SHOWING UP CONSISTENTLY , from page 7
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.
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THE ZWEIG LETTER JANUARY 24, 2022, ISSUE 1425
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