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Recruiting & Retaining Talent

Surprising truths about building a learning culture (one firm’s story)

The rate of change is moving at an increasing speed. Technology continues to change the way we design, build and run projects and our firms. In this issue of The Friedman File, we’re telling a story that we hope will inspire you to decide what kind of culture you want to build and be bold about going after it. It’s the story of how one firm has gone all-in on creating a culture of learning and innovation. They’re doing it in a way that is sometimes at odds with conventional wisdom— and growing a profitable business at the same time.

The big why: innovation + a growth mindset

Turner Fleischer (Toronto, Canada) (www.turnerfleischer.com), a 150-person architecture firm specializing in private-sector projects is determined to be on the forefront of technology and education. This is their strategic priority, and over the […]

The one social media tool you must master

We’re switching gears with this issue of The Friedman File to address a question that often comes up during our training workshops and client engagements: What should we be doing with social media?

Many A/E/C and environmental firms remain skeptical about social media—and that skepticism can be well-founded. While some firms have jumped in with both feet and even mastered this area, too many are overwhelmed or simply not sure where, or even IF, to focus their efforts.

For most firms, creating a sustainable, realistic and effective social media strategy means starting small and mastering what we call Marketing 101 before moving on to more.

The social channel you need to master? LinkedIn.

Why Linked In?

LinkedIn has carved out a clear niche as the world’s largest social media platform for business. Starting out as a top recruiting tool, it quickly became the place to network. Now, with […]

How one firm took their values off the shelf and put them to work

Growing a firm comes with many challenges, but maintaining a strong company culture can be one of the more difficult. It’s also becoming more important as firms compete for the talent they need to meet their goals.

In this issue of The Friedman File, we go behind-the-scenes with 110-person Nitsch Engineering (Boston, MA), a fast-growing firm that is putting its values-based workplace culture at the center of its growth plans.

In the past 5 years, the firm has grown by 45% in staff size and revenues, moving from a successful one-office firm to a larger regional player. Along the way, they’ve prioritized building on the firm’s award-winning progressive culture to attract and retain high-performing employees.

“I wanted a way to measure our culture – I’m an engineer,” says Chairman and CEO Lisa Brothers, PE. “I wanted to define that culture and keep it intact as we […]

How one engineering firm is changing the world — and the workplace

The AEC and environmental consulting industries have long attracted people who are passionate about what they do and driven by a sense of mission. In all the years that we’ve been publishing The Friedman File, we’ve shared many successful strategies that are based in part in that dedication. It’s a large part of why this newsletter exists.

In this issue, we’re highlighting a firm— Mazzetti+GBA (San Francisco, CA)— that is taking that passion to another level. Over the past 5 years, this 200-person MEP engineering and technology consulting firm has integrated its commitment to create a better world into its business practices and firm-wide culture by becoming a Benefit Corporation.

Benefit Corporations blend the structure and tax liability of a C-Corporation with the mission ethos and transparent reporting of a non-profit organization. They’re relatively new and are few and far between in this industry. […]

How to Land Your Next Strategic Hire

When it comes to project acquisition, many A/E/C and environmental consulting firms have learned (and some the hard way) that it pays to take a strategic approach. Yet, when making critical hires to grow their business, strategy and targeting can often go out the window.

In this issue of The Friedman File, we examine how the lessons of client and project acquisition apply to the hiring of C-suite positions, practice builders, senior marketers and business developers, and other senior management roles.

It’s currently a candidate’s market, and the types of leaders who can make a big impact in your organization are no strangers to being recruited. To bring them on board requires a clear strategy, a compelling message and a carefully executed interview process.

Stage One: Defining the Opportunity

Know what you want and why

When you pursue a project, if you don’t have a vision or know […]

By |2017-09-26T12:25:54+00:00May 2017|Recruiting & Retaining Talent|

Is the way we work still working?

Long hours at the office, all-hands-on-deck deadlines, always-on technology and the road warrior lifestyle – that’s business as usual in the A/E/C industry. But is it killing us?

In this issue of The Friedman File, we examine an area of critical importance: executive and employee wellness. We spoke to firms that are making it a priority – and seeing impact from productivity and effectiveness to recruitment and retention.

At international planning and design firm Sasaki Associates (Boston, MA), the wellness conversation is personal, and the 250-person firm is tackling it head-on. It started when, during the firm’s leadership transition two years ago, now-Managing Principal James Miner found himself in the emergency room with alarmingly high blood pressure and a personal wake-up call.

It inspired him to start a new conversation at Sasaki. During an emotional staff meeting, he shared his personal story and his vision for […]

By |2017-07-18T15:14:54+00:00August 2016|Leadership, Recruiting & Retaining Talent|

The well-being revolution

In the last issue of The Friedman File, we posed a question that unleashed a firestorm of feedback: Is the way we work still working? Judging by the response — more than any topic we’ve covered in 10 years — the answer is no. It’s not working.

Why are so many leaders burned out — and so many emerging leaders rethinking which ladder they want to climb? How can A/E/C and environmental firms evolve and thrive as technology, generational expectations and definitions of leadership are changing?

Companies like 1,900-person architecture firm Perkins + Will (Chicago, IL) and HDR (Omaha, NE), which won a Nebraska Governor’s Award for its wellness program, are putting resources behind fostering a healthier staff. Yet, emerging leaders and those who manage them say physical wellness is just a start. Flexibility, life balance and more sustainable workloads loom equally large for those […]

By |2017-07-18T15:17:06+00:00October 2015|Leadership, Recruiting & Retaining Talent|

LinkedIn: turning recruiting on its head

While LinkedIn has been around for years, many have only recently begun to effectively leverage this tool in networking, business development, market positioning, and recruiting. In the October 2013 issue of The Friedman File, I offered a healthy dose of skepticism regarding the ubiquitous use of LinkedIn and how many seem to be using this tool with little regard to how they may be perceived and whether they’re making the most of their precious networking time. I also offered tips for would-be networkers driven to boost their number of contacts, but who pay little regard to the quality of their communications or other more efficient ways that LinkedIn enables you to disseminate your name, credentials, and thought leadership. In this issue of The Friedman File, I want to delve into LinkedIn’s value as a recruiting tool.

LinkedIn has revolutionized how professionals enhance their own […]

By |2017-07-18T15:21:19+00:00November 2014|Recruiting & Retaining Talent|

LinkedIn: on steroids?

In my years of writing The Friedman File articles, I try not to rant too often. No one likes a crotchety consultant who complains about stuff but doesn’t offer advice or alternative solutions. But for months now, something’s been getting under my skin. What’s up with LinkedIn? What used to be a unique, thoughtful B-to-B social networking tool has become an annoying commoditized pain in the butt. In this issue, I’m going to address a few of the observations I’ve made and review what I believe are LinkedIn’s most valuable applications for marketing, business development and recruiting.

What perplexes me about LinkedIn

About six months ago, I started noticing multiple pings each day from folks (some I knew and some I didn’t) wanting to “connect” with me (a definite uptick). One explanation: more and more, it’s becoming common practice in many industries to put LinkedIn […]

By |2017-07-12T14:33:19+00:00October 2013|Recruiting & Retaining Talent|

Searching for key talent: don’t get caught flat-footed!

With more Baby Boomers retiring, a small pool of Gen X’ers, and many Gen Y’ers and Millennials having left the A/E/C industry during the latest recession, the scramble for talent is on.

If you’ve done a good job identifying and cultivating your rising stars, the key talent you need may be right under your nose — waiting to be tapped. But now that the industry is rebounding, even those who’ve retained talent are soon likely to be looking outside for practice builders, seller-doers, a CMO, or technical experts to name a few.

Our executive search consulting practice specializes in high-level marketing and business development professionals and that holy grail of A/E/C professional — the rare individual who is both technically competent and possesses high emotional intelligence (often referred to as EQ, or Emotional Intelligence Quotient). Already added to the threatened species list, these folks have […]

By |2017-07-12T14:33:56+00:00August 2013|Recruiting & Retaining Talent|