The emphasis on family and work-life balance is one reason why employees believe DesCor is a great place to work.

Sacramento Business Journal, October 21, 2016
A+ Employers Award / Best Places to Work
Small Company Winner 2016: DesCor Builders

While on her honeymoon in May, Gilda Lewis got an email from her boss. “You better not be checking your email on your honeymoon,? read the message from Brad Des Jardin, co-owner of DesCor Builders. The incident illustrates how DesCor encourages its employees to put family first, said Lewis, who has been a project engineer at the company for two years. And although she did check her emails during her honeymoon, Lewis said she didn’t feel pressured to work while on vacation.

“I didn’t feel guilty about enjoying myself outside of work,” she said.

The emphasis on family and work-life balance is one reason why employees believe DesCor is a great place to work. Other reasons are the congenial atmosphere and the opportunities for professional growth.

“What makes a good place to work is people know we care about them,” said Des Jardin, who co-founded the general contracting firm in 2005 with Neal Cordeiro. Happy employees are good for business, Des Jardin said. Satisfied workers spread the word to others, which helps recruit new employees. And being named a Best Place to Work enhances the company’s reputation with clients, who know they’ll be dealing with “happy, motived people,” he said.

“If we take care of our internal relationships, that will project to our external or customer relationships,” Des Jardin said.

Lewis, 26, said she has felt comfortable at DesCor since her first job interview there. After she was hired, Lewis wondered whether she would feel uneasy as a woman working in the field. But that hasn’t been the case.

“I’ve always felt welcome in the field and taken care of,” she said.” Lewis said she was pleased that the company sent her to three days of leadership training last year. And she said DesCor isn’t afraid to give employees a project that might be outside their comfort zone. “They let you have a wide variety of project experience,” Lewis said.

Des Jardin said the company maintains an open-door policy under which employees are welcome to discuss issues or concerns with superiors. DesCor also conducts an anonymous employee survey each year. The results are taken seriously, Des Jardin said, and areas where improvement are needed are addressed in the next year’s business plan. Supervisors keep an eye out for employees who are working too much overtime. In those cases, staffing is adjusted to reduce the employee’s workload, or if overtime can’t be avoided, the worker receives extra time off later.

“Work-life balance is very, very important,” Des Jardin said.

Getting to know employees on a personal level is also important. Families are included in company picnics and other gatherings. For example, DesCor holds quarterly meetings at completed job sites; families often are asked to join in after the business part of the meeting is over.

Project superintendent Keith Pratt came to DesCor two years ago, after serving in the Marine Corps and then working in commercial construction since 2005. Pratt, 33, said it took him awhile to get used to the collaborative atmosphere at DesCor, after being accustomed to the military mindset. But now he believes the DesCor culture improves productivity.

Pratt said he knows he can depend on his co-workers, something that was especially appreciated when he needed to take time off to care for his sick father in Oregon. Pratt said the work is also satisfying. He recently completed his first ground-up project, a building for Sierra Central Credit Union in Placerville.

“They want us to succeed and to excel in our careers,” Pratt said. The credit union is among DesCor’s repeat customers, which is a source of pride for the company and its employees.

Pratt said he’s been impressed with the owners’ efforts to get to know employees and their families. At the first company outing he attended, a gathering at a River Cats game, Des Jardin, Cordeiro and their spouses were soon chatting with his family. And with a wife, a 4-year-old daughter and a baby on the way, Pratt appreciates DesCor’s commitment to work-life balance. “I still have plenty of time for my family, which is a big deal for me,” Pratt said.

Link to article:
Elaine Goodman | Correspondent | Sacramento Business Journal
October 21, 2016