Boss Leader

Treat employees like they make a difference and they will.

Hope all of you had a great 2017 season! It feels like I was just writing the Spring season kick off a few weeks ago … Time flies when you’re having fun (I heard)!? For some of you, the maintenance season has come to an end and you’re switching gears and preparing for snow & ice services. Some of the lucky ones on here don’t have any idea what snow is! I think the reoccurring theme as I talked with many of you throughout the year always comes back to the one real struggle, PEOPLE. Equipment can be bought and replaced, accounts can be lost and replaced with hard work, but the one challenge all of us face, regardless of size, is staffing. How do I get people? How do I train people? How do I keep people? With this, is also how do I get them to carry out the message as you, the owner or manager, want, and when they don’t do this based on your standards what do you do about it? I can’t fire them because then what will I do? The key word here is THEY. THEY won’t do this, THEY won’t do that, THEY won’t wear the uniform, THEY, THEY, THEY. I have to ask you why? Why won’t THEY? Is your message not clear?

Look in the mirror, it’s YOU!

YOU are responsible for the culture.

Here are just a few ideas among hundreds that I think can help:

  1. Clearly define and communicate your vision.
  2. Coach for success and practice random acts of kindness.
  3. Get everyone engaged and listen to their feedback.
  4. Be firm, but fair. Treat people with respect and build trust.
  5. Create incentive programs that share in the success.


Now, I must admit that even writing this I feel a little like a hypocrite. Because even though I know how crucial these things are, and while we are approaching close to 200 employees, we still struggle with these things on a daily basis. Staff recruiting and retention is a top priority as we continue to build our team and company. And I assure you that if you don’t build these foundations now, it will be a brutal uphill battle down the road.

And lastly, make sure you take some time to look after your equipment. Safe and efficient equipment is also a crucial part in building a great company for the future. You can’t expect them to show up to a dirty truck, with unmaintained equipment, and truly care about the quality of the work they perform. It all matters.


“Treat employees like they make a difference and they will.”


Kory Ballard – President


Ballard Inc.