taskforce on improving internal/employee communications.  

Our overriding goal is for employees to be the best ambassadors for the company. We believe this will be a natural outcome of a total and balanced communications program.

Message strategies - The message strategies we need to launch will have to be based on a shared vision (including goals). Ideally, we will have a routine program that delivers timely news and celebrate successes.

Set goals and progress reports - Part of the shared vision is about setting goals that can reasonably be obtained on our way to continued success. "What gets measured gets done."

Celebrate Success - Success comes from hard work. As we celebrate wins we want to make sure we can enjoy it together and look forward to additional victories.

Timely delivery of news - We have seen rapid growth and we all know how critical it can be to have information. Part of the overall message strategy is to deliver news quickly so there is as much transparency as is is reasonable.

Shared Vision - A shared vision is essential for the company to succeed. Sometimes referred to as "getting on the same page" and having the kind of focus that allows us to help each other toward greater achievements as an organization.

Overview of mission/vision - Reminders of mission - printed on the back of all business cards.

Model excellence - select ENR ranked contractors we admire identify areas where we would like to model behavior or practices. Consider leading companies and why they are admired and propose modeling of them as well.

Quickly communicate to all - Continue to leverage the intranet as the "Source." Augment with e-mail bulletins and news. Experiment with e-mail blasts and determine efficacy.

Report on Progress – Communicate milestone achievements (i.e. dollar volume of schools construction, jobs awarded, awards).

Crisis Communications – (Media Training) Schedule session with Denver based experts from INA. Develop a plan for crisis communication. (Leanna Clark, Meme)

Generate press releases and pitch media - Engage Common Ground to develop a media target list and develop routine releases. Understand editorial calendars and target editors for ongoing relationships and coverage.

Internal Communications - Post job wins in all offices or use the video monitors to make wins public.

Seek Award Recognition - Identify awards and potential projects that may be considered for recognition. (i.e. AGC, metal buildings, concrete).

Segments - Education (K-12), Higher Education, Healthcare, Retail, Sports/Recreation, Distribution Centers, Hospitality, Commercial Office, Municipal Projects, Manufacturing, Civil Projects. Identify key trade show events and plan participation.

Awareness and Positive Perception - Deliver good news in multiple channels evenly to all audiences (as appropriate).

Share Metrics - Segments (i.e. Education, Healthcare, Retail) - wins vs. plan. Project Delivery - Construction Management and Design-Build. Sales.

We will need to have a full understanding of the communications needs of our internal audiences (including subs and suppliers) as well as customers and prospects.

Superintendents Field Personnel - Superintendents and field personnel are on the front line. We need to listen carefully and be responsive to them. At the same time we need to find meaningful ways to communicate with them.

Audit signage in place now with eye toward best practices. Don't mandate, simply encourage and support. Safety, Legal requirements, brand visability and awareness.

Bart Arnett job in Oklahoma City is test of new sign (Vital Signs is to build).

Bulletins - Publish and post bulletins for superintendents to share with subs and workforce.

e-mail - Work with e-blast software (i.e. Constant Contact) to make sure field and key partners are in the loop on news.

Alicia Endicott is gatekeeper of this weekly event.

Corporate Headquarters - The corporate culture we want to embrace is about being supportive. We do not want to dictate policies and procedures but we do want to help implement best practices that allow us all to be the best - World Class!

Cross functional presentations - Lunch n Learn (small groups) may participate in opportunity to learn more about aspects of the business (i.e. topics may include estimating, construction management, education/training, safety).

Task forces working together to make recommendations for improvements. 

Divisions - Divisions and offices are a part of our expansion and growth. Learning from the achievements of the most successful among their ranks will make it possible for the Crossland Way to be scalable.

Share Best Practices - Showcase processes and practices that work particularly well in each division. Videotape or otherwise document the process so that others might apply to their business unit.

Recognition of excellence - Quarterly recognition of effort. Awards for tenure (service awards).

Corporate support -Culture of support vs. dictates. (i.e. How can we better serve and support your goals?)

Subs, suppliers and partners
- The subcontractor and supplier community are a critical piece of the underground communication that goes on in the construction industry. We must find effective ways to communicate with them and also listen to them carefully.

Milestone Events - Groundbreaking, Topping out, demonstration or opportunities to teach the "Crossland Way."

e-mail blasts - Include key subs in routine news of success.

Customers and Prospects - Customers are a great resource. We must not fear open and honest assessments of our work. At the same time we must demonstrate the character and values of our organization to make things right. In the process we will gain friends, referrals and repeat business.

Response opportunity on facing card in Red Iron mailing. Formal research re: customer satisfaction and brand perception.

Red Iron response card offers Subways gift card 1/2011 Winter issue.

Participate in trade events - Schedule a list of industry events (i.e. trade shows/conventions) and plan participation that makes an impact.Kansas - USA Kansas, KASB

Honest and Quality Feedback
To achieve this goal - we need to build an environment of open and honest communication.

Benchmark Owner Research - Continuous improvement can only be demonstrated with benchmarks that allow us to measure progress. We want satisfied customers who will recommend us and we want to be a brand that is perceived as top notch. 

Implement annual benchmark study designed by a professional researcher to assure meaningful indicators of progress or backsliding.

Report results and ongoing tracking -Topline results of annual benchmark study can be shared with participants, prospects and employees.

Employee Feedback - Employees must have channels for candid dialogue with management. Management needs to understand perceptions and attitudes in the workplace if we are to be the kind of place of which people are proud to work.

Report on usefulness. Consider alternatives as well (i.e. hot line, anonymous blog) Crossland Insider Newsletter to promote feedback channels.

Breakouts - Task forces charged to find reasonable solutions. If taken seriously, relatively small problems can be addressed quickly and solutions can be adopted.

Two way communication - Part of any effective communication is the ability to have give and take. One way communication can send a message that the organization is inflexible. 

Lottery Lunch - cross-section of employees can share a dialogue about the company and about their observations on work environment, concerns or ideas.

Town Hall Meeting - State of the Union. Employees invited for attendance. Broad access (training room or offsite venue) set up so many can be there live and others can dial in for a short company meeting. How are we doing? What can we do better?

Feedback from sub, suppliers, partners - Feedback from subs and suppliers who may have a uniquely qualified set of observations are valuable. We should seek that input.

Reception for Qualified Subs - Off site event that allows subs access to Crossland and opportunity to be considered for future work and maybe share insights about their experiences with Crossland.


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