Employee Independence Key to Contractor’s Job Management Philosophy

Canada’s Brass Inc. strictly adheres to no micromanaging when it comes to overseeing its crews

Employee Independence Key to Contractor’s Job Management Philosophy

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Brass Inc. of Utica, Ontario, has a philosophy to describe what the company expects of its employees and what customers can expect of a Brass crew on a job.

Most of it is fundamental and falls into the category of having a good work ethic: Work hard. Show up on time. Bring a good attitude to work and maintain it. Be professional in conduct, dress and maintenance of your equipment. And then there’s this: No babysitting.

As Brass vice president Adam Riewald explains, it is about employees operating with a large degree of independence.

“We in the office aren’t going to do their job. They’re on their own,” he says.

For example, each hydroexcavation crew has a designated main operator and secondary operator, a self-contained team. It is expected to function day to day like an individual business. Team members look after one another through morning “tailboard talk” meetings, in which each day’s potential safety issues are addressed. They fuel and rudimentarily maintain their trucks — which, incidentally, are “their” trucks.

“Every team has its own dedicated truck and equipment. When team members go on holiday, the truck goes on holiday, too,” Riewald says.

Customers also benefit from this approach. They quickly understand that they have been assigned a team to personally look after their project.

“If you have a month-long project, we send the same crew out to it every day,” Riewald says. “We don’t switch trucks and crews. So a customer doesn’t have to explain every morning what they want. The crew already knows.”

Riewald believes that extending employees a measure of independence and personalizing projects reduces stress on employees and customers alike.

“At the end of the day, one of the biggest things we do at Brass Inc. is this no-babysitting rule. That’s the way we operate,” he says.

Read more about Brass Inc. in the November/December 2018 issue of Dig Different magazine.


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