Putting People First in Commercial Construction
with Jayne Fitzpatrick, Project Administrator
Commercial Construction is often depicted by large buildings, steel structures and industrial design. From a process delivery perspective, this is correct but the fundamental aspect is missing, and the critical factor that drives the success of large construction projects, is the people managing the process.
This is why, at Sarah Constructions, our number one business value is People First – our team, our clients, our contractors. As stated by CEO, Adrian Esplin “without people we are nothing, our business is purely about people. We don’t make products; through our team of experts we manage advance problem processing. We’re a business that consists of people who are highly motivated to achieve great outcomes for our clients.”
The terminology ‘people first’ is one frequently used in business but not always delivered in practice. The Sarah difference is that we follow through, this isn’t just something we say, it’s how we do business. Sarah has a reputation for setting high standards and this comes from our total commitment to people first in commercial construction, from the top down.
To find out more about what it means to work in a business where people come first, we asked Jayne Fitzpatrick, Project Administrator at Sarah Constructions.
Employing The Right People, Not Just The Right Skills
Without a background in construction, Jayne is not the typical project management candidate for a commercial construction company. Her background is in retail management, where Jayne crossed into project management working for Myer, managing the build process as the client representative.
“I really loved the project management experience and decided on a career change. Sarah looked beyond the traditional requirements; that’s the beauty of the management team here, they see individuals and consider their fit within the company from a big picture, cultural fit perspective” said Jayne.
With a people first in commercial construction focus, at Sarah we place an emphasis on the business fit of each individual within the organisation. Specialised construction skills are ones that can be learnt, for those willing and ambitious to do so. “I bring business administration skills, financial planning, organisation and people management to my role. At the beginning, what I didn’t have was the building knowledge but Adrian recognised my passion and drive to learn; this, combined with Sarah’s commitment to foster and grow their staff, provided the opportunity for me to prove myself” said Jayne.
With a wide range of professional development avenues, at Sarah we are committed to finding and supporting the people with the best all-round fit for our business.
People First In Commercial Construction, From Top To Bottom
Moving into the high pressure, fast paced commercial construction industry within a growing business, Jayne expected that it might take some time to get to know the Senior Management team. It therefore made a very positive impact on her that at Sarah, she walked into an open and friendly environment with no sign of an ‘ivory tower’ for staff at the top. “Even though there is so much going on, the Senior Managers take the time to know who you are and what you’re working on. This makes you feel special. The honesty and genuine interest in who I am flows into a business sense, it gives credibility and builds trust. From my perspective, this transfers to the client side where trust and a solid business relationships are absolutely critical.”
“I’ve been in business a long time, I’m at the stage in my career where cultural fit is very important to me. Some companies have values on a wall, I’ve not once felt that the Sarah values are tokenistic. The Senior Management team know who is working on what project, they make an effort to interact and know who you are. In the day to day business practice, they put people first. You feel a part of it, there is genuine interest in what you’re doing and this makes you feel valued for your contribution.” said Jayne.
This is reinforced by Adrian “it’s critical to the business that we get the right people. People who are focused on being part of something that’s bigger than themselves, part of the team that delivers positive business outcomes. Most people want to part of something more, a community, and as a business we provide that. We consciously foster the ability for our team to contribute and do something more than what they can as individuals. It’s all about people working together in teams and getting great outcomes for our clients.”
Two-way Relationships To Deliver Results
The advantage of putting emphasis on people first in commercial construction is that it builds the foundation for mutually beneficial business relationships. “Our focus is around making sure that the client is happy. We go beyond what is required, we bend over backwards to accommodate. This doesn’t mean that the client relationship is one way. We are transparent and build our business relationships based on trust. By making sure our clients are looked after, and that our contractors are looked after, we strengthen Sarah’s reputation as a leader in our industry” said Jayne.
Focusing on team contributions is an important aspect of how Sarah embodies the value of People First. The Sarah team includes both our staff and our contractors. “Our contractors represent us, so it’s very important to build our relationships with them. They represent Sarah at the cold front, so nurturing that relationship is a key factor in managing project delivery for our clients. We know that if everyone doesn’t pull their weight, then projects aren’t completed. We work through the challenges together and we celebrate our successes together; it’s not about individuals, it’s about the team.”
“As a whole nearly everybody that I have interacted with has that genuine desire to deliver results and to do it together” said Jayne.
Jayne sums up her experience working at Sarah within a People First approach by saying “I really feel like I have landed in the right spot at the right time in my life. There is not a day when I don’t want to go to work. I just enjoy the work and the team environment so much. There is genuine passion at Sarah, to build opportunities for people in our state. I’m proud to be even just a small part of that. I can see the direction the company is going and it’s great.”
At Sarah, People First means getting the right blend of people and experience. We look for people whose values and career goals align with the values and goals of the business. To deliver great outcomes for our clients, we support and nurture the people who are dedicated to working together, to achieve our business goals.