- A Virginia contractor is diving into its profits to show its workers appreciation for their dedication through the COVID-19 pandemic.
- HITT Contracting, based in Falls Church, Virginia, is distributing $4 million to staff on a sliding scale, starting with bonuses of $1,000 and reaching as high as $10,000, according to HITT Co-President Jeremy Bardin. About 60% of the company's 1,300 employees received the bonuses, Bardin told Construction Dive.
- While the bulk of the funds went to the frontline workers on jobsites, the company also recognized its human resources department, IT professionals and other departments in the company for their work during the pandemic, according to a press release.
Bardin said that he hesitated to call the funds "hazard pay," and instead referred to the bonuses as "appreciation pay." When COVID-19 gripped the U.S. last year, construction workers at firms across the country became role models in how to mitigate the effects of the global pandemic. Despite the risks to themselves and their families, contractors found ways to keep working even as other businesses shut down.
Even in hard-hit areas, most construction work was deemed "essential," necessary to the function of society. Bardin said the company's bonus program seeks to thank workers for their bravery and dedication.
"When you deal in the construction industry, our superintendents and our site marshals and our safety team members, they wanted to be out there, they wanted to be implementing these new policies [and] processes that we have on our projects, and they wouldn't stay home. And so it's more of an appreciation for their hard work," Bardin said.
Bardin said the site marshal is a new position, created during the pandemic, that serves as an unbiased watchdog to ensure that all the company's safety and health protocols are being followed.
"We also wanted it kind of as a separate chain of custody or chain of command for us so there would be no outside influence or other influences, like 'Oh, wait a minute, we have to get the job done and we got to work late so I can't necessarily clean the Porta Johns or ask the five questions at the gate.' We wanted to have a very focused, laser-focused effort, and so we came up with the term 'site marshal,'" Bardin said.
HITT Contracting had a revenue of $2.5 billion in 2020, high enough to make No. 32 on Engineering News Record’s list of the top 400 contractors of the year.
The appreciation pay is a concrete way the company can spread the wealth around to its employees. HITT CEO Kim Roy credited frontline workers with keeping the business chugging along as the pandemic tightened its grip on the economy.
"These team members made us stronger, exemplified dedication and grit, and kept American construction running. The success of our firm in the most challenging times is thanks to our frontline workers," Roy said