by Les Hiscoe
The past year has been one of the best ever for Shawmut Design and Construction. The pinnacle for us was being named one of the nation’s 100 Best Workplaces by Fortune Magazine. Shawmut is no stranger to Best Place to Work awards. Our offices have been honored regionally 43 times, but to be included on this particular list, the premier Great Place to Work ranking in the nation, is validation of our guiding principle: putting people first.
Shawmut has always been a talent-driven organization. From a people perspective, that means everything we do and every decision we make must have the employees’ best interests at heart. We want each employee to feel excited about their career path at Shawmut — constant employee training and honest, in-depth evaluations are critical. We also believe in strong work-life integration. We recently launched Shawmut Flex, which allows people to work staggered hours, work remotely, or to job share, a rarity in the 24×7 construction industry. We also offer one of the most progressive family leave policies for women and men in the construction field. Not because it attracts and retains better talent — it definitely does — but because it is simply the right thing to do for our people. We do all this with the belief that when an employee feels better about themselves — their home life and their work life — they will be at their best and able to deliver exceptional client service.
Fortune reported that 99% of Shawmut employees cited a strong sense of pride — not just in the projects we build, but also in the way we serve our clients. I am really humbled by that, but I am not surprised. I see it every day. That kind of passion cannot be faked and is one of the driving forces behind why 80% of our business comes from repeat clients. It comes from truly caring about the clients and the work we do for them, and it’s one of the reasons we were recently honored as the first-ever ENR New England Contractor of the Year.
Leaving our clients with a positive, lasting impression is essential to who we are as a company, but so too is the impression we leave on our community. We do that through countless philanthropic partnerships — The Pan-Mass Challenge, Cradles to Crayons, Future Chefs, and Community Servings, just to name a few — and through historic preservation work. It is that kind of work that earned us the President’s Award for Excellence at The Boston Preservation Alliance Preservation Achievement Awards. This award is especially meaningful to us because it wasn’t for one particular project — though the historic Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building won the BPA’s fan-favorite award — but for our 30-plus-year commitment to caring for the historic fabric of the community. Whether we are preserving distinct architectural heritage or creating new, ultra-modern spaces — it’s caring more that leads to excellence.
Without a doubt, 2016 has added more hardware to Shawmut’s award case than any other year before it — and I won’t lie, earning those awards feels really great. But in the end, what really matters is that we succeeded by taking care of the buildings we build, our community, and our people.
Les Hiscoe is CEO of Shawmut Design and Construction in Boston.