Posts tagged ‘Civil Engineering Companies’

Does your firm have a leadership transition plan? (and why should you care?)

By Carol Metzner, President, The Metzner Group, LLC and
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of

An effective change in leadership from one chief executive to another is key to an organization’s survival. A transition tests the organization’s ability to renew itself, so that it can continue to fulfill its mission in a changing environment. A successful change in leadership preserves the organization and the trust of its stakeholders, and allows it to grow and adapt to meet new challenges with imagination and enthusiasm.

In the past several years, the A/E marketplace has seen a high number of mergers and acquisitions. Firms facing retiring leadership have options. They can transfer ownership to the next generation; train and coach potential internal successor candidates; bring leadership talent in from the outside; or sell/merge the firm.

Over my 20+ years of recruiting and search, I have seen firms formulate excellent leadership transitions and I have seen other firms fail terribly. In today’s market, more than ever, the wrong choice or even a safe choice for successor can lead to turbulent times. A firm can never afford to make an incorrect choice.  However, making no choice is tantamount to a poor choice. What are retiring executives to do?  How can they walk the fine line of selecting the “right” successor, especially if that person is from outside the firm, without drastically shifting the culture or upsetting internal management candidates? The answers are complex and perhaps a great future newsletter topic!  However, several quick items can be agreed upon: It is important to have a strong board of directors or executive management team to monitor the process. The choice of a leadership successor will be one of the most important decisions your board, outside board members and team will have.  Additionally, selecting the right outside management consultant can offer objectivity and facilitate a time frame.  One thing is for sure:  IF employees have confidence in their executive team, then they will, at least initially, support a succession choice (even if they don’t like it) because they KNOW that the CEO, board and/or advisors have the health and welfare of the firm at heart.

Whether you are a human resource professional or design professional, it would be in your best interest to find out if your company has any plan for it’s future successors.  Ask your leadership or write the question on the intranet.  Are you working for a company that really is thinking about their future as well as yours?


October 15, 2008 at 3:14 pm 1 comment

Company “Gossip” Websites

By Carol Metzner
President, The Metzner Group, LLC
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC home of

One definition of Gossip is “a form of communications that an individual(s) participates in for the purpose of discussion, or passing onto to others, hearsay information.”

Office gossip sites are the next wave in sites for job seekers to review. Some of these sites are:,, Many civil engineers are visiting the sites and writing, some say “critiquing”, the civil engineering firms that they work for or have worked for. These sites allow employees to confidentially and/or anonomously post information about company interview processes, company culture, specific management styles, benefits, salaries, bonuses, workspace and anything you can think to comment about. Comments range from “great company with strong benefits” to “avoid manager of highway design, based in corporate office, as he micromanages.”

Should companies be concerned…yes. Should employees take the time to comment on their company’s culture, management style, benefits, salaries, etc…sure. Should job seekers review these sites…yes, with caution.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Should companies be concerned?

Initially it seemed these sites were similar to the (CEC) Forum “Ventilation Station”; a place to just let it all out. These sites have now evolved to include happy, satisfied employee reviews of their employers as well as the direct, not so positive critiques. Companies need to regularly monitor these sites and make sure that information posted is relevant and not just a disgruntled employee looking to slam the company. Companies can use the information as informal employee surveys ~ a way to take a pulse from the anonymous group. That being said, anonymous reviews should be read with a questionable eye. I’ll address this again under the value of these sites to job seekers.

Should employees take the time to comment on companies?

Yes, if you, as an employee, can write an honest evaluation of your current or past employer then you should. Discuss the interview process, company culture, benefits, bonuses, etc. Is your work space comfortable? Does the company encourage and pay for additional training? Do they encourage involvement in professional associations? What did you want to know about a company before you joined them? Try to be constructive, but honest, in your critique.

Should job seekers review these sites?

Yes, as long as you understand that what you are reading may be incorrect. Anonymous reviews are questionable ~ not necessarily false. Many of these sites have built in systems to weed out false reviews. Site editors review comments for trends and inconsistent information. So, job seekers shouldn’t avoid a company that receives some negative comments. Instead, they should use these reviews to prepare for interviews at the companies. Compare feedback on multiple sites, talk to alumni from your school who may be at the mentioned company. Do your homework. These sites should be viewed just as another tool for gathering information and preparing for interviews.

Can you recall the children’s game called “PASS IT ON?” Rarely does the comment at the start of the game end up as the same comment at the end of the game. REMEMBER, not only are there at least two sides to every story….those stories over time aren’t always remembered accurately!

August 27, 2008 at 11:44 am 2 comments

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