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If you think companies in New York City are the only ones offering attractive perks for job seekers, it’s time to reconsider jobs closer to home.
For Westchester residents on the hunt for a new career, there are plenty of employers in growth sectors like construction and manufacturing that offer benefits such as career training, team-bonding activities, and even childcare support.
It’s no secret that recruiting and retaining talent remains a top challenge for companies. In fact, according to a State of the Workplace Study released this January by the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest HR professional society, 84% of employers ranked a labor shortage as the top challenge they were currently facing.
So once they’ve found the right candidate, companies have to maintain a competitive edge by keeping up employee morale and retaining their workforce. That’s why three top Westchester-based employers offer a wide array of benefits to ensure that talented employees first join and then thrive at their companies.
Eastchester-based family business AMHAC — which stands for All Makes Heating and Air Conditioning — has been serving the HVAC needs of Westchester homes and businesses for more than 70 years. Each year, the company sets out to create brand name recognition by winning national and global industry awards, explains General Manager Natalie Lloyd. “I always say we have the same diagnostics, the same tools as our competition, so what about our company’s culture sets us apart? It’s the interaction between employees and customers. We want people to be proud to work here,” explains Lloyd.
As the Great Resignation marches on, Baby Boomers leave the workforce and millennials fill the labor gap, Lloyd has changed the mindset on hiring. Millennials want to have purpose in their jobs and feel that they’re contributing to a team. “We hire people to co-create and become part of a team within our departments of customer service, installers, accounting etc.,” explains Lloyd. Teamwork is paramount to the company’s success, and peer-to-peer accountability and interdependence ensure that no one person owns the success of their job.
“We are headstrong on training and growing people within the company,” comments Lloyd. Everyone on the executive team grew through the ranks. “We don’t find superstars, we build them. A culture of learning exists here. We have plumbers or electricians say to their children, I want AMHAC to train you first before you work with me,” explains Lloyd. “And after two years, they are ingrained in our culture and want to stay and grow with us,” she adds proudly.
Demetrius Simpson first heard about AMHAC through relatives and now has a thriving career there. Prior to joining AMHAC, he worked on HVAC systems in Manhattan high-rises, but residential homes’ HVAC systems vary greatly, so he took a pay cut and began work at AMHAC as a helper nearly a decade ago. Most helpers shadow a more experienced worker at AMHAC for at least two years before becoming a service technician. “I worked my way up from service technician to service supervisor to service manager. The greatest workers here are homegrown,” comments Simpson.
“Demetrius is our number-one guy for training. We have a bonus structure to incentivize experienced workers to teach skills to newly hired employees. This fosters a culture of learning, not competition,” says Lloyd.
Plus, the focus on internal training helps with retention. Almost one out of three employees have worked at AMHAC for a decade or more. Add in fun-filled karaoke and casino-themed staff parties plus weekly catered lunches and it is no wonder that AMHAC continues to be one of the most sought-after HVAC employers in the 914.
Kings Capital Construction Group
This Tarrytown-based company with approximately 45 employees constructs two- to 12-story buildings in the county for a variety of developments, from retail to affordable housing projects.
Not only do they build upwards, but they also do civil work taking place below ground, covering aspects such as infrastructure and underground utilities. That’s a unique construction approach, according to JD Summa, the company’s president and CEO.
Whether Kings is building projects or figuring out employee assistance, Summa prides himself on never taking a “one size fits all” approach. Take child care, for example: As a parent himself, Summa knows that it is hard to concentrate on your job if you are worried about your children’s wellbeing. This became increasingly evident during COVID. “During this period, we realized that childcare became a major issue for families, especially for families with both parents working. To help with their peace of mind during an already stressful time, we helped offer parents of young children some relief in dealing with their childcare issues,” explains Victoria Bruno, business development manager.
For example, for one employee, Kings increased the employee’s individual healthcare benefits to family coverage, allowing his spouse the ability to stay home with their young children. For another employee, they adjusted the compensation to offset the cost of the family’s childcare expenses. “While we have no formal policy on subsidized childcare, we continue to have an open approach for employee assistance based on each individual’s circumstances and/or needs,” notes Bruno, echoing Summa’s belief in treating each employee as an individual.
But teamwork still plays an important role in the company’s success. Comparing his company to a sports team, Summa emphasizes that “every single position contributes to our wins and losses, from a driver to a controller. That sense of unity permeates in the office. We work hard and we play hard.”
Noting that construction is a high-stress industry with tight deadlines and large budgets, Summa and Bruno try to keep the atmosphere light and fun. “You spend more time with your work family than your home family, so we want to make sure it is a place people enjoy coming to,” says Summa.
To that end, the company recently held a ‘Smash Room’ party, which the employees loved. “Basically, you put on a hard hat, goggles and take a bat and start smashing stuff,” explains Summa. Yankees games, happy hours, holiday parties, and volunteering through the Kings Charitable Foundation as a group ensures that employees continue to enjoy working there.
PTI – Packaging Technologies & Inspection
Headquartered in Hawthorne, PTI – Packaging Technologies & Inspection is a leading equipment manufacturer of package inspection equipment for the pharmaceutical, medical device, food service, and container industries. The company has almost 60 employees working in manufacturing, sales, and R & D. “During COVID, we had to learn how to work in a remote environment,” explains Pam Gionta, HR manager.
Employee experience surveys underscore how much employees value the company’s flexible environment. The sales department in particular has flexible work hours. “With sales, we cover various parts of the world, so we may have calls late at night. It’s nice to know that I don’t have to be in early the next morning,” says Regional Sales Manager Jesse Sklar, who has worked at PTI for almost 15 years. Likewise, as COVID restrictions have eased and travel has picked up, Sklar appreciates knowing that he can do everything remotely the next day if he gets home on a late flight.
During COVID, the company looked at other ways employees could do remote work. “We even had the manufacturing department employees taking home kits initially to do small things like tooling from their garages, so we could keep everyone productive and safe,” notes Gionta.
Gionta is always challenging herself to think creatively on how to keep the workplace fun. PTI has held chili cook-offs, food truck events, and outings to Mets games. A particular success was a holiday diversity luncheon with various countries’ flags decorating the office, where employees bought food from their native country or ethnic background. “It’s really wonderful to walk out onto the manufacturing floor and be surrounded by flags of our countries. Events like this keep everyone connected and make the work experience more pleasant,” she adds.