San Rafael-based residential and commercial contractor Ghilotti Bros. and its world-class team of construction professionals throughout the North Bay, live by the motto “Your Project is Our Passion.” This 103-year-old company is also passionate about ensuring the health and safety of its workforce.
With health care costs for employees increasing from 15% to 17% annually, Ghilotti Bros. CEO Mike Ghilotti says the company continues to pay for health care without passing this expense on to its workers. “Our people are taking an active role in doing their part to stay healthy.”
According to Estimating Assistant Melissa Russo, in charge of surveys and event planning, “We encourage our employees to be healthy and active so they can live their best lives at home as well as give their best performance at work. “We have seen good participation in our fitness activities both at work and after hours, such as having group exercises, challenges as well as employees going on hikes and bike rides together.”
The company has two groups focused on employee health, the Longevity Committee and the Wellness Committee.
Ghilotti’s fitness programs have something to appeal to everyone, from routine stretching exercises for field teams before they start work each day to organized fitness sessions that include jump rope, push ups, squats and plunges among other forms of calisthenics. Some special activities have been unique – such as a hula-hoop challenge or a bocce ball competition.
Posters in the company kitchen and cafeteria encourage healthy, nutritional eating habits, and salad potlucks and cook-offs stress the need for low calorie menu items.
The firm sponsors cycling days through scenic locations, such as through the Napa Valley, as well as local bike rides and group walks held monthly. Other groups participate in the company’s soccer team or shoot hoops in the outdoor basketball court on the parking lot.
Worker safety is of paramount importance within the construction industry as well as a way to keep employees healthy and able to do their jobs. Lunch n’ Learn sessions have been held featuring nutrition experts and personal training specialists.
At Ghilotti Bros., there is a Safety Week and Safety BBQs quarterly. A weekly safety memo goes out to all personnel talking about key topics and issues of concern. The company ensures that its work crews always wear helmets, safety vests, ear plugs and protective respiratory gear, take breaks periodically during the day while also drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated. Automated External Defibrillators are also available.
Team building events are another way to improve morale and build strong employee bonds. Ghilotti Bros. observes Administration Day taking staff members to visit job sites. Group activities include trips to San Francisco for sightseeing, baseball games, and other events.
“One of the major indicators of employee wellness is how much people enjoy coming to work. Everybody is happy here,” said Aixa Santos, chair of the wellness committee.