TZL 1475 (web)


We are very intentional in how we recruit and promote. It’s about having the right people on the team and making sure they are in a role where they can be successful. We assess past behavior to help predict future behavior, alignment with our values and philosophies, competencies, and potential. We believe it’s equally important to drill down into what they really want. Sometimes people think they want to be a manager but in reality, they simply don’t. I believe it is a disservice to that person, company, and team if a hire or promotion happens out of need versus readiness and willingness to be great in that role. When the person wants the role, they understand the role, and they have the competencies to perform, CORE provides training, guidance, and exposure to professional development opportunities for continuous learning and improvement. Managing people is hard and it will never be perfect. We are complex human beings! If we show up with the best intentions, work with our people to help facilitate growth, and provide continuous feedback, we’re on the right track. That is what we expect from our managers (and ourselves). TZL: Your ElevateHER® Cohort group focused on getting people back into the industry through a back-to-work program. What did you see as the benefits of “returnships” for both those returning to the industry and for the firms? KK: Returnships provide an “on ramp” for those getting reacclimated to the workforce, providing a space to relearn principles and readjust to the office environment, while still providing value to projects and the firm. An ideal returnship will provide an experiential opportunity for the returner, while giving him/her the confidence to train in new settings and teams in the modern office setting. In turn, firms are given the option of working with experienced employees and gaining new, diverse talent. These programs also provide firms with an immediate opportunity to increase the number of mid-career and senior talent on staff. TZL: Does your firm work closely with any higher education institutions to gain access to the latest technology, experience, and innovation and/or recruiting to find qualified resources? KK: We do. On the recruiting front, we work closely with colleges that have programs aligned with what we do. More importantly, in my opinion, is working closely with colleges whose values align with ours, specifically those that have a strong emphasis on diversity and inclusion and actively seek students with varying backgrounds and experiences. We have a couple of partnerships already, and we strive to build upon what we currently have with out-of-state colleges to provide an even more diverse pool of candidates who could potentially work with us in the future. Who doesn’t want to move to Colorado? TZL: In one word or phrase, what do you describe as your number one job responsibility? KK: To provide an environment where people can do their best work.

STAYING TRUE, from page 7

TZL: What type of leader do you consider yourself to be? KK: I would say I’m a leader who is ever evolving and growing. I want to do better than yesterday. I see imperfections and strive to improve. When I know better, I try hard to do better. And I expect that from my team. I never expect perfection. What I do expect is self-reflection, admitting faults, and learning from mistakes. TZL: CORE was an early supporter of ElevateHER®, and supports many other diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout the AEC industry. Can you speak to the motivation behind this? Why is it important to CORE to support these causes? KK: The overarching reason is simply because it’s the right thing to do. If we can be part of positive change that provides equal opportunities for every person, no matter how big or small, we want to be part of that. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it’s also good for business. Having a diverse group of people who think differently will ultimately provide our clients with the most unique solutions to their projects. “ElevateHER® gave me greater insight into the challenges facing the AEC industry, specifically with recruitment and retention and the need to really focus on what matters most – fixing systemic issues around diversity, equity, and inclusion.” TZL: What benefits does your firm offer that your people get most excited about? KK: We offer a program, “OptOutside” (shout out to REI) that reimburses employees up to $500 per year to spend on outdoor activities. For example, ski passes, new running shoes, bikes, hiking/fishing gear – anything that will encourage employees to reset, recharge, and do the things that they’re passionate about. We live in the beautiful state of Colorado – who wouldn’t want to be outside? Giving back to the community is a CORE value and very important to our employees. Excitement comes from helping those in need by providing our time and expertise. It not only helps our community, but it fosters teamwork, positive relationships, and belonging. CORE offers up to 16 hours to employees per year as volunteer-time off to spend time away from work and in the community. TZL: It is often said that people leave managers, not companies. What are you doing to ensure that your firm’s line leadership are great people managers? KK: It all starts with having the right people in the right roles.

ELEVATEHER® SYMPOSIUM ElevateHER® is about the future of the AEC industry, and Zweig Group’s commitment to recruit, retain, and engage the best minds in the industry. Join us at the 2023 ElevateHER® Symposium, where we present select ElevateHER® projects, DEI-focused keynotes from industry leading change agents, powerful panel discussions, and practical mini workshops to all those who are ready to turn inspiration into action. Click here to learn more!

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