APA Center for Organizational Excellence: National Winner

The Awards

Small For-Profit Category

Bowers + Kubota Consulting

Building Well-Being

Hawaii – The architectural and engineering firm of Bowers + Kubota Consulting embodies the spirit of kama‘aina (“child of the land”), the Hawaiian word for a long-term island resident. Established by military veterans in 1980, the firm specializes in architecture, construction and project development. On any given day, employees are widely dispersed throughout Hawaii and the Pacific Rim. But they’re always together in spirit, thanks to B+K’s strong sense of family.

Employee Involvement

The nature of B+K’s business demands that the majority of its employees are away at construction field offices throughout the state and beyond. But because a family environment is one of its core values, the firm provides numerous opportunities for staff to meet at both professional and social events throughout the year. These activities include quarterly Adopt-a-Highway cleanups on three islands, a picnic, charity walks, food drives, sports teams, gatherings at athletic events, fitness activities, a golf tournament, a Christmas party and a robust mentoring program.

Health and Safety

B+K is constantly improving its wellness practices through valued input from the employee-run wellness committee (see Fitter By Design). B+K starts by paying 100 percent of staff and family medical, dental, prescription and vision plans—a rarity for companies in Hawaii. The firm hosts an annual health fair, weight-loss challenges, flu shot clinics, lunchtime learning sessions, as well as employee sports teams, health classes and other activities. A yearly $200 wellness reimbursement can be used for gym memberships and fitness equipment. By popular demand, B+K recently added mental health services and holistic health practices to the wellness program.

Employee Growth and Development

A recent employee survey surfaced a desire for more structured advancement opportunities. In response, the firm created several new tiers of management to reward those on a career path and to make the organizational structure easier to navigate. Plus, the HR manager meets with all employees individually two to three times a year to discuss career planning, short- and long-term goals, training and development and wellness goals and progress.

Work-Life Balance

B+K strongly believes that a better life makes for better work. Self-directed project teams ensure that team members have the flexibility to take care of themselves and their families. Employees are also able to bring their children to work, flex their time, telecommute and take leave when necessary. The firm offers paid time off instead of sick leave and encourages employees to use it, when needed, to recharge. Employees can also earn extra paid time off, of up to eight hours for doing community service. In addition to having national holidays off, B+K employees can choose a floating day off from among three additional state holidays.

Employee Recognition

Acknowledging employees for a job well done is a key part of the firm’s culture that starts at the top. Staff meetings provide the opportunity to recognize and reward employees for positive client feedback, licensure or certification, excellence in the company’s Whip It! wellness program and participation in company committees or events. In addition, B+K treats its employees to a birthday lunch at a restaurant of their choice that is attended by their current work team, their direct supervisors and the owners themselves. But the rewards are more than simply social; they’re financial, too. The firm presents occasional on-the-spot bonuses to employees who complete a project above and beyond expectations. And when the company does well, it pays bonuses twice a year in addition to its 401(k) matching, profit-sharing program and cost-of-living raises.

The Bottom Line

Ohana, Hawaiian for family, is one of the core values at B+K, and it isn’t taken lightly. The owners of B+K value meeting and getting to know each and every employee and their families personally. It is a win-win situation for all; engaged employees result in higher productivity and the quality service they provide keeps current clients happy and even attracts new accounts. In many ways, B+K has redefined the phrase “family business.”

"Secunda Marine and it's employees are honored to have been recognized by the American Psychological Association as a company that promotes a Psychologically Healthy Workplace. Positive recognition such as this confirms that Secunda and it's employees are headed in the right direction by continually striving to be a Psychologically Healthy Workplace."

Steve Widmeyer
Manager, Human Resources
Secunda Marine Services Ltd.