Improved Recruitment and Retention Strategies for A/E Firms


While the majority of A/E firms conduct regular performance appraisals, many are not getting the full benefit these sessions can provide, according to Sarita Peng, managing director of human resources advisory services at ZweigWhite , Natick, Mass. When implemented correctly and appropriately tailored to each firm, performance appraisals are an inexpensive way of improving the typical A/E firm and for addressing one of the stickiest issues firms will face in 2007: recruitment and retention.

''The competition for talent continues to be the biggest challenge facing design and construction firms,'' Peng explained. ''Because firms are finding that they are not able to recruit fast enough to fill their most strategic needs, there has been a shift towards firms investing more of their HR budget in retention practices. Specifically, many firms are taking a hard look at how to improve their performance appraisal systems. Performance appraisals can be used to address career development, what an employee's long-term potential is with the firm, and how he/she fits into the bigger picture at the firm. Firms who use their performance appraisal system as a tool for motivation and to provide consistent feedback to employees find that they are able to drive down turnover and retain their top talent,'' she said.

A/E Performance Appraisal Cookbook , a recent ZweigWhite publication, shows how A/E firms can get increased benefit from their performance appraisal process. From creating a new program, to improving an old one, developing new forms and systems, and how to schedule and run a productive performance evaluation session, the reference gives firm leaders everything they need to create an effective performance appraisal program that will benefit the company.

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