Supporting Our People and Their Growth

Many leaders of successful companies will tell you that “people are a company’s most important asset” and that rings true for Nunn Construction. One of Nunn’s core values is a growth mindset: “continually educating ourselves and implementing better ways to build and do business.”

Identifying Roadblocks to Career Growth

Growth and mentorship are the keys to success when seeking to develop a career path. However, many well-meaning programs struggle to gain traction, long-term consistency, or adoption company wide. While Nunn Construction had a formal performance review process, staff often wished they had more consistent mentorship opportunities. They also reported that an annual check-in on their long-term goals wasn’t frequent enough to make progress on them when combined with keeping up with their day-to-day tasks. Nunn also attempted to add a mentorship program for more support, but in busier seasons it was easy for the well-intentioned meetings to stop happening or be inconsistent in their scheduling.

After connecting with other business leaders, these challenges were not isolated to our company only, but we found a key element involved having a more structured career development program that included supportive feedback on a recurring schedule that everyone could adhere to. In June of 2020, President Tyson Nunn with Strategic Growth Manager Rachel Ribich’s help set out to create a career development program that embodied our values, and they revamped our entire annual performance review process to include a self-evaluation component with consistent times for review along with supportive resources and trainings. The aim was that these new elements along with personal accountability and goal setting would help ensure better long-term adoption as well as providing a sense of success for staff, reinforce culture, and increase retention.

Creating a Program that Builds Confidence

By January 2021, our initial new program rolled out and over the next two years employees met three times annually with their supervisors through two self-evaluations and a performance review which helped staff set and achieve short-term and long-range goals and identify what trainings or resources would help each person achieve their goals. Tyson explains, “Nunn’s Career Development Program gives our people structure to create tailored goals, helping individuals meet their personal career objectives. It’s important to me that we provide the training and resources for our team to grow and be successful.” Moving our supervisors from an annual evaluator role to a more supportive mentor role created an environment that removed blocks some staff can feel when trying to be open about areas they need extra support or training in. Evaluation topics are not solely focused on traditional “professional” topics, but also touch on teamwork, communication, community involvement and personal development and health.

Moving our supervisors from an annual evaluator role to a more supportive mentor role created an environment that removed blocks some staff can feel when trying to be open about areas they need extra support or training in.

Ryan Reed, who started with Nunn as a carpenter before advancing to foreman and then Assistant Superintendent initially found that transition difficult when moving into a supervisory role with limited previous management experience. Through the career development program, he explains, “My mentor has helped connect me with training resources I didn’t even know existed. These have been massively helpful in guiding me to be the best superintendent I can be.” Now, through trainings and support he’s received as part of the program, he feels more confident in leading larger complex projects knowing that he can bring questions or logistical challenges to his mentor, General Superintendent Jason Boring, and work through them together. Jason notes, “With all the trainings and certifications that our Superintendents need to stay up to date on, having these regular check-ins really helps us keep our people trained on the latest in safety, stormwater management, and other competent person trainings.”

Catered to the Individual Growth & Interests

After the successful initial launch of a career development program for our operations managers and office employees, our team began developing a program that would cater to our Laborers and Craft Workers so they can understand what skills would help them enhance their current roles, understand Nunn’s organizational structure for a path of progression as well as gain personal insights into strengths and development needs that can be catered to each individual. This has helped our skilled craftspeople understand the career progression available at Nunn Construction and especially get connected to our four-year Field Development Apprenticeship program that we partner with Construction Industry Training Council of Colorado (CITC) to provide our Laborers and Craft Workers to advance their careers.

The career development program at Nunn Construction is not a one-size-fits-all format but catered to each person’s unique strengths and interests. Some staff are particularly interested in learning to use drone technology or developing their expertise through prefabrication/prestressed concrete, precast engineering, infectious control in healthcare-focused construction, or leadership programs. Everyone is encouraged to expand their skills in areas they are passionate about. In April of 2023, we launched a quarterly lunch-and-learn series that includes health and wellness, presentation and public speaking, communication and leadership, and business development training. Three years after the initial launch of the program, with minor adjustments along the way, we’ve seen tremendous success through the growth and development of our people. Mentors feel they have a structure with which to help junior staff grow in their careers and pass down their wisdom, and all staff benefit from a consistent focus on the development of their careers, professionally and personally.

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