TZL 1351 (web)


BALANCE, from page 7

I think the biggest pitfall to avoid is putting it off and thinking you have plenty of time to make the transition. You could miss an opportunity to retain some of your best talent that could help grow the company in the future. TZL: Research shows that PMs are overworked, understaffed, and that many firms do not have formal training programs for PMs. What is your firm doing to support its PMs? BC: CORE has implemented several initiatives to make sure that we’re supporting our PMs including: ❚ ❚ Training. We’re developing internal training and using multiple external training resources for our PMs including Zweig Group’s Project Management for AEC Professionals seminar, year-long ACEC management training, and a plan for executive coaching for all our top leadership, not just project managers. If we want to be the best, we have to start at the top and improve ourselves first. We also encourage our PMs to participate in industry organizations and get involved in their training and mentorship programs. ❚ ❚ Balance. We’ve implemented – and continue to implement – policies that encourage life balance. We hire fully-functioning adults and trust them. We want our PMs to take their PTO so they have time to rest and rejuvenate. We also provide tools to give our PMs flexibility to work from home if they need to. I constantly tell all our employees that we can always work around life’s important moments. Putting work first and not being present for your kid’s school play or an important family event is not acceptable. ❚ ❚ Knowledge management. We’ve invested time and money in creating effective knowledge management tools to make sure we capture lessons-learned streamline efficiency. It’s still a work in process, but we have a great start. TZL: How do you unwind at the end of the day? Work/ life balance seems important at CORE. How do you make sure you follow suit? BC: Life balance is important to CORE and one of the primary reasons that I started this company. In all reality though, it’s a constant balance for me to fit it all in. Sometimes I do well and sometimes I don’t. Remembering the “why” behind starting CORE is a good reminder to ensure that I reserve time for my family now. If you don’t live for now, time will pass and those special moments are gone. I don’t know if true work/life balance exists. However, companies can make it a primary focus and it must start at the top. Basically, what all employees (including me) are looking for is trust and flexibility from their employer, supervisor, and team. With a culture that supports balance, employees should feel empowered to make work and life decisions, regardless of when the moments fall during the week. For me, my ideal way of unwinding is spending some time on my mountain bike in Winter Park and enjoying a good Colorado or Oregon IPA at sunset. TZL: Diversity and inclusion are lacking. What steps are you taking to address the issue? BC: Diversity and inclusion are a huge problem in our industry. Yet, as we are desperate for finding top talent and keeping it, we ignore this issue. The paradigm

needs to shift. Conversations about diversity need to be normalized, not relegated to “we’ll get to it” or change the subject because it’s uncomfortable. Additionally, the side conversations and water cooler talk must stop. We need to make the office a safe and trustworthy space for everyone. This is not a problem for the groups affected to fix. We, as company leaders, must actually lead and set the standard, expectations, and accountabilities. Those companies that don’t get on board will not be sustainable. Diversity is not something you just check the box after a training or hire, then move on. A huge component of our work at CORE is the overall problem solving and collaboration of people. If you don’t have that diversity and you’re only getting one side or only a few different segments of what people can offer, you’re not providing the best service you can for your clients. Those that figure this out and embrace it, will have a strategic advantage over the competition. CORE supports programs including Zweig Group’s ElevateHER, Denver’s STEMBlazers, Women in Energy, and the Society of Women Engineers to be part of the solution in shifting the culture. It’s more than just lip- service to us. We want to be part of the solution. TZL: A firm’s longevity is valuable. What are you doing to encourage your staff to stick around? BC: Competitive pay, benefits, and perks are great things to offer employees, but I’m convinced that our employees don’t stay because of these things alone. Keeping our employees around for the long-term comes back to a cultured-centered approach. In addition, some of our benefits and community engagement programs are designed to align with our company values. For example, we offer our employees an “Opt-Outside” program that reimburses them up to $500 per year to get outside and enjoy our beautiful state. Employees use this benefit for ski passes, camping gear, national park passes, and more. The program promotes personal health, wellness, and physical outdoor activity by encouraging staff to disconnect, unplug and recharge. We could just add that $500 to their bonuses, but this unique program encourages behavior that aligns with our culture and values. And what we’re doing is working. Many of our employees just laugh and then tell us when a recruiter calls them! CORE staff getting involved with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, an organization that motivates and enables people to become active stewards of Colorado’s natural resources.

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