The Power of Positivity

Building a positive work culture can pay dividends

As a painting contractor, you’re likely looking for ways to get more out of your team, in addition to ensuring that they’re generally content and not looking to bolt as soon as a job becomes available with a competitor.

The most obvious carrot-on-a-stick to ensure such loyalty typically focuses on salary, but there are other simple means of promoting a positive working environment that can pay significant dividends for any contractor.

This article will look at the benefits of building a positive work culture and address ways you can make it happen for your business.

Why you want to keep it positive

Better retention for your bottom line. A worker shortage has clamped growth for many industries, and painting contractors have certainly not been spared. The American Center for Progress has estimated that the cost of lost production, training and other expenses that go into replacing an employee equals roughly 20 percent of that person’s yearly salary. In other words, replacing an unhappy, job-jumping employee can be expensive.

Minimize work-related stress. There may be times when you feel the need to push your crews to peak production, but consider the stresses to which you are subjecting them and the potential effects on their efficiency, well-being and safety. The American Psychological Association reports that work-related stress — and resulting lost work time — is on a rapid rise for American workers and up to 80 percent of workplace accidents can be partially attributed to stress. Stressed workers are often inefficient workers, and frequent pressuring of them to do more, better, faster may in fact have the opposite effect.

Plugged-in employees deliver more. Research shows that employees who are engaged in what they consider a positive work environment are more likely to be productive, on-time, and deliver higher-quality work, all of which contribute to your business’s profitability.

Teamwork wins. Few operations benefit more by successful collaboration than a painting crew. Teammates who share a positive outlook and enjoy working with each other are going to be more productive and willing to maintain a constructive working relationship with each other.

Why not? Who wouldn’t prefer to show up daily to an environment that builds people up rather than beats them down, that fosters personal growth and development, and might even be fun? Such an environment is not only positive for your employees – it’s good for you, too! And even your customers will enjoy seeing a positively interacting team.

Here’s How

Encourage professional development. An employee who earns greater responsibility by demonstrating new proficiencies delivers a win-win for everyone involved. Employees who grow their skill sets will take pride in their professional growth, and you’ll be rewarded too, with a more versatile team. To that end, Sherwin-Williams offers a wide array of training videos that can help build your team’s skills.

Ask for their feedback. No one has a better sense of your efficiency and processes than your employees. Encourage their input and enact their ideas, and you’ll have employees who feel valued.

Avoid the blame game. Mistakes happen, and in a painting contractor’s world, they can be costly. While it’s important to identify errors, reassess processes and take corrective action to ensure mistakes don’t happen again, pointing the finger of blame often accomplishes little other than grow resentment. Forgive mistakes and offer support to those who may be hanging their heads if the mistake was theirs.

Earn their trust. Encourage employees to talk to you — about anything. If employees feel that you are concerned about their well-being, they’re more likely to operate without the fear of negative consequences and will feel comfortable asking for help or guidance. Research shows that such an environment leads to better learning and performance outcomes.

Offer flexibility. No doubt, flex-time scheduling is going to have limitations in a professional painting contractor’s world. However, consider the possibilities. Would second-shift or split-shift scheduling allow certain team members greater ability, for example, to tend to family matters? Perhaps such creative scheduling might be beneficial to your customers as well.

Have fun! There are many ways to make work a fun place to be, even if your team is often off-site. Look for ways to reward performance goals with incentives such as sports tickets, lottery tickets or gift cards. Set aside an afternoon for fun inter-company competitions, such as lawn games or bowling, or just a social gathering. Buy lunch, coffee, ice cream, or a round of post-work drinks. It doesn’t have to be a big spend — the gesture will show that you’re about more than just grinding maximum production out of your employees.

In the end, loyalty is a two-way street. But if a positive working environment can grow higher levels of loyalty from your employees, you can achieve higher levels of efficiency, profitability, and success for both you and your crews. And word will get out — not only will you retain your own employees, your company will become known as a desired workplace for those looking to join a winning team.