Best Firm focus

Aug 21, 2017

Leaders of employee-friendly firms talk about how being a Best Firm affects marketing, recruiting, and team building.

The Zweig Letter: How has being a Best Firm To Work For helped you recruit and retain top talent in a tight labor market?

Matt Hoying, president, Choice One Engineering (Sidney, OH), a 37-person civil engineering firm: Being named a Zweig Group Best Firm has played a small part in attracting new employees. Our new employees have told us, though it wasn’t a deciding factor in coming to work for Choice One, it was a reason they researched the company more and ultimately reassured them when making their final decision.

TZL: How has being a Best Firm helped you in terms of marketing your firm?

Ted Fitzemeyer, president, Fitzemeyer & Tocci (Woburn, MA), a 40-person engineering consulting firm: In 2014, we set a strategic objective to have a stellar reputation in the engineering community as the workplace of choice. Being a Zweig Group Best Firm impartially confirms our commitment to our strategic plan, our staff, and ultimately to our clients. Receiving this prestigious award illustrates the commitment we have to our employees and aids in attracting top-notch talent, which is key to our continued success.

TZL: In the process of becoming a Best Firm, what did you learn about building a great team?

Mike Mulhern and Joe Kulp, founders, Mulhern+Kulp (Ambler, PA), a 60-person structural engineering firm: To us, being voted Best Structural Engineering Firm to Work For is an affirmation of one of our founding principles – that our people, both collectively and individually, are our most valuable asset. We share a genuine concern for their personal well-being, career satisfaction, and overall success – achieved in a positive, open, friendly and encouraging environment. We are motivated every day to grow our business so that we can provide new challenges and career advancement opportunities for every one of our employees.

TZL: How has being a Best Firm helped you in terms of marketing your firm?

Chris Huckabee, CEO, Huckabee (Fort Worth, TX), a 218-person architecture firm: We place great emphasis on excellence in everything we do, and this means investing in our team, our offices, and our culture. Where we are today, and the culture we’ve nurtured, is the result of 50 years of practice and focus in the educational market. We love to talk about our clients and our employees and the great work they are doing for Texas communities. Being named Best Firms to Work For gives us one more opportunity to spread the word about the people who make our workplace great. The award is also a message to our clients that we invest in our team because we are invested in you; at Huckabee, we are all-in to education, and this means recruiting people who are going to be all-in with us and with them.

TZL: How has being a Best Firm helped you recruit and retain top talent in a tight labor market?

Dan Houf, president, Harper Houf Peterson Righellis, Inc. (Portland, OR), a 90-person landscape architecture firm: Harper Houf Peterson Righellis Inc. finds being on the list for Zweig Group Best Firms extremely helpful in attracting new talent, but more importantly, helping us gauge how we are doing with our current employees and in-house talent. We continually strive to be a great place to work, and to provide a professional and rewarding experience for all of our professional staff. The Zweig survey provides an opportunity to gauge areas of strength, and to find opportunities to improve our firm. We use the rankings on our web page as well as advertisements for current openings. We also use our Best Firm’s standing in marketing, as it provides us with credibility to our clients that we treat our employees fairly, leading to low turnover and consistent client service.

TZL: In the process of becoming a Best Firm, what did you learn about building a great team?

Eileen Pannatier, CEO and founder, Comprehensive Environmental Inc. (Marlborough, MA) a 30-person geotechnical firm: The formula for happy employees includes the basics of good pay, good benefits, and good working conditions, but more importantly, the daily gratification of a job done well and making a difference for our clients and for the environment.

TZL: In the process of becoming a Best Firm, what did you learn about building a great team?

Sonny Kaiser, principal, Ecosystem Planning & Restoration, (Tomball, TX), a 21-person environmental firm: Building a great team starts with visualizing the culture and environment you want to build for your company, and then pursuing team members that embody that vision. We learned through this process that identifying the best people to help build our company culture takes time, but is well worth the effort to find the right people. Identifying leaders that help embody and define our culture has been critical to becoming a Best Firm to Work For, and those leaders help us create an environment where people desire to work.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.