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CHA Consulting staff enjoying an open house at the firm’s Boston office.

to gain better insight into the organization and employee needs to improve the retention and attraction of staff in a very competitive, resource-constrained environment. This effort resulted in a complete training roadmap to equip people managers with the competencies, tools, and resources they need to continue to grow and develop as successful managers. “As a growing firm, another challenge specific to CHA is the continuing need to scale efficiently and effectively to be responsive to clients and realize the benefits of expanded capabilities and services across new geographies and markets,” he says. And, there’s no magic bullet for success. “It’s rather a combination of skills and qualities continually developing and evolving as circumstances change,” Stephenson shares. Some skills he believes are essential elements of success include: establishing a clear vision and expectations; being collaborative and open to the exchange of ideas; being responsive to employees and clients; surrounding yourself internally and externally with successful people with different experiences; developing a high level of trust; and most importantly, leading with integrity and empathy. He’s also learned, over time, that patience is critical to success. “Not everyone or every process will operate at the pace at which you may want to go. While positive, forward momentum and achieving progress are important elements of success, it should not be at the expense of failing to solicit critical input and feedback to ensure you are setting yourself up for the best opportunity to achieve success. Learning from failures (as painful as they may be) often provides valuable experience toward future success,” he says.


and IRA exerting pressure to deploy and energize projects more quickly and increasing the need for design/build and alternative project delivery. Firms across the industry are experiencing a realization of investments being made in technology/digitization as well as AI in a resource-constrained and more complex-interconnected design world, in addition to the continued consolidation of what is still a highly-fragmented industry. “The challenge to our industry and CHA is meeting the growing demand for our services in a resource-constrained environment,” Stephenson says. “Ultimately, creating a fun, engaging, and entrepreneurial company culture that employees want to be a part of is key.” He believes that hiring and retaining talent will continue to be a challenge and CHA is strategically sourcing and hiring highly- skilled new staff, while focusing on the retention of current staff by creating a differentiated employee experience driven by the needs of its workforce. CHA is heavily investing in the training and development of people managers, recognizing there is a difference between being a great technical or project manager and a manager who can lead and engage teams effectively. “We recently hired a dedicated, professional manager of training and development to lead and guide our training efforts more formally as we continue our aggressive growth and add new staff to the organization,” Stephenson says. With the help of an industry-leading outside consulting firm, CHA has conducted a deep dive into its employee experience

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