Without a doubt, the foundation for a successful company lies in its employees. And with such a competitive construction market, this is evermore important to remodeling firm owners. Companies offering aggressive salary packages, healthcare and investment benefits are finding to attract and retain quality employees they need to start thinking outside the box.
Rick Caccavello, president and owner of Central Kitchen & Bath, Winter Park, Fla., implemented a unique incentive program that not only grew his annual sales volume, but also encouraged team bonding and motivation.
“Something that my dad told me when I was really young stuck with me throughout the years. He said, ‘Keep your employees happy and don’t manage with an iron first,’ ” recalls Caccavello. “I treat the entire staff like the professionals they are; however, I do let them know not to mistake my kindness for weakness.” This management style has benefited the company in many ways, including minimizing turnover and growing the company.
To maintain a fun and healthy work environment, Caccavello frequently takes everyone out to lunch and even brings in a masseuse for 20 to 30 minute massages (which happened on the day of the interview). For the 15 employees of Central Kitchen & Bath, Caccavello says investing in his employees is his No. 1 objective.
To help inspire the sales staff, Caccavello created incentive programs which have allowed him to exceed budget for the three years of the program’s existence. Based on monthly and yearly sales, Caccavello credits both individuals and the entire company for meeting or exceeding its goals. For designers (who are also the sales staff), if they sell $100,000 in a one-month period, they will receive a one hundred dollar bill, and the bonus goes up from there. As a company, if everyone’s total sales reach $300,000, the entire staff gets $100; $500,000 gets everyone $200.
“It was really neat to see how this program has increased team morale; everyone started helping each other out. If one person didn’t make their numbers, someone else was right there to help him or her out.”
In 2006, Caccavello decided to give the team the biggest incentive of all — a free trip for all employees plus a guest to the Carribbean. The goal was tough. As a company they had to increase their annual volume by 25 to 27 percent while still retaining profit margins. “I couldn’t believe it,” says Caccavello. “They reached our goal in July!” Needless to say, this past April, Caccavello sent out a mass e-mail to all of their vendors, builders and clients that Central Kitchen & Bath was closed for a week due to an all-staff Carribbean cruise. An added perk, Caccavello received many positive responses to his e-mail, which many times included, “Can I work for you?”
Although these programs cost quite a bit of money, Caccavello says he couldn’t put a price on the bond his company has formed.
In a competitive industry such as remodeling, owners must focus on how they can keep their employees happy and keep them from going to one of the many other firms in the area — one that might offer incentives such as these.