The following is a transcript of a video from Charles Antis, CEO and founder of Antis Roofing & Waterproofing. You can watch the video or read the transcript below.
Charles Antis: Hey, I'm Charles Antis. I'm super excited to talk about this month's RCS topic, which is, "Growing a Strong Culture With People," and including our Spanish population, which if you look around the roofing industry is really what drives us, which keeps the family safe and dry. I'm puzzled by this because I'm a contractor, I'm great at solving leaks, keeping families safe and dry, but I'm not necessarily a great manager. I think that we run into this in the roofing industry and there's a lot of opportunity.
If we're going to build culture, we've got to build bridges all the way to our people. Part of the way we at Antis build bridges all the way to our people is we use our people and hear their stories and build all the bridges all the way to people in the community, folks that need things like roofs to be safe and dry. I'll tell you some stories. At first, I want to tell you what Antis has done to really understand our employees, especially the ones that are doing the work, the immigrant and first generation Latin American employees.
Well, before I get into some of our programs, I want to tell you about what I did personally. I took all of my employees to my home about a decade ago and I made breakfast for them one at a time, sometimes with a translator. I heard what they value in life, from their great memories and challenges of their childhood. I heard this one story from an employee named Pedro Vasquez. I heard this story a dozen more times, almost exactly like it by other people that grew up on the plains of Central Mexico.
Pedro said, "Charles, at 3:30 every morning, I would be nudged by my father. He would gently wake me up and he would look at me in the eyes and he would say, "Hey, Pedro, will you come to work with me on the farm and ranch today for a couple hours before you go to school?" Both of them knowing he only has about six years of education. Then Pedro, while his father held his stare, would say, "Yes, dad." When I heard that story over and over again, something happened in me and something happened to our leadership where we started to pause to listen better.
We realized that not everybody lives in the same economy of things. So we really started investing in our people. We started investing in them as far as leadership programs, emerging leaders program that are taught by people that are from Latin American countries to those that are from Latin American countries, that teach things like emotional intelligence, management skills, interactive skills, things that we need to know in order to hear our employees and be heard in the company.
We also have Santa Ana College partnering with Antis, coming actually inside our campus during work hours. We're bringing in workers who have had a few years in the company, we're giving them English classes during the day and building it into their curriculum at work so that they can advance and learn English. In fact, the executives at Antis are even learning Spanish right now. We just took a pause because of this big rainstorm.
But I got to tell you, I'm intimidated. I'm trying to learn this new language and I can't learn it very good, but it means so much. My intention and Susan DeGrassi's intention and Bobby and Cori and all those who are learning Spanish, it means so much to our employees that we're trying. So we have this real interactive culture and it's allowed us to build things like the LOBO Awards. Why Lobo Awards? Maybe because the other story I heard about people growing up on the ranch in Central Mexico was that they would often see a Lobo.
There's only 100 of them left in the wild, and when they'd see a Lobo, it was no longer a threat to their cattle, it was more of a good luck signature. So we started doing annual LOBO Awards, giving them to our employees that exemplify great skills and leadership in keeping families safe and dry. We also have something that we started about 10 years ago called Aguinaldo. Aguinaldo was a Mexican tradition where companies save back a big chunk of the salary and give it to the families right before the holidays so that they have this money to refresh and renew.
Last year, Antis Roofing was able to take the only profits that we had, a few hundred thousand dollars, and we were able to turn it into Aguinaldo to all our employees. And it felt so good. Now our culture's so strong as we're asking people to work 70 hours a week in this rainstorm. So we really invest in our people. We even take them to do lobbying for the roofing industry in Washington. Many people in the roofing industry have heard me tell the story of bringing Fernando, a first gen employee, or Jesus, an immigrant employee to Washington.
The impact that these first gen and immigrant employees have had on Congress people in Washington is profound. I've had congressmen in large meetings personally mention Jesus's name, Katie Porter and Lou Correa on what it meant that the workers that did the work came all the way to Washington to tell them what it's like to live in their district and work in this trade in this great country. So when we start knowing that we have impact, and when we start investing in our employees and building bridges all the way to them, then they're able to feel fulfilled.
They're able to pause and look at themselves and go, "Wow, I'm not a laborer. I am this guy, this woman with specialized skills that I can go out when no one else will go and keep a family safe and dry. See these cracks in my nails and caulking embedded in them, these are honorable traits of the trade that keeps families safe and dry." When you invest in your people and they know why they exist, they know that they exist to keep families safe and dry.
When you invest in values that you see behind us, be good, be responsible, be generous, be a leader, be passionate, then they know that they can be who they are and let their real stories out in your culture and let it grow out into the community. I can tell you this, if you invest in your people today, there's never been a better investment. The last thing I'll say is this, is the average attrition rate in the roofing industry from company to company is 54%.
That means that 54% of the employees of any given roofing company will leave this year to go to work somewhere else. At Antis Roofing, we hold nearly a 90% retention rate. This year we're hiring at a time that other people are having a difficult part hiring. I don't say that bragging. I say that with great humility for the leadership of Antis and their ability to invest in its team. Thank you.
Charles Antis is the founder and CEO of Antis Roofing & Waterproofing. See his full bio here.
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