At Fixer, our mission is pretty simple: We Fix Things. We Build People. We sometimes joke that we don’t do the opposite: We don’t build things and we don’t fix people. So what is the difference between building and fixing when it comes to people, and what sets Fixer apart from other companies?
Quite simply: Growth and opportunity.
Our focus is on the betterment of our people and the communities we serve
We use the word “fix” here at Fixer to mean to repair or to mend. Your toilet won’t stop running? We’ll fix that and help it get back to its normal quiet state of being. You have a hole in your drywall from an errant baseball being thrown in the house? We’ll patch it up and your wall will be as good as new. Our handypeople are called “Fixers” because they are the people who fix the problem and let you go back to living your life. That’s our goal, and that’s part of why we exist.
The other part of why we exist is the part that I love even more. Fixer is a Public Benefit Corporation - meaning that in our articles of incorporation, our legal charter empowers and requires us to:
Improve our employees’ skills and career opportunities, and
Increase the quantity, skill, and diversity of skilled tradespeople in the communities we serve.
In other words, we want to build our people (and our communities, but that’s for another post!). We want them to grow in their skills and opportunities, and we are responsible to our board, our shareholders, and our employees for that mission. We don’t want to “fix” them; we have no interest in returning them to their status quo. We want to give Fixers opportunities to dream bigger and achieve more.
Clear messaging: We’re all in this together
So how do we build people here at Fixer?
It starts at the very beginning: By promoting diversity and inclusion through expansion of the hiring funnels and education initiatives, and by creating a positive work culture through hiring, engagement, feedback and value-focused training. We are intentional about communicating belongingness and how much we value our employees, but that we also expect them to grow as they encounter people, situations, and viewpoints other than their own. We expect our team members to listen, to learn, to be respectful, and to have an open mind. Some of us come in with a lot of experience working with people who are different from us, and some of us come from very homogeneous backgrounds, so there are different levels of growth opportunities here. But one thing remains the same for all: We are all learning and growing as our company grows.
Employee Advocacy… and beyond
At the core of how we work, we advocate for our employees. It’s hard to grow when you’re worried about your basic needs like transportation, child care, and consistent pay. Our policies of hiring for full-time positions (vs contractors), offering equitable pay, health benefits, equity and guaranteeing 40 hours of pay per week for our Fixers means that everyone here has a stable foundation on which to grow.
But sometimes everyone needs a little extra help to get to where they want or need to be.
We provide resources to our employees to assist and accommodate people with transportation issues, financial issues, mental health issues, legal issues, and child care issues, and then we assist our team members in taking the steps to move forward and grow in these areas.
The last way we build our team is the most transparent to our customers and to the outside world: we have an established, in-house training center. We intertwine our focus on Lean operations and standardization with structured classroom, lab, and on-the-job training. We provide a wide variety of education – including soft skills (i.e., respectful communication, good work habits, problem-solving), and basic skills training (how to change out a ceiling fan or how to mortise a door latch) – as well as more advanced continuous training for our more tenured Fixers. We block time into our team schedules for learning every single week. We see big potential for our training programs and have even bigger plans to expand as we grow.
It’s so important for our employees to know how much they are valued and how much we want to support them on their path to realizing their full potential – something we feel is missing from the hiring landscape today. However, we know building and growth aren’t easy, and we certainly don’t have all of this figured out.
But we’ve made it part of our mission to try.