Work culture has become a popular topic among many fabricators these days, so it was not surprising the subject surfaced during a business management/marketing breakout group at the Stone Summit, held in October at EleMar New England Marble & Granite’s facility in New Haven, CT. The consensus was that, overall, employees thrive in a nurturing work environment where they are respected and there is open communication -- and happy employees will lead to equally happy customers.

“The most important part of your company is your employees because they take care of your customers,” presenter Tony Malisani of Malisani Inc. in Great Falls, MT told the group. “You want to build a family culture.”

At the root, it starts with who you hire. “You really need to focus on who you want,” said Malisani. “Do you want a 16- or 17-year-old with no experience?”

One creative way to hire a new employee is through a company’s social media platforms. “Post projects on social media and put a tagline saying, ‘We’re hiring,’” Malisani suggested.

Malisani also emphasized the importance of performance reviews. They are not only to critique the employee, but to allow the employee to give feedback too. “Everyone [at our company] gets a form in their paycheck twice a year,” said Malisani. “Either their manager or I personally gives the review. The employee can also give feedback on management.

“Ask how they want to advance or what is wrong with the company,” said Malisani. “Make a personal connection with them. Ask, ‘How can I more clearly communicate with you?’ They will help you run your company.