by Emily Langner
In the second episode of High-Profile’s Build Better podcast, HP’s publisher, Anastasia Barnes, welcomed Karrie Kratz, operations manager of Gilbane Building Company, to discuss the importance of investing in employees and placing them in positions where they can grow, be heard, and collaborate with other team members to deliver a successful project.
What started as a small carpentry business in 1873, Gilbane now currently oversees over 1,000 construction projects and has 45 offices worldwide. As a construction management company, Gilbane’s focus is on staffing and leading design and construction projects to completion. In other words, the “product” they are selling is their employees.
Because of this, Kratz and the team at Gilbane place the highest level of importance on nurturing their employees and helping them grow within the company. According to Kratz, they take the time and energy to connect with and understand their employees. The goal is to “create a culture where there’s a constant conversation about forward progress and planning for goals,” she says.
Kratz adds, “They’re looking for someone to lead them on their career path, to mentor them, to understand and communicate with them as a person and not just the job that they do,” and cites the differing mindsets of recent generations. She says employees have shifted into a more purpose-driven way of approaching their lives, and that includes their careers. People no longer approach their work as just a job, but as a big part of what fulfills and motivates them.
Kratz says, “Being a resource for your employees helps them discover what their path will be, and how best to get there to the advantage of themselves and the company.”
The rewarding part of Kratz’ job, she says, is to watch people grow and become leaders, just as she has done at Gilbane. Starting as an accounts payable clerk with the firm 19 years ago, she is proud of the journey she has taken and wants to be an inspiration to those she currently leads.
Kratz and Gilbane place a high level of importance on promoting internally, something they are very proud of. By putting the focus on their employees, Kratz concludes, “We work on the softer side of construction to develop the strongest leadership to provide the best outcomes to our clients..
The entire interview will be available for download and streaming starting March 5 at https://www.high-profile.com/build-better-podcast/.
Emily Langner is the associate editor of High-Profile Monthly.