Building Up Our Team Through Empowerment

By Craig Ruppert, CEO

As I reflect on our company’s continued growth, I am reminded of the value, importance and need for each of us as individuals to continue to develop our knowledge and skills both on a professional as well as a personal level. It calls to mind one of our 12 Ruppert Values – that of empowerment. It’s one that I think of often because it directly relates to our number one value, which of course, is our people.

When I think of empowerment, this is what I think of:

  • Training and developing our people so that they have the skills and knowledge to take on new challenges, grow in their position and pass on that knowledge and training to others on their team. While our corporate training team supports our branches with classes and other training tools, the biggest responsibility for daily training, coaching and teaching lies with our direct supervisors. This applies in all positions and in all departments, from the field to the office or shop.
  • Trusting our people to make decisions and take on added responsibility as soon as they’re ready, whether that be handling a new piece of equipment, communicating directly with the client or making an informed decision about how to perform a task more efficiently.
  • Encouraging our people to speak up, to share ideas and express concerns. By inviting this kind of feedback and idea sharing, we are able to foster innovation at all levels of the company, increase our efficiency and safety, discover and effectively resolve the inevitable personnel issues, and reinforce the idea that every employee—and his/her ideas, no matter the position—contributes to our overall growth and success.
  • Enabling and encouraging our people to develop greater confidence and new skills that will help them advance in their career. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, from sitting down and going over the financial statement in detail and encouraging involvement with other organizations like charities and associations to providing a path to obtain industry certifications and attending seminars on topics ranging from safety to public speaking. Ultimately, when the opportunity for advancement comes up, we want our team members to be prepared and confident to take that next step. As always, we hope to promote from within when possible.

We’ve applied these principles of empowerment throughout the company and have seen the benefits of it in the many individuals who have risen through the ranks – many of our branch managers started out as crewmen and were given increasing responsibility and the chance to prove themselves and further their careers. They, in turn, have trained and empowered the next generation of managers to fill their role and pass on that training.

The more effectively we empower our people and give them the confidence and opportunity to grow, the faster they can advance in their careers. And if our people feel empowered, we will have greater job satisfaction and lower turnover, which gives us a competitive advantage and a stronger team to better serve our customers.