Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 24, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why Ventana Construction Corporation was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2017):
- Along with a year-end bonus program, Ventana Construction offers generous referral bonuses for employees who help recruit candidates from their personal networks (to $2,500 per successful hire)
- Ventana Construction offers new employees 3 weeks of paid vacation to start as well as paid time off during the winter holidays
- Ventana Construction employees enjoy a number of social events and celebrations throughout the year including an annual Christmas party, a summer barbecue, a fishing trip and Family Tobogganing Day at Seymour Mountain
Ventana Construction builds a family culture
Ventana Construction Corporation builds all kinds of structures, from high-rise condominium towers and recreation facilities to state-of-the-art green buildings and corporate headquarters. But what the Burnaby, B.C.-based company builds best is relationships.
"We always talk about relationships and respect," says John Sharp, President/Principal. "Everything is based on a respectful relationship, so you can work through anything with that core belief."
Using relationships as a foundation, Ventana Construction has built a corporate culture with pillars that include support, concern and caring. The company does everything it can to treat its employees like family, starting with that most basic human bonding exercise: sharing meals. Lunch is brought into the office twice a week and once a month to all construction sites so the entire team can socialize.
That's in addition to the picnics, toboggan days, Christmas parties, fishing trips, softball tournaments and other activities woven into the work year. Sharp says they're constantly thinking of ways to get the group together out of the work environment so people get to know each other on a human level. It creates a fun, out-going corporate culture in which employees like Project Superintendent Don Reedman thrive.
"They really go over and beyond what you would expect an employer to do," says Reedman.
"This company is the epitome of an extroverted culture. They mingle, they try to get everybody involved. It's all about families and relationships and respect."
It's not all fun and games, of course. Reedman says he and his fellow employees show their appreciation for the company's support by working just as hard as they play. "They treat me very, very well and as a result, I give back as much or more," he says.
Employees also challenge each other to get the best results for the company and their clients. Working in an open office environment, they're encouraged to learn from each other as much as they learn from the educational program open to them via Ventana Construction's comprehensive benefits package.
"We're here to support each other, we're here to challenge each other and make each other better," says Sharp. "Everybody's learning in real time and real life situations."
The respect for experience as a great teacher is one of the things that drew Reedman to the company. But the critical thing for him was the family feel of the business.
"The company values are very much about making sure the employees are happy and they treat them with the utmost of respect," he says. "That's why I became employed here and why I'm still employed here."
Sharp traces that family feel back to company founder Jim Bond, who instilled a philosophy of caring for people and relationship-building. Sharp experienced it immediately when he joined in 1991. It was a much smaller company then, but as the operation grew, management and employees worked hard to maintain that tight-knit spirit.
"There were just five or six of us and we did everything together -- that's the feel that we're trying to keep here," says Sharp. "We care about each other."
The company also cares about the community. Ventana Construction actively supports charities like the Variety Club Telethon, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, B.C. Children's Hospital, Union Gospel Mission and the Pacific Autism Family Centre. And they'll match any donation made to a charitable organization by an employee.
It's a commitment to caring that permeates the entire corporate culture, from head office to the construction site.
"When they come and meet you on site, the ownership of the company know who you are, they know what you're about, they know something about your family, whether your health is good, they ask about your holidays -- they're just really involved because it matters to them," says Reedman. "They know you as a person, not just an employee."