It’s easy for a company’s leaders to say that employees are valued, but it’s the actions behind those words that really matter, and the proof is in how employees feel about their jobs and the organization where they work. At Kelley Construction, employees across the board agree that the company takes care of them as people and helps them do their best as professionals.
As one employee notes, “The leadership is invested in me and wants me to be successful which in turn is good for the organization as a whole, but also just makes me want to do better myself.”
Passion, commitment to quality, and getting the job done right are the guiding forces behind Kelley Construction and its culture. “A leader cannot dictate the culture of an organization,” explains Joe Kelley, president of the company. “The culture of the organization is driven by the people you hire.” For him, it’s important that employees embrace the Kelley approach and have a high sense of satisfaction in their job and the work they do.
“Nobody wants to come to work and feel they don’t make a difference,” he says. “Everybody here should feel like they matter and have a sense of purpose.”
In fact, a positive culture and open communication are common themes among the employees. “Everyone has a voice,” emphasizes one new associate. “There’s an open door dynamic and leadership is very approachable.” Another employee agrees with that sentiment completely. “I love that upper management is approachable and constantly striving to make Kelley better for their employees – I feel like an individual at Kelley instead of a number.”
Mark Kelley, vice president, adds that when employees enjoy their work and feel valued, they want to do a better job and that makes the difference in being good or being great at what you do. He calls it a gift that he’s still doing the work he loves, even as his role has changed over the years.
“Joe and I wore the tool belts before we led the company,” Mark says. “Our parents were instrumental in shaping our approach to work and instilling family values.” Those values are key factors in how employees are treated at Kelley Construction, and Joe and Mark work hard to create an environment in which employees have a good work/life balance.
“Family has to come first,” explains Joe, but he also adds that you should enjoy spending time with your colleagues, which he calls a secondary family. “Kelley is my home away from home,” says one employee. “My coworkers genuinely listen and care. I love that support and feel like I can go to anyone at any time.”
At Kelley Construction, they also foster a sense of family by fostering a sense of fun. Tiffany Kelley Jenkins, executive vice president of the company’s Commercial, Healthcare and Food Service division, says employees get together throughout the year to take a break from the regular workday. Holiday parties, picnics, and other family-style events are all part of the Kelley experience and, notes one employee, “adding a little fun to the mix makes it even more enjoyable to work at Kelley.”
Mark says it’s also important for the company to support employees throughout their career. “No one is an expert right off the bat,” he says. “It takes years to hone the skills you need in construction, but if you mentor employees and help them develop their skills, you help build the confidence they need to succeed.”
Highly skilled employees are the keys to the company’s success, which boasts an impressive repeat business rate of 80%. In fact, every employee is the face of the company, and that talent and commitment is apparent at every level. One employee sums it up by saying, “We are a dedicated bunch that works hard, and the best part is we all understand that and work together for success.”
Mark and Joe both feel that the most important requirement for a Kelley Construction employee is to start with a high level of interest in the industry. You can train the right people, but you can’t train someone who may have the talent but not the drive to care about doing the best job they can on every project they’re involved with.
As one employee puts it, “I would definitely recommend Kelley as an employer, but only to the right someone.” She says the company “is built with unique and talented employees,” and she wants to keep it that way. For people considering a job at Kelley Construction, another manager says simply, “Want to be proud of what you do and who you work for? Come to Kelley.”
“We choose people who choose construction,” emphasizes Joe. “We want people who are passionate about construction, who understand it and are proud to be part of the industry.”