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Creating Engagable Restoration Employees

Jul 04, 2023

From the desk of Klark Brown (no AI was used in the creation of this article)

This blog is the foundation for our summer live coaching series on Company Culture.
Join Restoration Business Academy to join in the live discussions, and get the resources referenced. 
There is another link at the bottom.

Read time: less than 8 mins.
Be sure to read the whole blog. 


Notice the difference between Engaged and Engagable

Engaged employees are energetic, creative productive, and motivated. Everyone wants these rock stars on their team. We all strive to find these. But creating engageable employees isn’t as hard as you might think. But it does take serious intentional focus. It is also not a “project”. Developing Engagable employees is a culture and an eternal mission, not something that is ONE AND DONE. 


From 100’s of conversations with leaders, owners, and restoration peers of all shapes and sizes, I hear a few repeating myths: 

  1. Executives and managers are really engageable. 
  2. There are no younger talented prospects that are engageable or excited out there. 


I am 100% positive that both of these beliefs are false. But I can certainly understand how it could seem that way.

Here is a little secret that no one wants to admit. As most often contractors that have born into this industry from some kind of construction or trade background…..being an inspiring manager or leader are not our strength. It’s ok. Just own it.

I myself do not default to being a strong force that literally connects with every employee and team member from the top to especially the frontline workers.

So I have always surrounded myself with others that ARE powerful in that genius, so O can stay focused on what I do best. We all have personalities [find out what yours is here]. Everyone fits somewhere and is better at things that others really simply suck at. It is also important to recognize that while we all wear many hats and do what we must….we must recognize that some things GIVE energy and other task CONSUME energy.

The bottom line is that we will always do amazing in the areas of our strengths and the things we love. Alternatively, we will avoid half-ass things that we generally don’t gain energy from. 


In January 2022, CNBC published an article saying that 56% of Americans couldn’t handle a $1,000 emergency. On average, that means 56% of your employees don’t have enough margin in their lives to cover an unexpected expense. Replacing a car tire or covering a child’s medical emergency expenses are out of the question.

As a business owner or manager, do you write off more than half of your investment in your people? Before you can create engageable employees, you must first address their basic survival needs.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs illustrates what humans need to progress from an internal focus on survival to a more external focus on ideas and concepts.

According to Maslow, your staff must secure physiological needs like air, water, food, sleep, and shelter before anything else. Only when reliably meeting these needs can a person consider safety needs like personal security, employment, property, and health.

Similarly, humans can only start thinking about love and belonging once they reliably meet their safety needs. The sense of connection and community – whether among family, friends, or coworkers – can only happen after meeting their most foundational hierarchical needs.

Engagement requires employees to operate from the third level or higher on Maslow’s hierarchy. Only then can they think about and embrace a company’s mission, vision, and purpose. Now your people can become truly “engageable.”



As we grow a company or business, it is easy to get so focused on the track of our company and those lovely KPI’s, that we seemingly forget that NONE of this happens without your team.

We spend more than an abundance of time on the metrics, collections, TPA reviews, and unhappy customers, that we attend to our team as an almost afterthought. Or we give them our attention when they act out or directly tell us “It’s time to talk”.

If you have done some of your jobs right….the team knows what the company goals are. Those are discussed and drilled in all the time.

But what do Jackson, Sarah, Jamie, TJ, and Tammy dream about?

What do they tell their closest friends that they want? What's their WISH LIST?

Here is the question I ask myself and my team: What goes through your mind Sundays at 3pm?

While we don’t expect all people to be fired up looking forward to Monday, we also want to make sure there isn’t a tinge of dread.

If there is…it doesn’t take a genius to realize why you, as leaders are swimming upstream to make things happen. 



Sit with each and every single employee and get to know them a little deeper than you do currently.

Do it ASAP! 

We have a powerful downloadable document of engagement and dream-finding questions in Restoration Business Academy, but here are a few. Pick some of your own. 

  • What is a BIG goal you have? One that not everyone knows. 
  • What do you like to do MOST? What would not feel like work?
  • What do you really HATE to do? I know you will do it, but you would prefer not to. 

You get the point.
Set aside a half or whole hour. Go offsite. 
Do this with each and every person. 

In 2 weeks (set on your calendar and theirs) have a follow-up and dig in for micro-steps of what's needed to get them to these places. 

Then have 2 1:1 meetings (these can be quick and at the office or tailgate) and see how things are going and keep them focused.

It is very possible that you are not the person for this. It may not be something you do well or you may be too busy to do it. 

FIND SOMEONE THAT WOULD LOVE THIS OPPORTUNITY. You should have such a cheerleader on your team. If not, that's your next hire. 

We can help you find that person. We can help you get this all to a place of normal and not an imaginary state. 

Our team loves to do this. 



What can employers do with this information? You cannot write checks to everyone; you’d go broke. But you can think about how to create margin in your employees’ lives.

Look within your organization and draw on the experience and resources of your people. How can you provide access to resources and information that help them “level” up?

  • Consider some of these ideas to get started:
  • Host a series of fun workshops
  • Let the team make a list of training opportunities that they would enjoy
  • Plan a Breakfast day. Buy a Blackstone Griddle
  • Find a mortgage broker to teach employees the steps to buy a home
  • Bring in someone to discuss tips to help budgeting. 

These are just a few examples.

Start with one and go from there. Investing in your people sends a clear message that you care about them. By helping them move through the first two levels of Maslow’s hierarchy, you help them create more space in their lives. 

That space enables them to embrace your company’s mission, vision, and purpose. Ultimately this builds trust, creates more engaged employees, and leads to a healthy team culture.



Do something. Make this a focus for a quarter or for a season.
Of course, you are busy and short-handed. 

If you are doing things right, you will always be busy.

You just need to learn to grow talent. Even before bringing in new.

I will add this…..I have had the best teammates from OUTSIDE of our industry.

Servers, bartenders, veterinary techs, medical staff, etc. 

We hear about CULTURE a lot but it's often almost abstract. Major teams make this a serious focus because they have to. 


THINK LIKE A CEO. Grow people that will take things off your plate and probably do it better.

They are out there.

Check out this podcast I had with a client that puts CULTURE ahead of everything.

He has scaled unbelievably!

Join Restoration Business Academy to get resources that you can use to implement these best practices. We also hold live group discussions with other restorers just like you who are working on these very challenges. 



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