Our company culture starts with our hiring process. When we interview field crew, we show them our First Responsibilities sheet that explains what the employee’s top priorities are: the company, the client, and our ethics. It’s the beginning of how we create our company culture.

I also note the applicant’s body language and eye contact. These tell a lot about how a person will act in front of a client. If, after the first interview, we consider hiring the applicant, I ask that he or she meet with one of our superintendents in the field so they can explain more about the position. The super and other field employees will then give feedback on the applicant.

Once hired, the new employee signs the First Responsibilities sheet as well as the employee manual. The manual goes into detail about how to dress, communication and conduct, as well as more practical items such as sick leave, payroll, and time sheets.

I tell employees that we are a part of the client’s family during the construction phase. We give our field employees as much leeway as we can to take care of clients and to use their own judgment in helping with groceries, pets, etc. However, for detailed questions about the project, we want to maintain one point of contact, so we ask that carpenters and laborers take all those questions to the superintendent. This ensures that the super has all the necessary information to do the job correctly.

It’s been a tough few years, and we know stress can at times make us inattentive with clients. At our weekly production meetings, we discuss all our projects and how we can improve customer service.

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