Employee Values

Growth for growth’s sake will sink a remodeler unprepared for the turbulence that lies ahead.

November 30, 2000

Growth for growth’s sake will sink a remodeler unprepared for the turbulence that lies ahead. Complex issues, many unknown at present, will call into question the values that have helped bring the company to its current level of success.

Remodeling Designs Inc., Dayton, Ohio, has recognized this danger and prepared for it. The 1999 NRQ Award winner has a growth charter that outlines its core values. "These are the things that must not change, no matter how much growth we experience," it reads. President Michael Cordonnier, CR, knows that sustaining those values through growth depends on employees who believe in it as strongly as the owners do. Although the company has many programs in place to support its values, employee performance must reflect those values every day. RDI’s employee reviews measure performance against its values.

"Reviews tie back to our core mission statement: Keep clients satisfied," Cordonnier says. "Our growth and success depends on demanding the best in everybody. The effective review forces the employees to think about themselves and how they can do better."

Employees receive a questionnaire about a week before the scheduled review. Cordonnier fills out the same questionnaire, and the meeting becomes a discussion about how both the company and employee can improve. One question asks for the greatest challenge the employee faces in creating quality work. Although this can be used to point out areas of personal improvement, other times the discussion leads to changes in the way the company operates. "That [question] has generated a to-do list for me," Cordonnier says.

RDI also asks for the employee’s greatest success and greatest failure over the past year. Again, Cordonnier intends for the discussion to show where both can improve. "When you have to think back over the year, the question we ask is how are we going to improve so you don’t fail," he says.

Following up on that, the questionnaire points to the next year. "We ask for some goals: What would you like to improve on?" Cordonnier says. "They are giving me ways to benchmark [performance, giving me] something to measure."

Central to the company’s values is the Golden Rule. That is so ingrained in the RDI culture that the company’s attempt to institute a bonus system was rejected by the employees. "We looked at a bonus system, but everybody agreed that they’re not going to do anything different if money’s on the line or not," Cordonnier says. "They all agreed that [customer satisfaction demands] whatever it takes." With employees who take its core values seriously, RDI’s charter for growth should guide it successfully.

Be sure to read RDI’s growth charter and see how they have implemented the Golden Rule.

Cordonnier can be reached at remdes@remodelingdesigns.com, or (937) 438-0031.

For an application for the National Remodeling Quality Award competition, call (800) 638-8556, Ext. 6225 or fax your request to (301) 430-6180.

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