Best Practice: On-site Behaviour Policies
Every person in your company is a sales person. The way that every project stakeholder perceives every single person in your company, and their level of professionalism, has a huge effect on the credibility of the entire company.
All too often, thoughtless on-site behaviour can sour a potentially lucrative relationship. Listed below are a few pointers that can act as a start for you to create your own company site behaviour policy. If you already have one, fantastic! Perhaps I can give you a few more ideas. If you don’t already have one then I recommend putting one together and ensuring that all employees both understand, and adhere to it. And don’t forget: panic in private. Resolve as many issues as possible off site. Never let the client or anyone else on the project perceive that you are anything else but completely in control.
Before you arrive on site:
- Ensure that you have everything you need with you. Check materials, tools and equipment requirements. And then re-check.
- Ensure that your toolkits are complete and clean. Take 15 minutes every week to ensure that your toolkit is both complete (including consumables) and immaculately clean. We are not builders, we are engineers. Engineers do not work with dirty or badly maintained tools. Consider separating your clean and dirty tools into separate kits.
- Arrive On Time. If you are going to be even one minute late, phone your contact to let them know your new arrival time. If you think it will be in 15 minutes, say 20. Leave plenty of time for rush hour traffic.
- Drive and park courteously. Drive courteously and ensure that you park according to any building or site rules. Ensure that your vehicle is clean both inside and out. These little things all add up to creating the right company impression.
- Ensure that your clothing is clean and presentable. You may be running some cable at a building site in the morning before then calibrating someone’s expensive video system in the afternoon. For this scenario, consider taking a change of clothing.
When you arrive on site:
- Let the Site Forman or Client (as appropriate) know that you have arrived. Discuss the following with them:
- What is it that you are aiming to achieve that day
- Any special access requirements
- Any need to remove or protect valuable or fragile items
- Which areas you will require access to and when
- What time you will be working to
- Ensure that all equipment that you have brought is secure and protected. If appropriate, get the delivery note signed as soon as the equipment or materials are on site.
Whilst you are on site:
- Treat the site or home better than you would treat your own home
- Have a pair of slippers as part of your toolkit. In someone’s finished home, do not wear outdoor footwear.
- Leave any area both cleaner and tidier than you found it. This means that sometimes you will need to clean up other people’s mess before you start your own work. Quality work is difficult to achieve in a dirty environment.
- Protect your work area. If working in a finished, or nearly finished home, protect your work area with a CLEAN dustsheet. Ensure that all tools are placed on the dustsheet and not on the customer’s floor. Be careful of static if using a polythene sheet.
- Ensure that your hands are scrupulously clean especially before fitting keypads and speakers into finished walls and ceilings. Use disposable gloves if necessary.
- Read, understand and adhere to any specific site guidelines and rules.
- Know who is who. Do not circumvent chains of command. Never gossip about anyone else on the project team. Understand who to ask if you need anything done for you.
- Avoid phone calls. Clients perceive that you are there for them. Do not dilute this by spending time on the phone discussing other projects. If you need to do this, do it in your vehicle or out of earshot of anyone else on site.
- Do not smoke or eat on site unless in an authorised area. On a construction site, follow site-specific policy regarding smoking, food and drink. In a customer’s home, never eat or smoke unless directly invited to do so by the client or one of their representatives or senior staff.
- Never swear, or gossip, and keep personal conversations to a minimum.
- Ensure that all your work areas are tidy, safe and clean. Ensure that sliding racks are secured.
- Check that the system works as expected. Then check it again. It is critical that when you leave site, that the system is working as expected. Do not just check the part that you have been working on, spend that extra 15 minutes checking that every subsystem still works as expected.
- Let the Site Forman or Client (as appropriate) know that you are leaving. Discuss the following with them:
- What is it that you have achieved
- Let them have an expectation of what works, and more importantly, what doesn’t. If something is not fully working yet, unplug it.
- Let them know if something has not been finished
- Let them know when you will return, and what you will hope to achieve on that visit.
- Ensure that they have the correct company contact details in case they need to contact someone before your next visit.
- Do a quick final check that you have not left anything behind.
The above list is by no means complete or comprehensive but can serve as a start for you to create a site protocol guide for your staff. However you manage it, ensure that every one of your staff from the most senior sales person to the most junior driver understands that first impressions count.
Peter Aylett is a world-renowned speaker and lecturer in residential technology, and the Technical Director at Archimedia, a multinational high-end residential integrator in The Middle East. He is also currently Chair of CEDIA’s International Technology Council Applied Content Action Team, and a regular contributor to HiddenWires.