Voice from the Trenches / May 22, 2015
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This summer I had the good fortune to attend Build Business in Los Angeles. The keynote speakers were inspiring, the sessions were full of good content and the networking was engaging. But I’m not here to tell you about Build Business.
What I want to share with you is what the underlying theme of the conference was. Every speaker, every session, almost every person, was talking about company culture. We’re dealing with another “lost generation” in available AEC talent. Firms are struggling to accomplish the billable work they have, future firm leaders are not plentiful, and millennials are questioning and challenging the traditional workplace. Because we’re in the business of selling professional services, and the people that provide them, the firms with the best people will win.
If culture is so important, how do we use it to our advantage? First, you’ll need to truly understand what your firm’s culture is and then you can strategize on how to use that culture to retain and recruit staff. Your game plan will be to Assess, Document, Communicate, Demonstrate. First, assess your firm’s culture by asking, and answering, the following questions:
Once you’ve assessed and documented your culture start thinking through how you’ll communicate that culture. What’s the tone of the message – fun, quirky, intelligent, serious? What’s your internal vs. external communication strategy? What channels will you use – video, blogs, social media, staff photos on your website, events, benefits, etc?
Then comes the important question. How will you use your firm’s culture to recruit and retain talent?