By: Jeffrey Lai
May 26, 2021
Entering the job market under the pretense of COVID-19 can be daunting due to the uncertainty in the field and the risk of exposure. It is imperative to have cooperation amongst all parties involved to think and act quickly, to not only streamline the processes without any hiccups, but to do so while staying safe and ease any anxiety amongst new hires. Sullivan Engineering takes pride in providing their employees with the necessary equipment to face the construction industry during COVID-19 and in preparing them to minimize exposure and reduce the spread.
Sullivan Engineering provides a two-day onboarding process for new hires to attend virtually. These two days give new employees a better understanding of what the company culture is like, rundowns of the processes that must be followed, and a chance to meet coworkers. Virtual meetings provide a safe way to interact with one another without the fear of contact with COVID-19. For many new hires, gauging a company culture can be the biggest hurdle. How does one determine what company culture is like virtually, and does it carry the same weight if it were done in person? To rectify that, Sullivan Engineering encourages us to have lunch and take breaks with one another, in a different room from where you are onboarding, and to converse about non-work-related topics. Stepping away from your workspace is a great way to simulate what it’s like to step away from your desk in the office and engage with teammates in a more casual setting. Talking to long-time employees and hearing how excited they are to come to work every day, sharing stories, and enjoying each other’s company, all in the comfort of our own homes, shows just how valuable the culture is at Sullivan Engineering. Within those two-days of onboarding, it is evident that the great people here are what makes the culture so tenacious.
After completing the onboarding process, members are placed in their respective teams and are given the opportunity to shadow Senior Project Managers and Project Managers to get first-hand experience at handling a project at Sullivan Engineering. New employers get to use the first few weeks to jump around and meet team members, contractors, and property managers in meetings and in the field. This experience is valuable and ensures a comprehensive grasp of what our job entails and how to handle interactions in the work environment.
COVID-19 introduced a unique situation where employers have to be extra considerate of the number of places they have to visit on a daily basis. The more places one has to visit, the higher the risk of exposure and spread of COVID-19. Sullivan Engineering makes it a priority to keep their employers safe and healthy by providing sanitation equipment to use while on the job site. In-person meetings have transitioned into online conferences to minimize contact, as well as to reduce paper waste. Sullivan Engineering requires all employees to submit to Human Resources to their body temperatures and whereabouts for the workday at the start of every morning; this approach aids contact tracing, so all the right parties are informed and quarantined, should someone obtain a positive test result. Our New York office is split into two teams, and each team is permitted in the office on alternating weeks, if necessary.
This pandemic has challenged everyone’s approach to working in the construction industry. Sullivan Engineering rolled out a “back-to-the-office plan” that transitions employees back to the office in stages, based on the CDC’s protocols, to ensure a smooth and safe shift back to “normalcy.” As someone who joined the team before knowing what a “normal” day in the office feels like at Sullivan Engineering, I don’t think it will be all that different. If the culture has remained great throughout a global pandemic, it will surely remain great when we’re back together at work.