Shawmut’s Providence office was named the #1 Best Place to Work in Rhode Island by Providence Business News for 2023, marking the thirteenth year the firm has been recognized in Rhode Island. Read more about why the Providence office was selected below and on Providence Business News here.
Being in the right frame of mind on a construction site is on equal footing as properly building any new facility. shawmut design and construction fully understands this concept.
In addition to the usual job training about harness, ladder, and electric safety during Shawmut’s annual safety week this past May, the Providence-based construction and general contractor introduced a group dedicated to addressing the mental health crisis in the construction industry. About 50 employees from across the company are a part of Shawmut’s mental health and wellness leadership group, which is poised to propose initiatives and programs targeted at helping its employees, according to Chris Maury, Shawmut’s Rhode Island senior director.
Shawmut also launched an online suicide awareness training program, which is available to all its employees. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those working in construction have a significantly higher rate of death by suicide than the general population.
Safety, Maury said, is embedded into Shawmut’s core values.
“We care about everyone getting home safe every day,” Maury said. “It’s our No. 1 priority. We believe in building a team diverse in people, ideas, and experiences – driving meaningful change not only at Shawmut but throughout the industry and into our communities.”
Knowing there are shortages of people interested in trades, Maury said, Shawmut is actively working on recruiting future workers from an early age with the hopes that it will alleviate employee shortages and burnout. Also, Maury said workers recently visited William E. Tolman High School in Pawtucket to encourage 160 students to join the trades, and specifically construction.
Close to two years ago, the company launched a partnership with Roger Williams University with the goal of diversifying the construction and engineering industry. Shawmut gave three underrepresented students majoring in construction management or engineering four-year scholarships, paid internships, opportunities for professional development and a stipend toward living costs.
Within the company, building efforts toward diversity, equity and inclusion have been years in the making. Those efforts include formal mentor programs, as well as establishing systems to evaluate compensation throughout the company to ensure equitable and fair pay, Maury said.
For Maury, who has been at the company for more than 20 years, part of what makes Shawmut special is the staff, which he describes as dedicated, collaborative and which has incredible integrity.
“Construction is a challenging business but when you work with great people, it makes it a fun business,” he said.
For the last seven years, Shawmut has offered flexible work hours for its employees. Shawmut Flex, as the program is known, allows employees to create schedules that work for them and their position, Maury said.
According to Shawmut’s website, all employees are given the opportunity to work longer but fewer days throughout the week, work in shifts, or work full time during the busy season while working part time during the off-season. Employees primarily in the office can work remotely and can shift their work hours. People working on sites can opt to primarily cover overtime or fill in for people who may have called out for the day.
Shawmut employees are also encouraged to volunteer and as a benefit, the company offers a paid volunteer day. Maury noted the company encourages employees to be involved in their communities and local organizations such as Rhode Island’s Architecture, Construction and Engineering Mentor Program, known as ACE.
It is not all work and no play at the office. There’s usually a putting challenge, or a miniature golf tournament at the office. Outside of the offices, there are plenty of organized social events, such as axe throwing. These events, Maury said, are organized by the social committee.
“I think we really work together and look out for each other,” said Maury, who added it’s not unusual for employees to put down whatever task to help another team, share ideas and brainstorm.