THE YEAR IN REVIEW & A LOOK AHEAD!
As a company, Weifield’s culture was built on the PACT, our core values, combined with our purpose (‘to make the next generation better’) and our niche (‘to provide best-in-class electrical solutions’). 2020 made an impact on our culture as it was challenging for Weifield and all businesses across the globe. For Weifield, it was both a good year and a challenging year…it was good from a bottom line and market recognition perspective, but a tough year for the company in many areas, as well. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March, 2020, Weifield created a Task Force and reacted quickly to ensure: 1) our people and working environments were as safe as possible, and 2) our projects were not disrupted.
Many of us were unable to connect in person and we were unsure what the impact would be to our existing and future projects. We implemented several cost-cutting measures such as delayed hiring, cost-cutting measures to reduce administrative and other costs, and also had a layoff that impacted both the office and the field. In addition, we incurred increased costs related to new laws around COVID tied to hiring and sick leave (such as the Healthy Family Worker Act funds), so to stay competitive we knew we had to evaluate our company’s cost structure. Although the layoff was an unfortunate reality, we were able to bring back nearly everyone in the field who was impacted.
Despite the challenges, Weifield’s bottom line profits in 2020 turned out to be positive due to our proactive approach and the successful completion of some of our largest projects, to date. However, the majority of the larger projects that were worked on during 2020 were won in 2019 and before, and winning new work was a challenge – and so, due to lower sales in 2020, we entered 2021 with a much lower backlog and fewer projects in the pipeline to bid on.
The Year in Review: There have been a number of changes over the last 12 months – some of which we communicated effectively, some we did not; most occurred because they needed to be made so Weifield remains competitive. In addition, we want to grow the business and provide our employees with opportunities. The changes included new management roles being filled both in the office and field as well as new job titles and compensation driven largely by new hiring laws and the need for consistency within the organization.
In 2021, Weifield also changed our benefits program and admittedly, we did not effectively communicate the ‘why’ behind this change. To be competitive and win future jobs, insurance is a big cost component; Weifield has always provided fully-paid benefits for our employees (and according to our insurance provider, we are one of the few construction companies that does). We have also absorbed 100% of the rising costs of healthcare (a 9% compounded increase per year over the last 11 years), and so, it was time to make some changes to our insurance program while still maintaining the fully-paid base premium.
With this change, we are providing a base plan covered at 100% with changed benefits, and a competitive Health Savings Account (HSA) option, as well.
Looking Ahead: Despite the challenges we faced in 2020 and new ones in 2021, Weifield has a promising future due to the hard work our teams are doing to ensure we land good work and build good projects. We just have to dig in right now and make sure our performance is as competitive as it can be – in order to realize the goals we want to achieve. To help, we’re rolling out more training courses and developing our people, we are giving back to our community and employees (Weifield’s Foundation supported 93 charities with $435K in donations – and we also helped numerous Weifield employees who were in need), we’re holding events to keep us connected as a team, we’re establishing new relationships with our clients and partners, we’re continuing to execute amazing projects, and we are implementing new systems.
Despite necessary changes – please don’t ever doubt that PEOPLE have always been, and will always be, Weifield’s first and #1 core value. As we move forward, it is going to take all of us together. All people, all teams, all departments … everyone.
We can do it and we WILL do it –let’s make them talk about Weifield’s great turnaround of 2021and post-pandemic, for years to come.
If you have questions, concerns or ideas, please let your manager, or us, know. Here’s to a great 2021!
Until next time.