Dealing with an overwhelming workload and severe labor shortages has become an existential threat to A&E firm growth and success. All studies and data show this problem continuing long into the future. However, there are proactive measures that can be taken to not only weather the storm but also excel in these challenging times. Focusing on productivity enhancement, accelerating growth of your employees’ careers, and building flexibility into your staffing strategy are the keys to dealing with these challenges. 

Starting Management Training Early 

One way to ensure a steady pipeline of competent leaders within your firm is to begin management training right out of college. While many other industries have embraced this approach, it remains underutilized in the A&E sector. By identifying talented individuals fresh out of college and providing them with targeted training in project management, communication, and leadership skills, your firm can groom a generation of future leaders who will be adept at handling complex projects and managing teams at an earlier career stage. Investing in these young professionals not only strengthens the firm’s talent pool but also fosters a culture of continuous learning and development, positioning the organization as a frontrunner in a competitive market. With skilled leaders at the helm, A&E firms can navigate challenges with resilience and thrive in an ever-evolving industry.

Establishing Efficient Business Processes 

Profits are being lost every day because of inconsistency, untrained employees and a lack of efficient business processes. By implementing streamlined processes into your business management and project execution, you can improve client service, quality control, and safety. Begin with a thorough review of current workflows and practices and look for areas employees may have created spreadsheets instead of using your systems. Leverage technology to automate common tasks such as project setup, timesheet approval, change order management and AR collections.  

Get feedback from employees to gain valuable insights and enhance engagement. One way to easily and quickly do this is through the Find the Lost Dollars Business Management Assessment. This survey will provide valuable insights into where employees are struggling and where they might need help or training. 

Empowering Project Managers 

Project managers are the linchpins of any A&E firm, responsible for overseeing projects, clients, budgets, schedules, and staff. They are also challenged with business development and other responsibilities they don’t feel comfortable with or have not been trained to execute. Many project managers struggle to handle these multiple responsibilities effectively. Providing them with specialized training and resources to enhance their management skills can boost their confidence and improve overall project outcomes. Additionally, encouraging open communication and a bottom-up approach for gathering ideas from employees can foster a sense of ownership, loyalty, and engagement within the team. 

Fostering a Sense of Ownership 

Fostering a sense of ownership within your A&E firm empowers employees to think like owners, leading to increased accountability, reduced turnover, and a stronger commitment to the firm’s success. To cultivate this mindset, establish a shared vision that aligns everyone’s efforts and communicates the impact of their work. Encourage autonomy and decision-making, creating a culture where new ideas are welcome. Recognize and reward ownership behaviors, inspiring others to follow suit. Offer continuous learning opportunities to invest in employee growth and professional development. Lead by example, demonstrating accountability and a commitment to the firm’s vision. Involve employees in decision-making and share success stories that celebrate their contributions. Nurturing this ownership mindset will drive productivity and resilience, positioning your A&E firm for lasting success in a competitive industry. 

Transparency and Communication 

To ensure that every staff member understands the rationale behind the firm’s business practices, transparency is crucial. Regular communication about the company’s goals, strategies, and challenges can build trust and create a unified sense of purpose among employees. When team members grasp the “why” behind company policies, they are more likely to align their efforts with the firm’s objectives. Transparency can also be valuable in sharing financial information to help employees see the relationship between their daily behavior, and the firm’s financial results. 

Transparency not only fosters understanding but also empowers employees to make more informed decisions in their roles. When staff members have a clear view of the firm’s financial performance, they can identify opportunities to contribute to cost-saving initiatives and improve overall efficiency. Additionally, transparent communication about the company’s challenges can encourage employees to proactively offer innovative solutions, strengthening the collaborative spirit within the organization. By embracing transparency, A&E firms can create a culture of open communication and shared responsibility, driving employee engagement and ultimately leading to improved business outcomes. 

Building Flexibility into Your Staffing Strategy 

Most A&E firms are experiencing the worst staffing shortages they have ever seen. This is leading to employee overwork and burnout and causing them to turn away work. It is also putting a huge strain on meeting project deadlines. 

But there are opportunities in this madness that can be realized by building flexibility into your staffing strategy. Some A&E firms are challenging the old-school practices of managing staff and using creative means to deal with talent shortages. Some ideas for dealing with heavy workloads amidst employee turnover include: 

  • Embrace remote work and flexible hours to tap into a broader talent pool 
  • Maintain a network of freelancers and contractors to handle peak workloads and specific expertise needs. 
  • Consider overseas resources trained in the U.S. for drafting and other tasks. 
  • Invest in cross-training to create an agile workforce 
  • Develop a talent pipeline by participating in industry events and job fairs. 
  • Leverage temporary staffing agencies for quick solutions during surges in project demand. 
  • Implement performance-based incentives to motivate employees

By adapting to changing demands, your A&E firm can remain competitive and even grow in challenging times. 

Business Management Training 

Most A&E professionals never learned business concepts in college. They often struggle to talk with clients about money, read financial and project reports, and understand common business and financial terminology. 

Amidst the challenges of a labor shortage, A&E firms can take a proactive approach to thrive and succeed. By maximizing the productivity of each employee and investing in their career growth, firms can build a resilient and capable workforce. 

The Find the Lost Dollars Training Program focuses on identifying areas of improvement within projects and business processes to increase win rates, utilization, cash flow, and project profits. The practical strategies and insights gained from this program can lead to significant improvements in 9 areas of your business. 

Implementing management training, efficient business best practices, leveraging automation, using creative hiring and staffing methods, and fostering a culture of ownership and transparency can drive positive change within your firm.  

Additionally, programs like Find the Lost Dollars can offer actionable solutions to improve project outcomes and profitability, while building a bench of business-savvy future leaders. Embracing these strategies can position your A&E firm for continued success in an ever-evolving competition for talent. 


Unlock the true potential of your firm's performance

Join the ranks of successful architects and engineers who have benefited from this transformational program, based on the bestselling book by A&E profitability expert, June R. Jewell.

Our program guarantees the following: 

  • Increase your Win Rate, Utilization and Project Profit Margins
  • Hold Your Staff Accountable for Measurable Results
  • Set Goals and track Progress
  • 10 Hour Self-Paced, Engaging, Fun Format with NO Time Out of the Office
  • Earn Continuing Education Credits that produce return on investmentPDH Hours Continuing Education Credits
  • Pair the training with our Business Management Assessment to really understand where to focus your attention

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