Isthmus Named on 100 Best Companies to Work For List


At Isthmus, we believe in high-quality work, while also prioritizing workplace values that allow our staff to unapologetically balance their career with their personal lives. And while we’re proud of our work in this space, we are both humbled and honored to be named one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For by Minnesota Business (2018) and awarded the When Work Works award by Society for Human Resource Management (2017).

Our company was founded by a working mother, which organically led to a workplace that offered a few more flexible perks than other engineering firms in our space. Over time, that led to a growing culture that really sets Isthmus apart.

One of the first things new employees notice is that we don’t have a true hierarchy approach to staffing. Everyone chips in where they can with a positive attitude, without regard to job titles.

Another thing new employees notice is our unique approach to scheduling employee time. We offer what we refer to as “customized schedules” for every employee that works for us. This means that everyone chooses a set, predictable schedule that they create around their life’s priorities while also meeting project commitments.

Workplace flexibility at Isthmus started long before the trend. Back when we were just getting started, one of our first employees didn’t want to leave her career to become a stay-at-home-parent. That said, she needed more flexibility to balance the workload that accompanies the role of a working mother.

We were able to create a scalable workload for her that ebbed and flowed with her life and our workload. Twelve years later, she has been able to stay active in the industry, accumulating significant wisdom and experience, without sacrificing her family in the process. Truth be told, we recognize her as a key resource and leader within our organization and are grateful that she was willing to partner with us in our flexible environment.

Finally, we really celebrate learning. We all work hard to own our work and take constructive feedback where necessary. Part of our role is to help our employees learn from their mistakes and stretch themselves – that’s part of who we are.

We have a category of time in our billing system called “professional development time.” We encourage our team to use it at their discretion to keep up with changing standards, learn new skills, expand their knowledge into other areas of mastery, and attend educational events and conferences.

Our workplace works because we fundamentally trust our staff. We’ve found that offering a high level of autonomy allows our staff to be more focused and productive when they’re working. Because our team can take care of personal priorities outside of the office as it works for them, they’re not trying to do two things at once when they’re in the office – the hours that they work are spent in a focused headspace.

It’s truly affirming to be recognized as a leader in flexible employment practices. The most meaningful thing about these workplace awards is that they demonstrate to our industry as a whole that high-quality work delivered on time and on-budget can be done in a way that doesn’t burn out employees, and keeps them involved and engaged in the industry throughout all phases of their personal lives.

That’s powerful – and we truly hope it inspires other firms to test some of these non-traditional initiatives within their own company and see the impact it can make firsthand.

Isthmus Engineering
500 Jackson Street
Saint Paul, MN 55101
(651) 288-0300
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Minnesota Business, 100 best companies to work for, 2018 winner
When Work Works Award Winner
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