Q: How do you attract and keep a workforce together in this trying environment?

A: Our workforce is split into two groups: external and internal. External are the subcontractors, vendors, lenders, designers, engineers and others that make the project come together. The internal group is the employees of Quail Homes.

There is commonality in both groups. They want predictability. When work is performed they want to get fair pay and paid timely. Period. When this breaks down you cannot keep a workforce together.

You get what you pay for — fair pay is extremely important. If you pay too much, people get sloppy. If you pay too little they will look for work elsewhere. I do not believe that low bid is sustainable. We want our workforce to be around for the long haul. (Warranty responsibility in the State of Washington can go up to 6 years on a home). Low bidders will not be there when you need them.

Paying on time is critical. Both groups need their money. It is part of our culture to pay timely. All trust breaks down when pay is not delivered. Both myself and our internal team will go the extra mile to make this happen.

I believe people need to be able to believe in something bigger than them. Work can be rewarding both from a financial standpoint and in self-development. As people learn they grow. A strong learning environment goes a long ways. I find the internal group is easier to develop than the external one. Internally I have their ear most of the time, the external group not so.

Next week I will discuss more about what we do to attract and keep the external group.

I also enjoy reading the paper daily. Thank you for doing so.

Please submit questions to jon@quailhomes.com Jon can be reached direct at 360.907.5800. Tune into Green Building with Jon Girod on 1550 a.m. on Saturdays at 9 am. See you next week!