What You Should Know
Much as Geotechnical & Environmental Services Inc. (GES) focuses on solid foundations, employees here find solid ground with paid health insurance, friendly co-workers and good communication. Staff members praise their managers for being approachable, honest and celebrating their people. And when the President is away, they enjoy casual dress days, complete with root beer floats and banana splits. Because the most recent economic slump hit this company's salary range hard, those looking for the top-tier pay scale might not find it here at the moment. But the company is rebounding and doing what it can to give bonuses and plan for future compensation increases. “This company is very big on making sure employees are happy,” says one employee, “and they find new ways to make people happy all the time.”
WHAT THEY DO
GES provides geotechnical and environmental consulting services to government agencies, private developers and contractors. The company's services include earth materials testing, risk assessment, site monitoring, materials testing and inspection during construction, environmental studies and ground source heat exchange.
||US Headquarters: Las Vegas, Nevada
|US Sites: 2
||Major Locations: Las Vegas, NV; Mesquite, NV
|US Employees: 32
||US revenues: $2.9 million
How much responsibility would I have? What kind of support is there for professional development?
Great Rated! conducted an anonymous survey of randomly selected employees to assess the quality of the workplace challenges the company provides. At GES, 84 percent of employees report the company often or almost always provides needed training, fair promotions and personally challenging work. Another 9 percent report the company sometimes provides these opportunities, for a combined positive rating from 93 percent of employees in the Great Challenges category.
GES provides geotechnical and environmental consulting services to governmental agencies and private developers. The company has approximately 32 employees (mostly project engineers and special inspectors) in Nevada, where they operate two locations.
An overwhelming majority of employees (96 percent) say they carry a lot of responsibility in the organization, and most (78 percent) also say that managers trust them to carry out these responsibilities without micromanaging them. For the majority of employees (74 percent), their work at GES has special meaning and is more than just a job.
At GES, 78 percent of employees feel they receive the training and development they need to further their careers. While it is often difficult for companies to ensure that promotions are awarded fairly across organizations, at GES, 78 percent also say that promotions consistently go to those who best deserve them, within 7 percentage points of what one can typically expect at even the very best companies in the country.
Supporting Employee Development
- Average annual training for part-time hourly employees: 60 hours
- Average annual training for full-time salaried employees: 200 hours
- GES holds monthly "1-2-1" coaching sessions, which serve as an opportunity for staff to meet with their supervisors to discuss job performance and set specific goals. This also gives them a chance to discuss work standards, areas of improvement, career development and anything else the staff member wants to talk about.
In this company we are given a monthly evaluation called a one-to-one meeting, where you meet with your supervisor and discuss your performance as well as set goals, both personal and professional, that will help you further yourself as an individual and as a part of the company. I cherish these meetings because it gives you a unique opportunity to see how you are assessed and ways in which you could better yourself whether it be through activities outside the company or training within it. It also provides a forum for you to speak candidly to your supervisor and glean information from someone who knows the business better than yourself. For me at least, this type of proactive assessment is unique to this company.
What would my colleagues be like? How do people have fun? How formal a workplace is it?
At GES, 87 percent of employees say they often or almost always enjoy their colleagues and find their workplace to be fun and cooperative. Another 8 percent sometimes benefits from these qualities, for a combined positive rating from 95 percent of employees in the Great Atmosphere category.
Fun and Celebrations
- GES has fun with the company bowling league, the "Not So Civil Strikers." The company also participates in the Las Vegas Corporate Challenge events.
- When the GES president is away from the office, employees enjoy impromptu casual dress days with banana splits or root beer floats.
Caring and Support
- The company generally allows people to take time off or adjust their schedules when needed, as long as they put in a request in advance. GES also recognizes events in employees' lives by giving out birthday cards and movie tickets, announcing achievements (sometimes with a spot bonus) and sending flowers for marriages or funerals.
People celebrate special events around here.
Every day when I come to work I feel like I'm coming to my second home to see family. Everyone here is close to one another, we all know what's going on in each other's lives and I absolutely love it. It makes it easier to come to work knowing that it's a friendly work environment where you can joke around with people once in a while.
What kind of perks and benefits are part of the employment package? What is the work-life balance like? Does the company appreciate hard work?
At GES, 72 percent of employees often or almost always find the company compensates them fairly, provides special and unique benefits, supports their work-life balance and shows genuine appreciation for their contributions. Another 19 percent reports they sometimes receive these benefits as well, for a combined positive rating from 91 percent of employees in the Great Rewards category.
There are quarterly staff star celebrations, gym membership dues and free T-shirts.
COMPENSATION BY THE NUMBERS
Company-paid health coverage for employees
Company-paid health coverage for dependents
PERKS TO MAKE LIFE EASIER
- Free beverages during the day
WORK-LIFE BALANCE BY THE NUMBERS
Holidays & vacation dayst
WORK-LIFE BALANCE PROGRAMS
I am able to take time off from work when I think it's necessary.
People are encouraged to balance their work life and their personal life.
They accommodate people's schedules as situations arise.
HEALTH INSURANCE COVERS
- Dental care
- Orthodontic care
- Alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, homeopathy or chiropractic
- Vision care
- Medical care
- Long and short term disablity insurance
ONSITE HEALTH BENEFITS
- Subsidized offsite gym memberships
What inspires employees' company spirit here? Do people stand by their teams' work? What impact do people have outside the organization?
At GES, 83 percent of employees report that they often or almost always carry meaningful responsibilities within the organization and are proud of their accomplishments, community impact and the company's reputation in the world. Another 13 percent report that they sometimes experience this pride as well, for a combined positive rating from 96 percent of employees in the Great Pride category.
GES aims to be a key, innovative fixture in geotechnical engineering. The company studies the ground, investigating its properties and collecting soil samples. It then provides recommendations for how best to construct a building safely on that soil, and when it's time for construction, GES tests the materials to be used there.
I'm proud to tell others I work here.
Supporting the Community
- GES has provided materials testing and observation services (in conjunction with Pulte Homes) for Operation Finally Home, a non-profit organization that provides custom-built, mortgage-free homes to wounded or disabled veterans and the widows of veterans. The company provides employees with the opportunity to partner with Ronald McDonald House, volunteering their time to prepare dinner for families there. GES also partners with United Way and will match 100 percent of employees' contributions to the charity they choose.
I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.
How easy is it to talk with managers and get the information I need? Will managers listen to my input?
At GES, 81 percent of employees say they often or almost always experience a free and transparent exchange of ideas and information within the organization. Another 14 percent sometimes has this experience as well, for a combined positive rating from 95 percent of employees in the Great Communication category.
With two sites in Nevada – and staff working both at the offices and in the field – GES employees report that their leadership team's strongest communication skill is its accessibility: 85 percent describe their leaders as approachable and easy to talk with. Similarly, more than eight out of 10 believe that they can ask their leaders any reasonable question and get a straight answer, and that managers genuinely seek out and respond to employee suggestions. Most staffers (81 percent) also say the leadership team keeps them informed about important issues and changes in the company, and slightly fewer (78 percent) feel they know what is expected of them.
They are upfront with their future plans for the company, so that you know what to expect in the future.
What are managers' leadership strengths?
At GES, 84 percent of employees say their managers often or almost always act with integrity and care, are competent in their positions and provide clear directions and vision for the organization. Another 10 percent say their managers sometimes display these characteristics, for a combined positive rating from 94 percent of employees in the Great Bosses category.
GES employees widely appreciate the family atmosphere and straightforward communication that their leaders encourage at the company. Staffers also tend to view their bosses as trustworthy and effective. A striking 93 percent believe that the leadership team is both honest and ethical in its business practices. Similarly, 89 percent say managers deliver on their promises, and 85 percent report that their actions match their words. Nearly nine out of 10 employees agree that their leaders are competent at running the business and have a clear view of where it's going and how to get there. The majority of staff members (78 percent) feel that their managers avoid playing favorites and show a sincere interest in them as individuals, not just employees.
When bringing someone up the ladder, the people training are very patient and helpful. Never discouraging and demeaning.
Great Perks and Programs
- Monthly Coaching Sessions: Employees can get a feel for how they're doing every month with "1-2-1" coaching sessions. These sessions are an opportunity for staff to meet with their supervisors to discuss job performance and set specific goals for their career development.
- Recognizing Staff Stars: At quarterly events, all employees gather over a free lunch to hear about the company's direction and engage in fun team-building activities. The event is also an opportunity to recognize the employee who has received the most nominations from co-workers for recognition and rewards (including a gift card and and trophy) as the "Staff Star."
- Bowling League: GES has sponsored a company bowling league called the “Not So Civil Strikers.” The team members are comprised of other individuals who are also involved with community development. Each Thursday, the 30 teams bowl and spend the rest of the workweek bantering about what happened.
- Corporate Challenge: GES actively participates in the Las Vegas Corporate Challenge event, a team-building exercise that has 36 different events such as basketball, bocce, golf, poker, tennis, softball and volleyball. Staff members who choose not to actively participate in the events often sit on the sidelines and cheer on their colleagues.
- Full Health Coverage: GES pays 100 percent of an employee's health care premium.
Great Rated! collected feedback from GES employees via an anonymous survey. Following are common reasons employees said they appreciate their workplace.
"We have a quarterly staff star to recognize the employees that go above and beyond."
"I have the opportunity to grow my career. I get to work with awesome people who are helpful, knowledgeable and fun to work with."
"There's a family-like environment."
"The company holds family-oriented events, and going the extra mile is typically recognized in some way."
"When bringing someone up the ladder, the people training are very patient and helpful, never discouraging and demeaning."
"We take care of each other."
"People are respectful of each other."
"We have fun at work when we can. We celebrate staff and their accomplishments. We welcome new staff with open arms."
"It is very employee-oriented."
"This company is very big on making sure employees are happy and finds new ways to make people happy all the time."
"Opportunity to grow my career. I get to work with awesome people who are helpful, knowledgeable and fun to work with."
"Every day when I come to work I feel like I'm coming to my second home to see family. Everyone here is close to one another, we all know what's going on in each other's lives, and I absolutely love it. It makes it easier to come to work knowing that it's a friendly work environment where you can joke around with people once in a while. The quarterly staff recognition event is a lot of fun and we always have random potlucks once in a while to bring people together. We decorate for holidays, recognize staff's anniversary dates with the company as well as birthdays, the list goes on."
How to Get Hired
We asked GES for some inside information on how to get hired at the organization. Here is what they had to say.
What key characteristics tell you a prospective employee will be a great fit for your company?
A key characteristic would be if they enjoy working as a team, for a small employer and if they can tell us why they want to work for a great company. Of course, we want to hire the best talent, and we tend to hire applicants who match the personalities of existing staff.
What can prospective employees do to get your attention?
When we call for interviews, employees are asked to bring several questions either written down or typed up. They are also asked to bring a driving report. If they do, we can tell that they are capable of following basic directions. If they don't, we probably don't hire them. Also, if we state in the job ad to specify something on their application or to not phone us, and they do or don't, then we note that. Employees who put in the extra effort on an employment application stand out, as it shows they took the time to be thorough. Also, we like to hear applicants ask about all of our Best Place to Work nominations when they interview. It shows us that they did some research about our company.
Are there any unusual or especially rigorous steps of your hiring process that candidates should be aware of?
Being prepared with interview questions, having a driving record, going through our new hire grant program (we partner with the Latin Chamber of Commerce), a pre-employment drug test and sometimes completing a handwriting analysis.
Are there any positions or types of candidates you are particularly focused on hiring in this coming year?
This year, not really. We are primarily focused on strengthening our organization and building continuity to prepare us for the future and expanding our operations.
What should interested candidates do to find out more and get started?
Read our company website. We tend to ask them what they know about us when we interview.
||10Average number of applicants per opening
|47%Total voluntary turnover in past year
||500Applicants in past year
|1Openings in past year
||1%New hires by employee referrals