It takes more than a little lightning to put the brakes on teamwork at Paul Davis Restoration. The franchise’s Auburn, Ohio, location hosts company gatherings at least twice a year with all its staff and trade partners.

“For the most part, our trades are independent contractors or other small businesses, and it’s important for us to make sure they’re understanding what we expect when it comes to customer service, safety, and other elements of how Paul Davis Restoration operates,” says franchise owner Jeff Suszynski.

Even with a pending thunderstorm, dozens of trade partners attended the East Cleveland branch’s training event in July. Held at least twice a year, the friendly training sessions kick off with a picnic lunch and wrap up with recognition for the Tradesman of the Month, or Tradesman of the Year at the winter meeting.

“We recognize that our businesses are nothing without quality trades who care about the customers,” Suszynski says, “so we really make sure we’re finding good people in the first place. Once they’re on board, we want to take these opportunities to convey that they’re doing a good job and make sure they’re enjoying themselves as part of our team.”

Paul Davis Restoration doesn’t require trade partners to attend the meetings, but has recently taken the step of videotaping training sessions and awards so crews not in attendance can still get the take-home message. Suszynski says that his training topics are often sparked by articles in trade magazines and business industry newsletters, or updates from the Paul Davis corporate office.

“The key to making training really valuable is to hold a separate event,” Suszynski says. “You can talk with guys at lunch during work, but it’s so different from setting aside a specific meeting. That’s when it gains importance, and tying it in with a fun event and involving everyone makes it enjoyable.”

—Lauren Hunter, associate editor, REMODELING.