The international AEG firm credits the excellent work of its staff, before and throughout the pandemic, for enabling a “performance-driven and trust-based culture.”
DAYTON, Ohio — Woolpert is fully reopening its offices in North America today, 16 months after employees were asked to shelter in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The international architecture, engineering, geospatial (AEG) and strategic consulting firm has 42 offices in three countries and a staff of more than 1,300. The enforcement of masks at each office will align with the laws of each state or region, and vaccinations will not be required of Woolpert employees unless mandated by a client per a specific project.
Woolpert employees were given the choice to work full time in the office, continue to work remotely or to work a hybrid schedule in which they and their managers determine the days they work in the office each week. More than 90% of the staff indicated they would like to work either hybrid or remotely, and each can modify that selection moving forward. Woolpert COO Kirk McClurkin said these options were provided because the staff requested this flexibility and because they have demonstrated that they can be successful in this environment.
“We were pleased that throughout the pandemic, thanks to the hard work of people who worked in often challenging conditions, we successfully maintained productivity levels,” McClurkin said. “We have built a performance-driven and trust-based culture, which our employees have embraced and championed. This has helped us create a flexible structure to support our staff personally and professionally, enabling them to collaborate and innovate to enhance project deliverables and advance quality management.”
The reopening is the fourth and final stage of the firm’s Roadmap to Reopen, which was introduced in May 2020. Woolpert Chief Human Resources Officer Shanda McKinney said the Roadmap was developed to ensure employee safety while supporting client needs as the COVID situation evolved. She said employee surveys conducted throughout the pandemic generated feedback that has been crucial to the success of the Roadmap.
“Honestly, the best thing we did was that we really listened to everybody,” McKinney said. “This helped us respond to our staff’s most pressing needs by providing everything from technology support to implementing measures like our COVID charge number, which helped employees pay for COVID-related testing and family medical care. Our goal was to ease the burden of the pandemic for our staff while continuing to take care of business.”
McKinney said this flexibility is consistent with multiple cultural initiatives developed in the last two years at Woolpert, which has been selected as a Great Place to Work by its employees for five straight years. These include the firm’s Inclusion and Diversity Network and its Freedom to Work Policy, which enables employees to take time off when they need it, to take time to volunteer when coordinated with their manager, and to select how and where they work around the world.
“We are excited to be able to provide these essential and competitive benefits, and to know they are being well received,” McKinney said. “Our most recent Roadmap to Reopen survey reported a more than 95% approval rating of the support we have provided during this process. That makes us feel like we’re moving in the right direction.”
Woolpert CEO Scott Cattran said the firm will continue to monitor staff needs after the reopening. Plans also are in place to enhance the firm’s cloud-based knowledge infrastructure, provide a $50 monthly technology stipend to all employees, and redesign Woolpert’s offices to accommodate flexible workspaces and promote collaboration, creativity and socialization.
“We have all learned a lot over the last 16 months, and fortunately our leadership and our staff have been able to react and adapt quickly,” Cattran said. “We respect our employees, from their viewpoints about the virus to how and where they want to work and live. Our goal for reopening is to strive for flexibility so that each employee can enjoy their desired work environment.”
Woolpert is the premier architecture, engineering, geospatial (AEG) and strategic consulting firm, with a vision to become one of the best companies in the world. We innovate within and across markets to effectively serve public, private and government clients worldwide. Woolpert is an ENR Top 150 Global Design Firm, recently earned its fifth-straight Great Place to Work certification and actively nurtures a culture of growth, inclusion, diversity and respect. Founded in 1911 in Dayton, Ohio, Woolpert has been America’s fastest-growing AEG firm since 2015. The firm has over 1,100 employees and 42 offices in three countries. For more, visit woolpert.com.
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