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Growing Leaders at Every Level

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Growing Leaders at Every Level

Developing world-class team members capable of driving Neumann Homes to its 2020 envisioned future of transforming the company into the undisputed No. 1 home builder in the world is an initiative that involves everyone in the organization.


By Heather McCune, Editor in Chief September 30, 2002
This article first appeared in the PB October 2002 issue of Pro Builder.
NHQ Silver
A NeuWay at Neumann Homes

Developing world-class team members capable of driving Neumann Homes to its 2020 envisioned future of transforming the company into the undisputed No. 1 home builder in the world is an initiative that involves everyone in the organization. Neumann's senior leadership team organized its human resources approach around the 10 factors that the newsletter The Motivational Manager identified for attracting and retaining the right people.

 

Neumann Homes invests $6,000 in training per team member. Part of that includes a cross-training program to prepare employees for advancement by having them do work outside their normal areas of responsibility for three to six months.

1. Open, honest communication and feedback on performance

  • Planned encounters weekly coaching sessions between a supervisor and direct reports provide an opportunity to discuss progress on quarterly goals. Quarterly growth reviews are formal performance reviews to ensure alignment between individual and company goals.
  • 360-degree feedback provides supervisors a candid, constructive and anonymous assessment regarding their performance. These reviews are conducted online and are specific to the competencies relevant for each job title.

2. Recognition and praise

  • Victories and accomplishments are reported at the beginning of every meeting as a way to recognize individual and/or team achievements.
  • "Gotcha" program encourages team members to award $5 certificates (used for company merchandise) to colleagues who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Awards are publicly presented, and many include cash bonuses.

3. Life balance

  • The core values card carried by all Neumann Homes team members includes a life-balance insert with five headings (family, spiritual, social/community, etc.) to help associates prioritize and maintain a healthy balance between professional and personal.
  • Neumann adjusted its requirement of 100 hours of classroom training per year to 60 hours.

4. Enjoying the nature of the work

  • A comprehensive hiring process involves three assessments (Individual Resource Analysis, Kolbe and Wonderlich) to determine an appropriate match of an individual's capabilities and interests to a position.
  • A chronological, in-depth, structured interview process helps the company recruit candidates through behavioral interviews, assessments and a detailed analysis of a candidate's experience and competence in required areas.

5. Quality of managers/leadership

  • Senior leadership is evaluated as part of Neumann's internal customer satisfaction survey and the annual Campbell Organizational Survey.
  • The No. 1 responsibility of every Neumann Homes leader is to develop people. The measure of each manager's success is whether he or she creates new leaders.

6. Educational opportunities

  • Neumann University offers 30 to 40 classes each quarter. By the end of the year, certification programs will be complete for every area of the business.
  • Quick Start Plans outline individual job responsibilities and experiences during a new team member's first 90 days of employment.
  • Cross-training programs prepare individuals for positions of greater responsibility. These involve working in roles outside an individual's normal scope of responsibility for three to six months as a means of rounding out knowledge and leadership skills.
  • In 2001 Neumann Homes training hours per employee averaged 86. The company's training investment totaled $6,000 per team member.

7. Job security

  • Neumann Homes' turnover for 2001 was 26%, significantly better than the industry average.
  • Last year 53% of the company's new hires resulted from referrals from existing team members.

8. Enjoyable co-workers

  • New team member orientation includes a buddy system a veteran helps acclimate a new hire by answering questions and sharing information about the company and the industry.
  • Social interaction among team members is encouraged through a variety of activities, including company-sponsored sports teams.

9. Opportunities for advancement

  • Neumann promoted 35 team members during 2001 (16%) and has already promoted 29 more in 2002.
  • Precisely defined job progressions for each department show team members that they can advance through training and job experience.

10. Reasonable compensation and benefits

  • Neumann conducts salary surveys annually to make sure its compensation is fair and equitable.
  • A team approach to compensation involves profit sharing paid out monthly based on overall company or divisional performance in profitability and customer satisfaction.

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