Certification is JUST the start…
We recently hosted a JUST Label event in our Los Angeles office, and for us, becoming more socially just has been a goal for quite some time, but has increased in importance and awareness after the JUST certification, which highlighted where the company could get even better.
During a recent panel discussion hosted by BuroHappold Engineering and the AIA|LA Women in Architecture Committee, David Herd, Managing Partner of BuroHappold in the U.S. gave his view on areas of improvement for the firm in order to be more socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative. This included topics like gender diversity, gender pay equity, and ethnic and racial diversity – all of which have room for improvement at BuroHappold, despite being better than the industry average.
BuroHappold has implemented family-friendly policies in order to encourage retention of employees with families, such as two-weeks paid family bonding leave, up to 12 weeks employment-protected unpaid maternity and paternity leave, flexible hours, and ample vacation time to promote family bonding. Each policy was implemented with the hope that, as workers take advantage of these opportunities, female retention, and thus equity in higher positions, will increase.
For ethnic and racial diversity, when compared to the state census data, all of Burohappold’s U.S. offices are either in line with the state census or are more ethnically and racially diverse. Even with this alignment, BuroHappold values diverse teams and will continue to increase ethnic and racial diversity amongst staff. Similar to the retention and internal promotion of females, it is hoped that internal promotions will lead to more diversity at the management levels.
Finally, as a firm, BuroHappold has been a leader in sustainability for over a decade, having worked on 11 Net Zero / Living Building Challenge designed projects, 20+ LEED Platinum certified projects, many highly sustainable master plans, and more. At the forefront of the company’s aim to become increasingly sustainable is the Los Angeles office at 800 Wilshire Blvd. The new location in downtown LA provided excellent access to public transportation – utilized by upwards of 75% of the LA staff – and features many programs and perks around sustainability and wellness. This includes weekly yoga classes, basketball, ping pong, fruit infused water, standing workstations, living walls and plants, and more.
Overall, worker satisfaction is 86% in the New York office and 90% in the Los Angeles office. The focus in the future will be to bring in a diverse workforce at all staff levels, promoting workers internally, retaining female employees, closing pay gaps, and increasing the sustainability of each office.
What the attendees had to say
“I really enjoyed the ‘knowledge exchange’ atmosphere that was created because the presenters were frank and open about not only what they have achieved through the JUST program, but the issues the analysis has highlighted within their organization. This was the first AIA WIA event I have attended since arriving in LA and I was extremely encouraged to find how open and welcoming the event and attendees were.”
Charlotte Docherty, Studio Director, Ben Adams Architects
“I really found this to be a thought-provoking topic and presentation. It was interesting to hear from firms who have taken sustainability goals one step further in an effort to make their company a better workplace for employees. It was especially interesting to hear how firms in the A/E community are trying to tackle current social issues like pay and gender equity and the challenges they’ve faced.”
Carol Lanham, Civic Principal, HDR
To find out more about how your firm can receive a JUST label and lead the transformation in your community, visit the website here.