By Melissa Smith and Lorraine Grubbs
This month’s article in the series about GIC’s Culture of Commitment is our tenth and focuses on General Insulation’s “Commitment to the New Hire”. You’ll read stories of employees receiving heartwarming welcomes and others who underwent “trial by fire”. In all cases, they stayed because GIC’s family approach made them feel valued and supported.
The first week at a new job should be a good experience. It’s where employee loyalty begins. A good experience doesn’t mean everything has to go perfectly, but it does mean the employee should have the resources and support necessary to succeed. When employees feel welcomed and supported, it gives them the feeling they chose the right company to work for. The link below leads to an article from Hallmark and contains tips on how to onboard employees:
General Insulation appreciates its new hires. It’s about the welcome and providing them with the resources they need to learn. A personal visit, phone call or email from the leader and immediate access to the new GIC Academy will let employees know they are valued. It starts from the top. Many long-term employees tell stories about CEO Frank Granara and how he welcomed them with a phone call, handshake or card. As the company has grown, that responsibility trickled down to the Vice Presidents and leaders of GIC, but Frank still makes it a point to shake hands when the opportunity arises.
President & CEO
GIC culture fit is critical to any new hire
It’s important to know what makes a good hire. Our employees are family and we want to make sure our family remains strong. We look for employees who possess initiative, willingness to be a team player and the ability to fit into our culture. I have always believed that if a new hire has a good attitude and works hard, they will get opportunities to advance. We have many examples of people who have done just that and you will read about them in this article.
Our employees refer many of new hires. It’s a great way for us to get new employees since typically, people recommend only the best. We must continue to dig deep to find the right people to help our company continue to grow. We need to be more aggressive about actively looking for candidates, especially in today’s low 3.9% unemployment market.
In the event we lose a valuable employee, we need to stay in touch. You never know when circumstances change and they might return. You read about two individuals that did just that in last month’s article, “Commitment to Sales”.
Remember, when it comes to hiring, we’re all recruiters. Every person at GIC should be on the lookout for potential employees. By doing that, we will continue to grow, be successful and maintain our family environment.
Tori Browne: Director of Human Resources & Kelly Nessralla: HR Assistant
We try to be the information hub for all new hires. We want the new hire to feel welcome.
One of the most important things we do in HR is strive to make our new hires feel welcome. We want them to know they are joining our family and we want to ensure they understand that HR is a resource to them for “all things General Insulation”. If we don’t have the answer, we are always happy to connect them with the person who does.
Logistically, when a new hire is entered into the system, they receive a login to the My GIC portal. This site has vital information from HR, Frank Granara, and different resources to keep employees up to date with company communication. I personally love to log in and read Frank’s weekly 5-15 communication to the company as well as see pictures of employees at branches and on job sites. It allows employees to “meet” one another throughout our system. This helps put a name to a face when talking on the phone with someone you haven’t met. MY GIC portal connects us as a community and a GIC team, despite the distance that separates us.
As soon as we get the notice from their manager that they have accepted our offer of employment, we put together an email welcoming them. In the body of the email, we explain our payroll system and our benefits and direct them to the training portal for the GIC Academy, whereas a new hire they will get the proper training.
Our goal is to have this communication in their hands before their first day and certainly no more than their first week at GIC. We include our phone numbers and encourage them to contact us with questions. Many do. It can be confusing maneuvering through all the paperwork, logins, etc. and since we can’t be there in person to help them, by encouraging them to call us, we have an opportunity to “meet” them over the phone and establish a relationship that will allow us to continue to be a resource down the road.
Recruiting is the lifeblood of a company and at GIC we want to make sure we hire the best. We developed an Employee Referral Program that rewards our employees with a $500 gift card when their referral gets hired and successfully completes six months of employment. If the new hire completes one year, the referring employee will receive an additional $500 gift card.
We strive to streamline our HR processes. We are currently working on an improved new hire welcome letter, getting new hires onboard electronically and creating a 90-day check-in for new hires. This will only improve the new hire experience and give them a positive connection to “all things GIC”.
I was hired 8 months ago and the new hire experience is still fresh in my mind. On my first day my boss, Tori, brought me a plant and a gift card and introduced me to all my fellow coworkers. People were nice and I felt really welcomed. It’s the best new hire experience I’ve ever had. Having recently walked in their shoes, I try my best to make sure the new hires at GIC have a seamless experience.
Looking into the future, as we continue growing, the HR department has our work cut out for us. As we transition the new hire to a more online experience, our challenge will be to continue to offer “high touch” resources; i.e. Kelly and I on the phone. While the General Managers introduce them to our culture and help them with their initial training, we want them to know we are the resource for “all things General Insulation” and we welcome their suggestions on any improvements.
Vice President, 28 Years with GIC
Whatever It Takes
My “new hire” story is not about when I first started working with General, rather when I moved back to Texas with GIC. After working as a mechanical contractor in the northeast for several years, in 1990 I was given the opportunity to open a new GIC branch in Dallas. I jumped at the chance because it would allow me to move back to my home state. As a newly promoted GM, my “new hire” experience is one I’ll never forget. I flew to Dallas and met my boss Larry Murphy at our newly leased 14,000’ warehouse.
“Hey, Mark, welcome to your new warehouse!” said Larry, “Are you ready to get to work? We’ve got 14 truckloads of supplies being delivered over the next few days and it’s just you and me.”
I looked around for a forklift, ladders, and pallets, basically, any equipment we could use to unload the product and all I saw were gloves and a couple of dollies. The warehouse was empty – no racks, shelving, supplies – completely empty.
As the first truck pulled up, Larry and I began to unload. We stacked box after box. My assigned role was to create “stairs” made of more boxes that we could climb in order to stack things higher. Larry assigned me to be the climber since I was smaller than him. After three looong days, the warehouse was stocked.
28 years later as I think back to my first day as a GM I realize it was a “ trial by fire” experience. I demonstrated the “can do” attitude that we look for in our new hires. This is what’s kept GIC at the top of our game for so many years.
My son Gorden was hired seven years ago and is now a Regional Weatherization Sales Manager. If you ask him, I’ll bet he would have some “trial by fire” experiences too, but he’s as glad to be here as I am and I’m proud to have contributed a new generation to GIC.
I feel new hires are critical to our future. They bring in new blood and energy. Our challenge as leaders will be staying in touch with the new hire and making sure we continue to support them both at the beginning and throughout their career.
I think our HR department does a great job of getting the information out. With the addition of the newly launched GIC Academy, the new hires have much-needed courses at their fingertips to help them learn their jobs.
Vice President, 25 ½ years with GIC
Hire for Attitude
Leaders should make a real effort to get to know their new hires. I make it my personal mission to welcome them on board and share my experience with GIC, starting from my own new hire experience in the warehouse, to my eventual path to VP. I explain that if they work hard, they will find opportunities to grow their career at GIC.
Our challenge as a company is attracting quality applicants. With the economy doing well, the unemployment rate is low and we find ourselves struggling to find enough qualified applicants for the positions we have open. I have long admired Frank Granara, who always has his recruiting hat on. Through the years he has brought many new hires to the company that he met in the community. I think all of us at GIC should follow that example and always be on the lookout for the perfect fit.
My own experience as a new hire GM in Atlanta, much like Mark’s, was when we opened up the Atlanta branch. Larry Murphy, my boss, met me and informed me that I needed to go rent a truck, then drive over to pick up our newly purchased office furniture. At 22 years old I had never driven one of those trucks, but I wasn’t going to admit it, so off I went. Backing out of the furniture store parking lot with a load full of office furniture, I backed into the dumpster. I quickly corrected my path and took my load to our new warehouse. I never said a word about hitting the dumpster to Larry.
I proceeded to unload and set up the furniture and then was instructed by Larry to set up the inventory in the warehouse. “I’ll be right there”, Larry said, as truckload after truckload of product was delivered and set up with no Larry in sight.
25 years later I figure it was Larry’s way of testing me. Like Mark said, we had no forklifts, and we had to unload everything by hand. I never complained, and looking back on it, I guess it’s an example of passing the test of “hire for attitude”.
My son Wesley worked in the warehouse at GIC during high school and has been working as our Inside Sales Rep in the Atlanta branch for about 2 ½ years. I’m proud that I can pass the legacy of this great company onto him.
Outside Sales Rep Pittsburgh, 7 months with GIC
The Take Charge New Hire
Nikki at 3M Training
I found out about GIC through a friend who encouraged me to apply. I applied and got an interview. Sean Stayduhar, Eugene Casterline, and Mike Benoit made me feel very comfortable during that interview. Their down-to-earth approach convinced me that I was joining a true family. I had read a lot about GIC and their family values on their website and meeting the leaders in my interview validated that. Since family is the most important thing for me, having a company with those values seemed like the right fit.
My new hire experience was challenging, through no fault of GIC’s. I was hired just before the Christmas holidays. Many people were on vacation and employees filling in for them were overloaded. As a salesperson I would usually have gone out to meet the local contractors and had vendors come in to train me on their products, but it was hard to get anything done due to the holidays.
Being a “take charge” person, I spent the first month studying as much as I could about our products through the new GIC Academy and our catalogs. I also took advantage of that time to build relationships with my branch coworkers. My GM Sean Stayduhar deserves an award for being so patient. I would ask him question after question and he never made me feel like I was a bother.
On April 1st of this year, the sales team was realigned and Melissa Smith and Pete Corriveau started working with our team. One of the first questions they asked was what they could do for me. I asked for more hands-on knowledge of our products and application techniques. They heard me and I was immediately sent to our Cleveland branch to work with Charlene Edquist to better understand order taking from the inside sales role. On my next trip I went to Minnesota to learn about fire stop in a 3M training class. My last trip was to Chicago to ride along on sales calls with fire reps Nick and Tony. It was a real learning experience as we called on high-rise building contractors. Melissa is currently giving me the opportunity to attend an air and vapor training in Manhattan. I appreciate Melissa and Pete giving me these learning opportunities.
Building relationships was the easy part of my new hire experience. The people at GIC are warm, welcoming and eager to help. Learning the products was a lot tougher, but the GIC Academy helped tremendously. The videos showing product application and the explanation of the terminology were very useful. I remember finishing the Academy training then going out into the warehouse and was excited to see how it all made sense.
I’m having fun. GIC’s been a breath of fresh air. Coming from a company that wasn’t a team environment and didn’t support and invest in their employees, it feels great to be part of this winning team.
Vice President, 25 Years with GIC
I’m available for anything the new hire needs
I interviewed with Scott Campbell on a Friday and started at GIC the following Monday. I was hired as the Operations Manager in Somerville (the Church) to replace Mike Benoit who was transitioning to outside sales.
Mike intended to train me for several weeks, but I lost him after the first week when he went on the road to make sales calls. I was sent to the basement of the church where there was a library of catalogs and books. I immersed myself. I read, studied and asked lots of questions. Though it was not how I intended to spend my first few weeks, I had a great support group: Scott, Mike, and Gerry Towle. If I needed anything, they were there.
I’ve always felt that we needed a consistent new hire-training program and was excited when Frank Costa launched the GIC Academy. He did a great job with it and it’s making a big difference in our new hires’ learning curve.
It’s hard for me to personally meet each and every new hire within their first month, but I make a point of reaching out to them by email and phone call to let them know I’m available to answer any question.
Operations Manager, Hayward CA Branch, 2 years with GIC
We hire good people; we keep family
I found out about GIC through a mobile job search app. Noting that it was a Private, family-owned business based in Boston, home of my alma mater BU, I was intrigued and applied for the job located in Hayward, CA. I went online to research GIC, but found the available information lacking, apart from the GIC website. Today, thanks to Doug Crimi and Nikki Sirignano’s efforts, new hires can find out more about GIC through various sources:
this company cares for its employees and treats them as family. I came to the interview “suited up” in a blue suit and red tie with matching red socks – a fortuitous decision as it turned out, as after I was hired I heard Boston transplant Nick commented that, “He was even wearing Boston Red socks!”
At the end of my interview, we discussed my previous operational experience. I am all about streamlining, overhauling, and implementing processes and procedures as these return efficiencies and cost reductions that allow for a greater output volume from the same amount of input effort.
I look forward to contributing my analytical and process improvement skills at GIC. I am excited for the future of GIC and am happy to be a part of this growing family.
Reading these stories, you can see the family atmosphere that drives the new hire experience at GIC. Mark and Ed’s stories reinforce that when you believe in your company, you’re only too happy to “pass the torch” to the next generation. Frank Granara sets the example when he says, “we’re all recruiters”. He has been identifying new hires in the community from the start. Great employees are the lifeblood of any company’s future growth, and with the mindset at GIC, the commitment to the new hire will remain strong.