Overall, there was a smooth transition into this hybrid environment because RDG has always had teams and individuals working from all over the country, so they’ve intentionally built up a robust IT system in support of that approach. And it seems to be working. Not only has RDG developed a culture of trust among its staff, but also with its clients. Platts says that’s largely due to having the “say/do gap” be as small as possible. Sova agrees and emphasizes that you simply have to deliver what you promise. Within their teams, they’re always talking about how they can stay one step ahead of their clients so they can anticipate needs and expectations. “We’ve always been flexible, but now that flexibility has been codified. We’ve established hybrid work as an institutionalized benefit.” LIVING AND BREATHING THE MISSION. Anticipating staff needs is important too. When you walk into an RDG office, the work- life balance is evident. Platts says that if occasionally he has to work on a weekend, his kids have played on the floor and he’s been fortunate to be there whenever they’ve needed him. “Work and life are well integrated,” he says. Sova has been with RDG for 40 years and his family has been a part of that the whole time. They understand what he does and they’re proud of what RDG does as a company. “With everybody that I hire, I talk about my family, and I’m proud to tell them that I know I made 90-95 percent of all my kids’ activities when they were growing up. RDG takes a family-first approach, and that rings true in my own experience,” Sova says. In fact, it’s this overall family first culture that is among the things that staff gets most excited about. That – and being given the freedom to be creative and innovate. “People in our industry want that,” Sova says. “We have an open and collaborative environment that allows people to really do what they want to do and to not only work on projects, but actively direct and manage those projects.” There’s no hierarchy at RDG. They empower people at all levels to take ownership of their
work and their career path. They encourage flexibility in not just schedules, but also on the ability to move across project types. Additionally, RDG’s path to employee- ownership is faster than many design firms out there. “Our employees appreciate the opportunity to own a piece of the company and benefit from the success they’ve helped create,” Platts says. Much of that success is rooted in that “Create. Meaning. Together.” mission. The more they can be together, the more collaboration they have and the greater their perspectives, which makes them and their work better. In recent years, RDG has formed a DEI group to champion a goal of fostering a culture of empathy and understanding and to make the “together” aspect of their mission even stronger. And when people get hired, they also have access to numerous internal programs that promote leadership development and training. Because they’re a strengths-based organization, they really pay attention to people’s abilities so they can put them in positions where they will do well and provide ample opportunities for training and exposure to work and lead people. “People serve in people-focused roles because they want to be in that job, not because they feel like it is required for career advancement,” Platts says. COMMUNITY/SCHOOL OUTREACH BENEFITS ALL. “One of our eight lifestyles is community, and RDG for a very long time has been actively participating in our community, especially through school programs and youth outreach,” Sova explains. “One way to increase diversity across all disciplines is to generate more interest in design – to talk about what we do and to show students what’s possible in pursuing design as a career.” “With everybody that I hire, I talk about my family, and I’m proud to tell them that I know I made 90-95 percent of all my kids’ activities when they were growing up. RDG takes a family-first approach, and that rings true in my own experience.”
HEADQUARTERS: RDG’s leadership and workforce is distributed across the country, so the firm doesn’t refer to one location as its headquarters. NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 196 YEAR FOUNDED: 1965 OFFICE LOCATIONS: ■ ■ Denver, CO ■ ■ Des Moines, IA
■ ■ Iowa City, IA ■ ■ Omaha, NE ■ ■ St. Louis, MO ■ ■ And a significant
distributed workforce across the U.S.
MARKETS: College & University, Community & Regional Planning, Corporate, Early Learning, Government, Healthcare, K-12, Multifamily, Parks & Recreation, Public Art, Public Safety, Restoration, Senior Living, Senior Living Interiors, Sports, Urban Design, Worship SERVICES: Architecture, Integrated Art, Civil Engineering, Graphic Design, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, Lighting Design, Multimedia, Strategic
Facilities Planning, Sustainability, Water Resources
See CREATING MEANING TOGETHER, page 8
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GUST 8, 2022, ISSUE 1452
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