We've gotten a lot of recognition for the quality of our building projects—and what we build is our core business—but being awarded Top Places to Work in Massachusetts for three consecutive years is by far our proudest achievement.
Putting Culture First, From the Beginning
Angus Beasley and I started our company, Adams + Beasley Associates, more than 15 years ago. Building was our passion, but first and foremost, we built our business around the company culture because we felt like that was the most important aspect for long term success.
We wanted to create a business and workplace that would attract and retain the best talent in our area. Being a general contractor, we don’t have many assets outside of our people.
We've fumbled our way through the last 15-plus years, but feel very proud to be where we are now where we have created that environment and atmosphere in that shared set of values and community inside our company where people are protective of it and celebrate it. Which, ultimately, is really what the Top Places to Work is all about. That’s a testament to everyone in the team.
Elements of Our Collective, Positive Feedback Loop Culture
1. Open Book Finances
We are an open book company financially. We encourage everyone to think and act like an owner because we feel that they make decisions that ultimately can fulfill two primary objectives: One is personal accomplishment and achievement. The other is collective accomplishment and achievement.
We do annual classes on financial literacy so that people who don't look at the books regularly can hopefully look at reports sent out, and that are available on our internal intranet, to understand the state of the company. How is this year looking? How did we do last year? A lot of that revolves around our profit share.
2. Profit Sharing
A subset of the company volunteered to participate in our annual profit sharing committee. Everyone likes to get a share of the profits. Through the collective accomplishments we all work on, we succeed.
Our sales and estimating team works tirelessly to make the most accurate and comprehensive estimate so that when our production team in the field has to manifest that plan, they're set up to succeed. And likewise, they work as hard as they can to accomplish the expectations and the waypoints set in the budget and planning process.
So if we can do those things really well consistently over the course of the year, then we end up with strong profitability that ultimately we share with everybody. Again, reinforcing people's desire to be working there, to participate, and work hard. It’s a positive feedback loop when done well.
We can't show up for work to be the productive, thoughtful, caring, supportive professionals that we are if we're not first taking care of ourselves and our families.
3. Flexible PTO
We just rolled out flexible PTO in January. Within reason, it allows people to take more control of their personal life. It’s one of the things that was intrinsic to our culture, although maybe less clearly articulated. COVID really cemented for us that it’s family first.
We can't show up for work to be the productive, thoughtful, caring, supportive professionals that we are if we're not first taking care of ourselves and our families. We felt like it was a real opportunity to showcase, to emphasize, putting one's health and well-being in front of the company in a way that we hadn't before.
4. Internal Celebration and Support
One of the things that was so impactful for me is for the first time at our holiday party, we handed out core value awards that were nominated by the team. The owners presented them, but they were decided by the group.
We presented one award for each of the values, and one of our construction managers was awarded. He came up to me afterwards and gave me a hug, and he said, “Eric, you guys changed my life and gave me a second chance.” When he started working for us 12 years ago, he went through some personal issues, and we gave him the freedom and flexibility to take care of himself.
It was just such an authentic embrace and just sharing this mutuality where we both come to work, we work hard, we try our best to be good people, we try our best to be compassionate, empathetic, and professional.
That's the glue that keeps us all together and it's the same thing that allows us to be profitable and to share the profits. It’s this positive feedback loop.
We’re not a company of problems. We say, “Don’t come to me with a problem, come to me with a solution.” It's almost a metaphor for the whole business: when you're in charge of coming up with your own solutions, in some ways, there's an underlying sentiment of resourcefulness and thoughtfulness because I think everyone genuinely feels like anything less than that wouldn't be doing their best to support the team.
Eric Adams started sweeping jobsites for his uncle when he was 11 and instantly became enthralled with construction. Between 2004 and today, he has grown from a sole proprietor and carpenter to a leader in a 70+ person award-winning construction company. Focusing on a values-based approach to business and leading with heart, he and his team have continuously exceeded their goals, and celebrate their collective successes together. He is currently the Chair of the Zoning Board and a member of the Planning Board in Carlisle MA, as well as the President of the Professional Remodelers Organization of New England.