In 2008, Doug Davidson stood in front of New South Construction Co. Inc. employees and explained that although it appeared the construction industry was going into a downturn, New South was not going to participate. Davidson told his employees: "We're going to come out the other end the same company or better." As other construction companies cut back, New South Construction kept its people busy. They took lower-margin or no-margin projects. Supervisors went from overseeing $20 million projects to $1 million projects. When other firms laid great talent off, New South Construction scooped them up. The company didn't lay off a single person.
When the industry bounced back, New South Construction was ready to go. But when other companies began hiring again, New South lost a few employees it wished it hadn't lost. "That hit me hard," Davidson said. He and senior leadership decided to articulate New South's vision.
The result, "Vision 2020: Our Future," spells out New South's six-pronged strategic outlook, and "people" tops the list, followed by values, leadership, growth, profit and legacy. "You have to focus on people," Davidson said. "It's easier to cut employee 808 than it is to cut John." Care about your people, be passionately committed to them and they will treat your clients likewise.
No stranger to Atlanta Business Chronicle's Best Places To Work, New South Construction tops this year's list in the medium employer category.
"[Leadership] has done a tremendous job implementing successful processes and procedures, which have helped create a true culture within the company." noted an employee in a survey take for the Best Places To Work program.
"New South offers both off-site and on-site training and continuing education courses. With two days of paid time off for volunteer work it encourages commitment to the community.
And Davidson continues to call (or text if it falls on a weekend) every employee on his or her birthday, something he's done since he founded New South in 1990. "Simple things," he said, "are a lost art. Like saying, 'Hello in the hall.'"
Employees appreciate the effort. "The top leadership cares about each and every employee as if they were family and shows that appreciation in everything they do," noted another New South employee in the Best Places To Work survey.