Maintain Continuity with your Foremen

By Phil Benevides on Contractor Advice

Continuity Binders prepare your crew’s leaders to be effective Foremen

Investing in your employees is an important part of growing your business but finding and holding on to the right crew can take time, effort, and most likely you’ll have employees come and go more than you’ll have them stay. So to ensure you can quickly train and arm your foremen with the resources they need to be effective I like to develop a basic training resource called a continuity binder.

This document does not take the place of your mentorship, guidance, or direction as a leader of your company but helps ensure your foremen have a resource to fall back on when you are not available. Also, a resource like this can help build autonomy for your leads so you can focus on the tasks and responsibilities that only YOU can take care of. This method is a great way to maintain continuity with your foremen, whether they are new to your company or a trusted partner.

 stack of full ring binder files

What is a Continuity Binder?

I like to define this item as a combination of a how to manual, daily planner, and resource library for key positions in your company. The how to section can lay out expectations for common tasks, like how to make purchases for specific jobs and appropriately process the paperwork. The daily planner portion can have a calendar of reoccurring events like meetings, payroll, and training. And finally the resource library portion, maintains items like sub-contractor contacts, important numbers for clients, and copies of permits, licenses, etc.

Ultimately you can cater your resource binders to include what you need to help maximize training and employee productivity. If you can supplement on the job training with a document like this you can help avoid mistakes early, reduce the amount of time you must train new employees, and minimize the sting of losing an employee you’ve already fully trained.

 Organizing Contacts

How do you use a Continuity Binder

As I mentioned previously this resource acts as a training manual for new employees and also can be a working folder for them after the initial introduction to the binder.

Place company policy and contracts in the binder at the beginning and have your employee sign those documents and maintain copies in the binder. This ritual demonstrates to the employee this is an important item in your business.

Train your employee and direct them to resources in the binder. To use my earlier example, while at the lumber yard show them the appropriate purchasing steps you want them to take, have them review the supporting documents in the binder after you show them.

This not only helps solidify the training you just gave them, but made them aware that they can reach into this binder to find the steps to accurately make purchases if they forget the next time they find themselves making a purchase. Additionally, by utilizing different teaching strategies you cater to the visual, auditory, and tactile learners.

 Tradesman welcoming a new recruit

Benefits of the Continuity Binder

The amount of time and effort it takes to create a product like the one I’m describing is definitely an investment, but if you find yourself repeating the training process over and over, the upfront investment will save you time with each new employee and can accelerate the aptitude of each new employee reducing the “new guy” learning curve we all have to deal with.

The Continuity Binder by no means ensures success, but I strongly believe it can prevent failure. So as you hunt for the right employees and they search for you, consider indoctrinating your employees with this strategy, it not only will make you more organized and effective, it can attract the right employees to your business.

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About the author

Phil Benevides

Carpenter / Assistant Editor

Phil is a 28-year old Air Force Veteran who decided to transform his passion for construction and home improvement into a career. Inspired by his Grandfather who built his home from the ground up with his bare hands in Portugal, he received his formal training in Carpentry at the North Bennett Street School in Boston, MA.Phil continues to grow his skills as a carpenter and leader, while exploring new products, methods, and tools!

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