"People can tell me whatever they think I want to hear when I'm interviewing them," says David Heaney, president of Rockland Architecture and Rockland Builders of Newport, Del.
That's why Heaney uses personality profiles for anyone who interviews for a job with his high-end remodeling firm. Six years ago, he started using the DISC Profile after a business consultant recommended it to him. The test uses a series of 28 questions to determine personality types (DISC stands for Dominance, Interpersonal, Steadiness and Conscientiousness).
"This is one of the most useful tools we use in the entire company," Heaney says. "It's made a tremendous difference in hiring people."
Every position in the company has a specific personality profile assigned to it. For example, salespeople need to either be a strong "I-D" or "I-S," depending on the type of sales. Those who would do cold-calls need to be a strong "D" to deal with constant rejection, while being a strong "S" is better to make sure a customer is completely happy.
"People can change on a temporary basis, but in the long-term they're going to be true to their personality," Heaney says.
Success through consistency
Growing the company while maintaining quality is one of the biggest challenges remodelers face.
For Gary Moffie, that problem prompted him to create a Standard Operating Procedures manual when he decided to expand The Remodeling Co. in Berenly, Mass. He had started out with just himself and a field worker, but as the company’s reputation grew, he needed to add more employees. And he quickly discovered they had different ways of doing things.
"I didn’t want to micromanage the guys in the field, but I wanted the work to be consistent," Moffie says.
The manual covers techniques, such as how to install decking with mitered corners. It also covers management issues, such as how to fill out and submit time cards.
The manual is constantly updated, with 10 to 12 items added a year. For example, last year the company updated the manual to include digital photos of all interior walls before they are insulated to keep a visual record of where plumbing and HVAC are located.
New procedures come from a number of sources, including situations in the field, new laws or regulations, or something other successful companies are doing. Involving the employees in the process is the key to success, Moffie says.
"A lot of it comes from them," he says. "The project supers and the guys in the field all know that this is designed to make their lives easier."
Selling the experience
The business coaches the company was working with told owners Troy Fenley and Chris Neumann to think more about the experience they offered their customers than the projects. That led to the company’s new tagline: "Stay where you are. Have the home of your dreams."
"There are a lot of post-war era homes on decent-size lots here, and people want to stay in their neighborhoods and their schools and keep their short commutes," Fenley says.
So far, they’ve had a positive response to the first round of postcards that went out around Thanksgiving. A second batch went out in January, along with local magazine advertising and a rebranding of the company’s Web site.