TZL 1355 (web)

Challenges of working remotely T R E N D L I N E S A u g u s t 3 , 2 0 2 0 , I s s u e 1 3 5 5 W W W . T H E Z W E I G L E T T E R . C O M

In this year of upheaval and change, the most important component of any successful firm remains the same. Hiring in 2020

2 020 has sure been a year of upheaval and change. Like much of the world, the AEC industry has been turned upside down with massive workplace changes, project cancellations, travel restrictions, and other new challenges presented by COVID-19. One thing hasn’t changed – the need for qualified people – the most important component of any successful firm. For the past few years, recruitment and retention has been the number one issue facing firm leaders in the AEC industry – today, it’s second only to concerns about the economy (Zweig Group COVID-19 Survey). At the start of 2020, median staff growth hit 3.6 percent, the highest rate in three years ( 2020 Financial Performance Survey ). From June 2019 to June 2020, Zweig Group surveyed 103 different firms on their policies, procedures, and benefits. We took this research and combined it with 110 unique organization responses to Zweig Group’s 2020 Best Firms To Work For Program, a process that includes assessment of both corporate policies and metrics as well as employee responses to a survey on experiences, to compile the 2020 Policies, Procedures & Benefits Report of AEC Firms . With workplace, hiring, and retention on the forefront, human resources expenses have climbed for AEC firms. This survey found total HR spending has climbed over the past 10 years, going from a median of 0.9 percent of NSR in 2010 to 1.7 percent this past year. The likelihood of a firm having at least one full-time person devoted to HR was commensurate with firm size, with 76 percent of firms surveyed reporting at least one full-time person dedicated to human resources. Less than 20 percent of firms with fewer than 25 employees, and just over half of firms with 25 to 49 employees, reported an HR department. For firms without HR departments, many firms rely on their president/CEO or head of finance/admin to handle HR type job duties. Hiring and recruitment often relies heavily on marketing departments. Recruiting isn’t an easy or cheap task. Last year, firms spent an average of $9,454 on each new hire, even for those who rely heavily on word of mouth (44 percent of respondents report this as their greatest source of new hires). The next most popular method to recruit was listed by only 15 percent of respondents – internet advertising, followed by college recruitment. While I don’t think word of mouth (or email/text/phone call) is going to lose its power anytime soon, I do think we’ll see internet advertising grow in importance very quickly this year. When asked to rank what factors contribute most to being able to hire successfully, firms most heavily weighted a “good work

In Zweig Group’s Best Firms To Work For survey, thousands of workers in the AEC industry were asked about life working from home. In particular, they were asked what their biggest challenge was when working from home between five options. The top two challenges were work/life balance at 27 percent and distractions at 26 percent. When breaking it down by age, we see that the 36 to 45 year old age range had the largest issues with work/life balance while the youngest age range had the most issues with distractions. Participate in a survey and save 50 percent on the final or pre- publication price of any Zweig Group research publication. F I R M I N D E X Garver.....................................................4 JQ Engineering. ....................................10 KPW Structural Engineers.......................4 Linbeck.................................................12 Salas O’Brien..........................................4 Skiles Group. ........................................12 Ulteig. .....................................................6 Ware Malcomb......................................10 MO R E A R T I C L E S xz MARK ZWEIG: How you may be demotivating people Page 3 xz Dependable: Doug Jaeger Page 6 xz MITCHELL SHOPE: Unconscious bias Page 9 xz KEYAN ZANDY & JOE DONARUMO: Why Lean? Page 11

Christina Zweig Niehues

See CHRISTINA ZWEIG NIEHUES, page 2

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