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February 17, 2017 Best Places to Work in Connecticut 2017

#2 Large Company Category: Shawmut Design & Construction

Shawmut employees are shown volunteering. Employees lend their time to many charitable causes including New England Home Recovery and the Ronald McDonald House.

Employees of Shawmut Design & Construction in North Haven have good reason to name their company a best place to work. After all, they own it.

In addition to yearly bonuses based on both performance and company profitability, and spot bonuses distributed to employees who go above and beyond, every staff member has an opportunity to be part of an employee stock ownership program (ESOP), which includes annual contributions of company shares to a personal-retirement account.

That culture of ownership and forward thinking makes Shawmut a standout within the construction industry. Add to that the same level of high-value services for projects of any size — from renovations to ground-up construction — and you have a company whose owner-employees are both loyal and driven.

“Shawmut truly cares about our career path, encouraging conversations around goals,” says Jan Koch, a project manager for the company. “You can talk about what you want right now to what you want to see several years out, even putting life factors into the mix, like — I see myself working at a certain job, I see myself moving to another state, that sort of thing.”

To further foster a worker-friendly environment, the Shawmut flex program was introduced in early 2016 after a pilot program the previous year. Ken Procino, director of the company's Connecticut office, says he developed the idea with three colleagues to address the unique needs of workers in the construction industry, where the combination of safety, deadlines, budgets and client demands can be stressful.

“Employees are able to work with their managers to make personalized arrangements, whether it's working from home on a set schedule or being able to do it when needed,” says Koch. “However they can achieve balance while keeping projects in play.”

Other work-life policies include adhering to a “regular work hours only” policy when planning meetings and staff events. The company also brings services on-site to help employees with everything from stress management to personal development.

In terms of professional development, Shawmut offers CMST (Construction Management Skills Training), a rigorous 36-month program that allows recent college graduates to gain firsthand knowledge of different elements of the construction business.

“You do rotations in project management, estimating, site supervision — one year per specialty. Then you select a path,” says Koch. “It gives you background on all areas so you have a thorough understanding of how it all works together.”

Shawmut also gives employees time during the year to volunteer. The group lends their expertise to organizations like the New England Home Recovery, a temporary residence for women and children trying to rebuild their lives. 

Read about the other Best Places to Work in CT 2017 winners.

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