2013 a/e ProNet David W. Lakamp AIA Scholarship
Prior to architecture school, I worked for thirteen years in my family's subcontracting firm; our company is nearly identical in size to the one in question. While this essay question reminds me of the struggles we faced during the 2007 recession, I also recall valuable lessons learned, particularly regarding employee management.
Business is about providing superior products and service, minimizing liabilities, and maximizing assets. By far, a company's greatest assets are its employees; it is essential to treat personnel fairly according to performance and to the market. A company is only as strong as its people.
With my firm's positive work outlook, my top priority would be employee retention. In general, I believe people want three things: to contribute, to be appreciated, and to feel secure. As such, I would take the following actions in order:
1. I would hold a catered company meeting. After providing a nice meal, I would update everyone on the direction of the company, particularly the details on the new work opportunities. These details would include project types, work tasks, timelines, and profitability.
2. At the company meeting, I would announce a new employee review policy that establishes clear standards, method of evaluation, and rewards. I would explain that I would use this review policy to share profits equitably with all deserving employees.
3. Immediately following the company meeting, I would meet individually with every employee in the firm. At a typical meeting, I would thank the employee for her past efforts, and I would listen to her concerns and suggestions. I would also ask about personal goals and career ambitions with the hope of placing her in positions to pursue her interests and to develop her skills.
4. Based on the feedback obtained during the individual meetings, I would investigate formal educational and training opportunities that the company might be able to provide.
5. I would schedule a quarterly open forum to update everyone on company performance and to discuss concerns and ideas.