You can’t guarantee that an employee will stay with your company. People inevitably will leave. You’re better off taking the risk to train staff than not to train them because you’re worried about losing them. To use a baseball analogy: If you have players on first and second with no outs, you bunt and sacrifice the out to advance the other runners into scoring position. A bunt gives you a higher probability that your team will score a run. Like bunting, training gives us the greatest likelihood of success.

At Mark IV Builders, when a new field employee comes onboard, our superintendent uses our 13-page training manual as a guide to train them on our policies and procedures. It includes the change order process, phone call procedures, subcontractor chain of command, safety matters, and information about resolving conflicts. We recently updated it to include lead rules and regulations as well as abatement procedures as well.

It’s not just a matter of reading the manual. If there’s a job with a change order, the new hire will fill out the paperwork with his training partner, or we’ll ask him to create a dummy change order. It takes the super a few weeks to review the manual with the new hire, and both of them sign a document confirming that they’ve done so. The employee views that superintendent as their mentor. Once the new hire starts working independently, if he has a question, he will call the person who trained him before he calls me, which frees my time and helps develop a sense of team.

Andy Hannan is production manager of Mark IV Builders, in Bethesda, Md.