PCL is a leader in the construction industry for attracting and retaining excellent employees and is known for offering a challenging and supportive work environment that promotes professional and personal growth. But this doesn’t happen by accident. One of the ways this is done, is by relying on current employees to bring new ones into the company who will fit PCL’s culture. PCL Construction’s unique employee-ownership model creates an environment where employees are invested in the success of the company, and this is shown through PCL’s high referral rate.
Project manager Chad Kaldal and BC politicians
pose for a photo at a media event for the Wood
Innovation and Design Centre.
Chad Kaldal and Jesse Kupiak
celebrate graduating from the applied
science (civil engineering) program at
“We will always interview a candidate who is referred to us by an employee,” said Sheila Meyer, manager of talent acquisition strategies for human resources at PCL’s United States head office in Denver. “Employee referrals strengthen our employer brand because our employees live the job every day. What they communicate to candidates is likely to be viewed as more authentic than messages on the corporate website. Employees want the best for this company, so they want to bring in people who will be a great fit at PCL.”
Employee-referral programs are especially effective in the case of highly specialized positions that might be difficult to fill through conventional channels. People tend to associate with others in their profession, which gives them access to specialized or rare talent.
The Perfect Example
Jesse Kupiak and Chad Kaldal met in 1999 at the University of British Columbia where both were enrolled in the civil engineering program, and it didn’t take long for the two to become close friends. Kaldal was the one who piqued Kupiak’s interest in construction. Shortly after finishing school, Kaldal was hired into the construction industry and moved to the United States, while Kupiak started working for PCL Vancouver.
“My first project, as a field engineer, was very interesting and presented me with an extremely steep learning curve,” said Jesse Kupiak, project manager. “Fresh out of school, I packed my bags and moved to Whistler to build the Four Seasons Residences. The project presented a number of challenges with regard to the site conditions, weather, and the lack of experienced local tradespeople, but luckily there was another strong PCL team working nearby willing to offer their support.”
Kupiak and Kaldal remained close and kept in touch over the years. “As Chad’s project was winding down, I saw an opportunity to try and get him on board at PCL,” said Kupiak. “We are always on the lookout for strong industry leaders like Chad. I knew that he would bring his valuable experience and strong work ethic to PCL. I did not hesitate in recommending him to our senior management.”
Kaldal knew how much Kupiak enjoyed working at PCL, so he took Kupiak’s word and applied for a project management job, and has not looked back. He’s been with the company for two years now and already has an award-winning project under his belt.
“I have just completed the Wood Innovation and Design Centre project in Prince George, BC, which is without question my most rewarding career achievement,” said Kaldal. “It was many firsts for me: my first job with PCL, my first design-build project, and my first time being the sole project manager on a job. It was a true team effort that made it not only a successful project, but one that everyone involved is extremely proud of.”
Kaldal has temporarily relocated to the United States to be part of the American Dream project in New Jersey.
“It’s been an exciting two years, and I’m really liking it at PCL. I have found that PCL is a very employee-focused construction company, and the teamwork here is incredible.”