In today’s construction world, there are plenty of jobs to be had. Considering how many companies there are in our industry — and how much work there currently is due to the strong economy — it’s up to us as business owners to attract the top talent to our companies instead of our competitors. At Hughes Brothers Construction, we think it all starts with developing and maintaining a strong company culture.
Many of the people we bring in from outside the company already know someone who is part of the Hughes Brothers work family. They already know it’s a great place to work. They know that Justin and I are extremely involved with the business. It’s impossible to overstate how important our company culture is to us — the vibe we have on our job sites and in our offices every day is something we take an enormous amount of pride in.
Simply put, Hughes Brothers is a company that’s set up for opportunity. We have a ton of young, energetic people working here, at all levels. We’ve brought in plenty of 18-year-olds to work as laborers, who didn’t know the first thing about our industry. Within just a year or two, some of those young people are now running GPS bulldozers. Even on the higher levels, most of our management and ownership team is between 26 and 38 years old. Chad is 34, Justin is 36, our operations manager is 37, our office manager is 34 — long story short, we’ll never be that company that’s stuck in its old, outdated ways.
When we get a new hire walking in the door, we want to encourage them to learn as much as they can. We even have opportunities to come in on Saturdays and learn the ropes. For instance, if we have a haul truck driver that has potential on a bulldozer, it can be hard to get him seat time in a dozer during the course of our typical daily operations.
However, if that driver comes in on a Saturday when everything is slowed down a bit, they can get their feet wet, and get familiar with the iron. They still get paid for the work, of course, but we have more time to work with them if they show interest. If someone wants to try operating a dozer, our superintendents are really good at getting them some seat time. We place a high priority on promoting from within, and giving our people every opportunity to learn new skills and advance their careers.
We operate in a similar fashion with our project managers. We’ll start our entry-level candidates in a project coordinator or assistant project manager role. They work under our PMs, shadowing them until they’re ready to take on their own projects. When we hire these young people, they’re on fire. They’re hungry, and that’s an attribute we want to see from everyone on our teams, whether they’re just getting started at Hughes Brothers, or whether they’ve been with us for years.