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Employee productivity

We’re about to be short on leaders in AEC industry firms. It’s time to act now before it’s too late. Leadership shortage

In Zweig Group’s AEC Workplace of the Future survey , firm participants are asked about current and future policies in their company as well as their current personal ideals. For example, participants were asked to rate their current productivity level versus their productivity level pre-pandemic. Participants that work from home expressed that their productivity level was generally higher now. Participants that primarily work at the office or on the road said that their productivity level remained the same. The other participants that worked a hybrid model fell in-between. The main purpose of this is not to compare the options one-to-one, but to understand your staff and implement policies with them in mind. Participate in a survey and save 50 percent on the final or pre- publication price of any Zweig Group research publication.

T alk to almost anyone in an AEC firm today and they’ll tell you that their firm needs to hire someone. Zweig Group data supports this (check out the 2022 Recruitment and Retention Report ) with AEC firms overwhelmingly reporting their biggest hiring need is professionals with seven to 10 years of experience. People in this range are our industry’s next generation of leaders; we can’t afford to have a

Christina Zweig Niehues

shortage now, or in the future! Why do we have this issue?

■ ■ Workers in the AEC industry with seven to 10 years of experience are dropping out of the workforce at a higher rate than any other group. ■ ■ This is also the time range when: † † The industry tends to lose women a lot faster than men † † Individuals experience the most “burnout” † † Employees with career aspirations often have to transition from technical work to more intense leadership/ management roles This is clearly reflected when we take a look at the data set for Zweig Group’s 2021 Best Firms To Work For, broken down by age range. Here’s what the data says: ■ ■ Those in the 26- to 35-year-old age range don’t feel well informed about firm financials. They rate their knowledge of this area in the firm overall, as well as on the projects they work, lower than other older age groups. ■ ■ Those in this age range don’t feel they are well groomed for success in the future and recognize a need for more formalized ownership transition at their firms. According to our Best Firms To Work For data, this age range ranks the following statements lower on a scale of one to five than other age groups: “My firm’s leaders plan well for the future by doing things like grooming future leaders and planning for ownership transition,” “My level of authority accurately reflects my level of responsibility,” and “My workload is appropriate.”

F I R M I N D E X BL Companies, Inc.............................................10

ELEMENT................................................................... 6

HDR .................................................................................. 4

Urban Engineers.................................................... 4

Ware Malcomb..................................................... 12

MO R E A R T I C L E S n KENNETH FULMER: Women in remote-work environments Page 3 n Showing up consistently: Derek Gil Page 6 n JULIA DEFRANCES: Committees for engagement Page 9 n MARK ZWEIG: Solving your people shortage Page 11





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about the projects and ideas driving the AEC industry forward? Learn more with Civil+Structural Engineer Media.

■ ■ This age range also is more likely to be unhappy with compensation for overtime, compensation for extraordinary effort, and work-life balance (4.26/5 vs. 4.5/5 or higher for those older than 39 years of age). They are also least satisfied with parental leave, since they are most impacted by these policies (3.97/5 vs. 4.5/5 or higher for those over the age of 39). What can we do to help? Start with retention of the good people you have, and adequate preparation/resources for new hires! It’s clear that individuals in this age and experience range want to do more than just make money. They want to feel effective in their role and make an impact in their organization and on the people around them. This group also wants to feel prepared for challenges and learn from and relate to other people who are in similar situations. Training programs, like Zweig Group’s Leadership Skills for AEC Professionals can help. This course is designed for leaders at all levels with an emphasis on aspiring, emerging, and mid-level leaders. It’s intended to prepare professionals for their increasing roles and responsibilities as team leaders and client managers. Training programs for project managers can also help facilitate the transition from technical to management/leadership roles by helping people in these roles feel prepared, capable, and impactful in new roles. In addition to providing training opportunities, make sure your policies are contemporary and supportive of individuals in all age and experience levels in your organization. More than half of firms surveyed report they have added “flex-time for all employees” as a benefit during the previous two-year (pandemic) period. One of the top benefits of new flexible and remote work polices are that they have enabled firms to hire new candidates who might not have been considered pre-pandemic due to their preference for remote or work-from-home options. Firms that are rejecting these polices put themselves in a tenuous position – we’ve seen a lot of recruiters, even ones with small and mostly local practices, being hired to find remote workers for larger markets. This isn’t a surprise, but reinforces that the recruiting game will continue to change as some firms resist flexible work and other firms can hire people in other states through flexible work arrangements that are no longer bound by geographic restrictions. Fill your firm’s biggest hiring gap with leaders and future leaders! But in order to do so, firms are going to have to give these people the tools to succeed and the opportunity to set their own schedules in a responsible manner. Christina Zweig Niehues is Zweig Group’s director of research and e-commerce. She can be reached at

PO Box 1528 Fayetteville, AR 72702

Chad Clinehens | Publisher Sara Parkman | Senior Editor & Designer Shirley Che | Contributing Editor Liisa Andreassen | Correspondent Tel: 800-466-6275 Fax: 800-842-1560 Email: Online: Twitter: Facebook: Group-1030428053722402 Published continuously since 1992 by Zweig Group, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA. ISSN 1068-1310. Issued weekly (48 issues/year). Free electronic subscription at © Copyright 2022, Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

LEADERSHIP SKILLS FOR AEC PROFESSIONALS Practical leadership skills are vital to the health and success of every company in any industry. This in-person program provides AEC professionals with the skills to become more competent leaders and helps attendees develop and affirm the leadership skills, strategies, and techniques necessary to grow personally and professionally. Join us in New Orleans in February. Click here to learn more!

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




AEC firm leaders must actively support and empower female employees so their visibility does not vanish in the remote workplace. Women in remote-work environments

M en and women working outside of the office tend to be less visible and can often be passed over for career advancement opportunities. That’s a real concern, from an equity standpoint, as researchers from the Stanford Graduate School of Business found that despite remote employees having improved work satisfaction, their promotion rate fell. The recent transition to remote work for many in the AEC industry has made this concern critical for all staff, but especially for women. According to McKinsey, for every 100 men promoted to manager, only 86 women are promoted. Companies and AEC leaders must keep women advised and empowered to seize important career opportunities in our new modern work environment.

Kenneth Fulmer

My firm, Urban Engineers, implemented a flexible remote work policy as a result of COVID and we have taken steps to focus on equity and help use “cultural glue” to keep staff engaged, empowered, and ultimately, visible to their colleagues, even when they are not seeing each other in person. A key way to make sure women are not being overlooked in the remote workplace is to highlight their accomplishments wherever possible. Managers need to take notice of the activities of staff, and promote good work through the many channels

we now have available to us. Internal newsletters, social media, email blasts, and even group chat programs like Teams or Slack are avenues to be used to promote the work of all your employees, especially women. If managers are aware of a remote employee’s success story, they need to bring that forward. Perhaps the person’s work was essential to complete a project or provided an innovative approach to solve a problem – all of it done remotely. Firms need to highlight and celebrate employee




ON THE MOVE ERIC VENABLE JOINS HDR AS FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION DIRECTOR Eric Venable recently joined HDR as the new federal transportation director. Working closely with leaders of other HDR practices that provide services to the U.S. federal government, Venable will lead business and staff development for transportation. He will collaborate frequently with diverse HDR experts to maximize opportunities in transportation technology and equitable transit- oriented development, among other fields. HDR has a long history of providing key transportation expertise to the federal government, whether federal highways, coastal ports, defense installations or more. “Developing infrastructure to support the livelihood, lifestyle and safety of our national community is of ever-increasing

importance as our population continues to grow,” Venable said. “As an industry, we must be proactive in promoting the planning, funding and delivery of transportation-related projects that most responsibly use federal tax dollars.” Venable brings more than 25 years of experience in operations, finance, strategic marketing, business expansion, client and subcontractor relations, and contract negotiations for federal, public, and private maritime and industrial clients. He most recently served as the director of ports and maritime for another firm, where he managed and enhanced a multimillion-dollar national practice serving private industrial shipyards, federal Navy facilities and regional ports authorities. “Amidst new guidance at the federal level combined with changing client and community needs, Eric will use

his proven, adaptive leadership to develop tailored solutions,” said HDR Transportation Business Development Director Rick Pilgrim. “He will provide holistic, full life cycle guidance from planning and funding to procurement, design and maintenance to streamline the delivery and resiliency of federal transportation-related projects.” For more than a century, HDR has partnered with clients to shape communities and push the boundaries of what’s possible. The firm’s expertise spans more than 10,000 employees in more than 200 locations around the world — and counting. HDR’s engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services bring an impressive breadth of knowledge to every project. The firm’s optimistic approach to finding innovative solutions defined our past and drives our future.

abilities and connections. We have encouraged staff to take on leadership and board positions with these organizations so they are able to gain even more insight in the industry, and become more visible and influential among their peers. In the switch to more remote interaction, participation in professional societies has not slowed down as meetings and seminars are able to be held virtually. Women who take on leadership positions in originations like Women’s Transportation Seminar or the Society of Women Engineers gain valuable experience that will set them up for future professional success. It is important that employees have a positive work-life balance, and anecdotally, women in leadership positions at my firm say working remotely is helping them improve the balance. Some employees are more productive working from home, and productive staff benefit the company. It is a win-win scenario, as long as the employees and work are managed appropriately, and individuals are not overlooked. We need to celebrate all of our staff more than ever. Our communications have to be stronger – from co-worker to co-worker and from supervisor to employee – in a remote work environment so that we’re all visible, given the same opportunities, and celebrated for our successes. There is still work to be done, but acknowledging that remote-work can disproportionally affect the career advancement of women in the workplace is a start. The next step is to take action to counteract this effect to maintain an inclusive and equitable workplace. Kenneth Fulmer is the president and CEO of Urban Engineers. He can be reached at

KENNETH FULMER , from page 3

accomplishments. When nominating staff for awards programs, it is important to ensure that female employees are considered for nomination as often as their male counterparts. Internal employee resource groups are also a great way to provide critical support to women and other diverse groups – and this is even more important in a remote-work environment. In the switch to remote-work, it is important that AEC firms continue to invest in them. Our firm supports several different groups for different audiences, including a younger members’ forum, an LGBTQ+ alliance, and a women’s professional network that has been active for almost 15 years. These groups keep employees engaged with the firm and provide a venue for them to advocate for issues relating to their direct concerns. They also allow for mentor-mentee relationships to build so employees can advocate for each other, allowing them to be seen and develop a professional support system that will assist in maintaining an individual’s desired career path. Many professional societies and associations are specifically targeted to empower and promote women in the industry, while others have ally groups to support them. Our firm has always seen employee participation in professional organizations as an investment. They offer educational seminars and networking opportunities to enhance one’s remote workplace is to highlight their accomplishments wherever possible.” “A key way to make sure women are not being overlooked in the

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Showing up consistently: Derek Gil President at ELEMENT (Tampa, FL), an award-winning, certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Minority Business Enterprise, consulting firm.


I f a design doesn’t work for the community, it simply doesn’t work. That’s the philosophy that Gil believes in. “The way we have earned the trust of our clients is by showing up consistently. ELEMENT delivers when we say we will and is always there for our clients. We offer solutions, not problems,” he says. A CONVERSATIONWITH DEREK GIL. The Zweig Letter: Transportation engineering design is changing rapidly. What big changes do you see ahead in this engineering niche? Derek Gil: Embracing technology advances and incorporating into engineering design is vital today and will continue to be so. As an industry, we’ve only begun to tap into the possibilities with artificial intelligence, 3D design, 3D printing, virtual reality, and so much more. From data acquisition/collection and utilization to construction methods, as technology advancements emerge, we can develop sustainable, equitable solutions for communities faster.

TZL: Trust is essential. How do you earn the trust of your clients? DG: Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose. The way we have earned the trust of our clients is by showing up consistently. ELEMENT delivers when we say we will and is always there for our clients. We offer solutions, not problems, and ELEMENT associates are transparent and communicative. At the end of the day, ELEMENT earns our clients’ trust because we consistently demonstrate we will not let them down. The level of trust we have earned with our clients is demonstrated with the high satisfaction rating we maintain; nine out of 10 clients would recommend us to others. TZL: Artificial intelligence and machine learning are potential accelerators across all industries. Is your firm exploring how to incorporate these technologies into providing improved services for clients? DG: ELEMENT’s surveying group uses advanced equipment such as HDS laser scanning, drones, and total robotic stations,



all of which have file formats that seamlessly transition to contractors for their machine control grading systems. Studies have shown machine control grading systems reduce the time spent on the process as well as greenhouse emissions. ELEMENT is also investing in expanding our drone capabilities and working with clients to develop scope language that encompasses technology advancements such as UAV in an intentional manner. Advances are emerging regularly for technology, especially in surveying. As early adopters of these advances, ELEMENT is able to expedite our data collection, reduce safety concerns for pedestrians, motorists, and field associates and increase efficiency which translates into cost-savings for clients on their projects. “We offer solutions, not problems, and ELEMENT associates are transparent and communicative. At the end of the day, ELEMENT earns our clients’ trust because we consistently demonstrate we will not let them down.” TZL: What skills are required to run a successful practice? What do you wish you knew starting out that you know now? DG: There’s an entire gamut of skills required to run a successful firm and, believe it or not, being a talented engineer is low on that list. In my mind, understanding people is essential. What motivates them, keeps them up at night, and what truly defines success for each person not only on my team, but for clients is at the foundation of ELEMENT’s success. Fifteen years ago, when ELEMENT was realized, I wish I had known that much of my day would be spent listening to people – staff, clients, partners, and even my competition. TZL: What benefits does your firm offer that your people get most excited about? DG: To attract and retain our talented team, ELEMENT established a culture of mutual trust, deep collaboration, and work-life balance. A few things ELEMENT employees say make us unique: ■ ■ Ability to work closely with management to better develop leadership skills. ■ ■ Opportunities to become more involved in organizations that build better working

relationships and network connections.

■ ■ Routinely given challenges and opportunities to develop new skills and learn new processes. ■ ■ An atmosphere of patience and understanding. ■ ■ Learning to communicate with different people on different levels. ■ ■ Encouraged to attend and participate in seminars, trainings, and small group forums on topics important to ELEMENT. ■ ■ 401(k) contribution, whether the associate contributes or not. ■ ■ Medical benefits include 100 percent employee-covered plans. ■ ■ ELEMENT pauses to celebrate wins and hosts firm-wide events, year round. TZL: It is often said that people leave managers, not companies. What are you doing to ensure that your line leadership are great people managers? DG: ELEMENT’s leadership team fosters an environment of development and mentorship for staff at all levels. Along those same lines, ELEMENT leadership strives to provide training and guidance to associates who have management responsibilities so they can do the same within their internal teams. TZL: Since you’ve acquired OMNI, what changes or new services has ELEMENT added to its roster? DG: In addition to our transportation, surveying, and civil and structure engineering services, we have added subsurface utility engineering and utility coordination. “To attract and retain our talented team, ELEMENT established a culture of mutual trust, deep collaboration, and work-life balance.” TZL: How are you balancing investment in the next generation – which is at an all-time high – with rewards for tenured staff? This has always been a challenge but seems heightened as investments in development have increased.


Tampa, FL







■ ■ Transportation design

■ ■ Traffic engineering

and operations

■ ■ Structure design

■ ■ Stormwater design

■ ■ Civil/site design

■ ■ Utilities

■ ■ Subsurface utility


■ ■ Survey and mapping


ELEMENT is an award-

winning, certified

Disadvantaged Business

Enterprise and Minority

Business Enterprise,


consulting firm.

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

UARY 24, 2022, ISSUE 1425



DG: Top talent is attracted to ELEMENT, and stays, for three key reasons: 1. Our workforce believes they can make a difference in their communities and are empowered to do so. 2. Our friendly, flexible culture values relationships and collaboration. 3. Our competitive pay and benefits. The engineering job market is highly competitive, often referred to as a “war for talent.” As a result, many qualified candidates receive multiple offers. One recent example was when we interviewed a prospective employee. As we normally would, we took the time to meet in-person to discuss both the candidates and ELEMENT’s future goals. We walked away thinking it was a great fit, wondering where we stood in their mind. In the end they chose us, stating that our personal connection made all the difference. This is simply who we are. We afford all employees the flexibility of work and personal lives. As an example, we encourage employees to take off in the middle of the day to attend school functions because we trust they will get their work done. It’s the little things that matter – the $25 birthday gift card, feeling needed, and celebrating a milestone or accomplishment as a team. ELEMENT also has a generous bonus structure that rewards tenured employees. We encourage professional development and promote career paths for tenured associates by providing training, paying for certifications and licensing exams, while challenging each employee with increasing responsibilities along the way to meet their goals. “Trust is hard to earn and easy to lose. The way we have earned the trust of our clients is by showing up consistently. ELEMENT delivers when we say we will and is always there for our clients.” TZL: Does your firmwork closely with any higher education institutions to gain access to the latest technology, experience, and innovation and/or recruiting to find qualified resources? DG: We have partnerships with the University of South Florida and the Center for Urban Transportation Research to explore and implement new technologies in traffic safety. One such project was the installation of high friction surface treatment at signalized intersection approaches to increase the roadway surface friction and reduce the total number of crashes and crash severity. In 2018, we established the ELEMENT Engineering Group endowment scholarship with the USF College of Engineering to help the next generation of engineers pursue higher education and research. In addition, we invite college students

to shadow our working professionals and learn about the profession on the front lines. Also, throughout our partnership with USF on the philanthropic and project work, we have a strong record of converting internships into long-term employment. TZL: Ownership transition can be tricky, to say the least. What’s the key to ensuring a smooth passing of the baton? What’s the biggest pitfall to avoid? DG: I think of ownership transition in two ways – the transition of ownership from OMNI to ELEMENT and the transition to the next generation for the future of ELEMENT. The acquisition transition was approached with transparency and communication. Right from the beginning, we knew there would be a place for everyone. Acquiring OMNI was an expansion of service lines. This was one of the very first things we communicated. Along the way, I’ve had a “boots on the ground” approach that provided psychological safety for the acquired associates throughout the transition. We kept the day-to-day business of each service line operating the same while integrating the two businesses within a solid action plan. As my founding partners transitioned into retirement, I recognized the need to identify the next generation of leaders to carry ELEMENT forward beyond my retirement. There is a mix of talents to run a business from technical to financial understanding. The talents can be learned if the desire is there, and I have identified four employees who are now minority partners. We are working together to enhance the current business model for continued growth.

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Committees for engagement

Committees give employees a chance to lead, contribute, effect change, and make an impact beyond revenue.

I t’s a well proven fact that engaged employees make a positive difference on a firm’s success. Engaged employees have a positive impact on recruitment and retention, productivity, and client relations, as well as both a firm’s financial and cultural wellbeing. While it’s clear that engagement is important, there isn’t a clear path to engaged employees. A lot of firms mistake fun or socializing with engagement and are then mystified when employees leave or underperform. While building strong relationships between employees is important, the fact of the matter is no amount of pizza parties or happy hours can replace true engagement.

Julia DeFrances

True engagement comes when employees feel their contributions and ideas are meaningful, respected, and rewarded. It comes when employees feel that their voices are heard and that they can effect change. There are lots of ways to achieve this and any good engagement plan will utilize a variety of strategies. At BL Companies, we’ve found one of the most effective ways to build engagement is through a robust committee program, and if we look at the definition of true engagement above, it’s easy to see why. Committees give employees a chance to lead, to contribute, and to effect change, and they provide an opportunity to share ideas, get creative, and make a tangible impact on your business beyond revenue.

For a committee program to be successful for engagement, however, it needs to have certain features in place: ■ ■ Committees need structure. Which committees make sense for your firm? Howwill committees operate? At BL, we have more than 10 committees ranging from culture-focused committees like the Giving Back Committee, to technical-focused committees like the Safety Committee, to benefit-focused committees like the 401(k) Committee. There is a clear process for joining and participating in committees as well as




BUSINESS NEWS AMES & GOUGH TO OFFER EMPLOYEE BENEFITS SERVICES FOR SMALL AND MID-SIZED EMPLOYERS; APPOINTS JUSTIN GOUGH TO LEAD NEW INITIATIVE Ames & Gough announced it will nowoffer employee benefits services in addition to its professional liability and property/casualty capabilities. The firm appointed Justin Gough as vice president to lead the new initiative. “Dating to theearlydaysofAmes&Gough, clients have asked us to assist them with their employee benefits in addition to the exceptional work we’ve performed with them on their professional liability and property/casualty lines,” said Matt Gough, president, Ames & Gough. “Given the unabated consolidation of U.S. insurance brokers and the increasing complexity of managing healthcare and related benefits, these requests have become more frequent and widespread. We’re pleased to respond to our clients’ needs with a robust benefits capability that will be implemented under Justin’s leadership with the same commitment to client service and satisfaction that

always has been paramount at Ames & Gough.” Through its newly established benefits operation, Ames & Gough will offer small and mid-sized employers throughout the U.S. a full range of employee benefits services, including: employee benefits consulting; managed HR services; compliance support; wellness programs, and cloud-based benefits technology and analytics services. The new services complement the specialty broker’s industry-leading capabilities for professional services organizations in professional liability and property and casualty insurance. “Our focus will be to provide an unparalleled client experience that involves simplifying their employee benefits choices through a proven, data-driven approach,” said Justin Gough. “We will deliver a people- focused, digitally powered solution that leverages the cost-savings advantages of new technology along with our extensive experience in helping clients navigate the dynamics of group health

insurance, risk management and compliance.” Based at the Ames & GoughWashington, D.C. office, Justin Gough has two decades of experience in all aspects of employee healthcare insurance and other benefits. During his career, he has served in sales leadership with several leading life and health insurers, most recently at Aetna, where he was senior sales executive for five years. Previously, Justin Gough was in group benefits sales at Cigna and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, working with employers on their group life and health insurance, disability income, FMLA, dental and vision coverages. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from University of South Carolina. Established in 1992, Ames & Gough has offices in Boston; Philadelphia; Orlando, Florida; and Washington, D.C. Clients throughout the U.S. are served by a team of 55 professionals and staff located in the four offices.

leadership skills, no matter their level of experience. They should connect employees of all disciplines, offices, and levels. And ultimately, committees should enhance an employee’s work experience. “True engagement comes when employees feel their contributions and ideas are meaningful, respected, and rewarded. It comes when employees feel that their voices are heard and that they can effect change.” Committees are just one way we’ve increased engagement at BL, and they remain a highly effective tool for creating engaged employees. More than 35 percent of employees currently serve on at least one committee, and the impact our committee members make is meaningful, tangible, and appreciated. Their ideas are respected, and their voices are heard. And most importantly, committee efforts are rewarding both personally and professionally. Overall, committees should be an enriching experience, and if you design your own committee program well, they will foster a culture of true engagement. Julia DeFrances is a marketing coordinator at BL Companies, Inc. She can be reached at

JULIA DEFRANCES, from page 9

revolving off committees. These rules make it easy for new employees to get involved and start making an impact. ■ ■ Committees need to matter. This is two-fold: Committees need to be appreciated and have a tangible impact on your firm, and they also need to have a tangible impact on your employees. Employees won’t be engaged if committees are just a mouthpiece for senior leadership, with no real influence. Likewise, employees won’t be engaged if their efforts are unappreciated or unrewarded. BL gives our committees a lot of freedom and we get better, more innovative ideas as a result. We make sure to document the impact of our committees, including an end-of-year report which details each committee’s goals, achievements, and members. But most importantly, we value and reward committee involvement. Development plans and performance reviews can include committee contributions, and our employees are paid for time dedicated to committee work. While not required of all employees, committees are treated as one of the ways an employee can go above and beyond at BL and involvement is appreciated by senior leadership for their role in completing important work that may not get accomplished otherwise. ■ ■ Committees should be a unique opportunity for growth. They should give employees the chance to try something new or out of their comfort zone. They should provide an opportunity for more junior employees to develop

© Copyright 2022. Zweig Group. All rights reserved.




Solving your people shortage

P retty much every firm owner I talk to tells me the same thing. It’s the number one problem faced by AEC firms today – you can’t find enough people for all of the jobs you need filled. Here’s what you really need to do to get more job candidates for any opening you have, increase your job offer acceptance rate, and speed up the hiring process.

So what are your really going to do about it? Sit around in meetings and complain to your managers? Go remind your HR people who are not trained to be recruiters how unhappy you are with a lack of job candidates? Increase your employee referral fees from $1,500 to $2,000? Increase the number of job postings your firm puts out on LinkedIn? If that’s been your approach, good luck! I don’t see you making much progress in solving this one. Let’s all agree on this: It’s not an easy problem and you aren’t going to solve it overnight. By the same token, you won’t solve it in the long-term, either, if you keep doing the same things. Here is what you REALLY need to do to get more job candidates for any opening you have, as well as increase your job offer acceptance rate AND speed up the hiring process:

1. Hire someone who actually knows something about recruiting. This will NOT be an HR generalist. It may be someone who has worked (successfully) in a real recruiting firm, however. This person knows how to find people using sources other than LinkedIn. They won’t be afraid to contact anyone. And they won’t come cheap! I started working at Carter & Burgess in 1985, and my primary function was recruiting. I was 27 years old and pretty good at it. My first year there, I earned $72,300, including my bonus. That equates to $187,255 in today’s dollars. How many of you would pay that to a 27-year-old recruiter today? And back then, it was an employer-driven job market versus employee-driven. Good recruiters don’t come cheap, especially now. Stop cheaping out and comparing what you have to

Mark Zweig

See MARK ZWEIG, page 12



ON THE MOVE WARE MALCOMB HIRES ANALISA OLSON AS DIRECTOR, STRATEGIC ACCOUNTS Ware Malcomb, an award- winning international design firm, today announced Analisa Olson has been hired to the firm’s Corporate Accounts team as Director, Strategic Accounts. In this newly created role, she will assist Ware Malcomb in growing its Corporate Accounts portfolio in North America, working in close collaboration with firmwide leaders, as well as the rest of the Corporate Accounts team. Olson has more than 18 years of experience managing corporate accounts and implementing innovative interior architecture and design solutions in Southern California. Her projects have spanned the corporate, hospitality, restaurant and residential industries and have won several awards, including an IIDA SoCal Calibre Award and a Solutia DOC Award. “We are excited to welcome Analisa,” said Ted Heisler, Vice President, Interior Architecture & Design forWareMalcomb.

“There are significant relationships to cultivate as part of our preferred provider programs, and her leadership will be invaluable as we grow our corporate accounts portfolio across North America.” Olson is a graduate of California State University, Long Beachwith a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Interior Architectural Design. She is NCIDQ certified and a LEED Accredited Professional for Building Design & Construction. The firm’s Corporate Accounts program spans a variety of industries including office, industrial, retail, science and technology, healthcare, restaurant and education across markets. The unique program facilitates the delivery of consistent, integrated design services for clients, with both local, specialized staff and the vast companywide resources of a North American platform. The firm has completed projects for one in three companies listed on the Fortune 50. Established in 1972, Ware Malcomb is a

contemporary and expanding full service design firm providing professional architecture, planning, interior design, civil engineering, branding and building measurement services to corporate, commercial/residential developer and public/institutional clients throughout the world. With office locations throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, the firm specializes in the design of commercial office, corporate, industrial, science and technology, healthcare, retail, auto, public/institutional facilities and renovation projects. Ware Malcomb is recognized as an Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private company and a Hot Firm by Zweig Group. The firm is also ranked among the top 15 architecture/engineering firms in Engineering News-Record’s Top 500 Design Firms and the top 25 interior design firms in Interior Design magazine’s Top 100 Giants.

offer, get it out in writing immediately! That means now, not three days from now, or next week some time. Being too slow kills the enthusiasm of a job candidate, just like pouring water on a campfire kills it. 5. Immediately after you extend that job offer (with the implied expectation that the person will, of course, accept), the next question out of your mouth needs to be, “What will you do if you go to turn your notice in and your current employer tries to talk you into staying?” You want that job candidate to tell you they would not listen to that, that their employer could have done more for them before but now it’s too late. No matter what they say, remind them that they have forced their employer’s hand and, of course, they will try to talk them into staying. Make sure they know their employer will expect them to quit again soon, so they will immediately start thinking about their replacement! I’m out of space here now, but don’t think I couldn’t go on. Stop your hand-wringing about the situation and take action – NOW ! MARK ZWEIG is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at “It’s not an easy problem and you aren’t going to solve it overnight. By the same token, you won’t solve it in the long- term, either, if you keep doing the same things.”

MARK ZWEIG , from page 11

pay a recruiter compared to your architects and engineers, and hire someone who knows how to recruit people in this market! 2. Get off LinkedIn (it is way over-relied on) and instead get really active in professional societies. Go to the meetings. Get involved. Meet the smart people working for your competitors. Ask them to lunch. Talk about what your firm is doing. Ask them if they would be willing to come over to the office sometime to see what you are doing. Have them meet some of your smart, nice people. Show them your projects. Show them your open-book management report. Ask them if they would consider making a job change. Seduce them! Reel them in a little bit at a time so when their company does anything at all that upsets or disturbs them you will be the first person they call. 3. Teach at your local university. That is where you will find the best and brightest neophytes. You will see who is intelligent, who comes to class, who can communicate effectively, who works well in a group, who is diligent, and more. These are the people you will be able to hire in your business when they graduate. And guess what? They will probably do well. I have been doing this for years. 4. Pick up the pace of your process! When you do find someone good, move fast. Stop taking weeks to make a job offer. Don’t give anyone more than 48 hours to make a decision. You have other candidates and they aren’t going to wait around for you. And when you do make a job

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