Where would you find a table laden with curried goat, kielbasa, mofongo, macaroni and cheese, and trifle? Your first guess probably wouldn’t be at a remodeling company holiday party. But international fare and a diverse workforce characterize Rusk Renovations, in Riverdale, N.Y.
At this high-end remodeling company serving Manhattan, owner John Rusk and his wife, Mary Kocy, vice president, “work consciously to create a structure to allow maximum diversity,” Kocy says. Via trade schools, referrals, foreign-language newspapers, and on-the-ground recruiting, Kocy says they are able to attract “the best practicing craftspeople who reflect the diversity of populations working in our field.” Currently, Rusk Renovations’ 47 employees hale from Trinidad, Russia, Poland, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Uzbekistan, Italy, Lithuania, and the U.S.
An open company culture, along with a written plan, keep things running smoothly. Kocy, a certified SPHR (senior professional in human resources), says that they haven’t experienced “discord,” but they address that potential proactively with an anti-harassment policy and anti-harassment and diversity training.
All Rusk Renovations hires must meet a certain skill level in English for best team interaction and safety reasons as well as have a high level of professionalism and top construction skills. Companywide training ensures that all employees, no matter their native tongue, speak the same work language.
The benefits of diversity, the least of which is delicious party food, outweigh potential issues. “Interaction among people fosters the kind of harmony we want in our workforce,” Kocy says.