Establishing and maintaining a healthy workplace culture is one of the key drivers to running a successful, productive business. From leadership to mentoring, flexible work and equity, the ACA covers the important topics that will assist you to build a strong workplace culture, and attract and retain the best people for your practice.
The ACA is delighted to continue the Stepping Up series for 2023, a collaborative event and editorial series with Parlour and the Architecture Group of the Champions of Change. See CPD offerings from 2022 and the full event calendar for 2023.
Should your workplace return to ‘office first’?
Hybrid work isn’t just a trend – it’s becoming the new norm. But offices still matter, especially when it comes to collaboration, writes HR specialist Merilyn Speiser.
Sponsorship – The Last Mile
Welcome to The Last Mile, a new podcast featuring interviews with six women about their pathway to ownership, the people who sponsored them to cover the last mile, and their own sponsorship practices. This initiative was developed by the Sponsorship Action Group from the Champions of Change Architecture Group.
Top drivers for job candidates
What motivates candidates when pursuing roles? What are the key things they are looking for in a practice? Anna Roussos from ROUSSOS Recruitment outlines some of the recent shifts in the employment landscape.
Five Practical Steps to Attract & Retain Top Talent
Finding skilled, capable, and motivated staff has become an increasing challenge for Australian businesses, with the labour market at its tightest since the 1970s. What are the push and pull factors for candidates who have the pick of the market? Macquarie Bank shares how business leaders are winning the hearts and minds of great recruits.
Making Space for Leadership
Delegate, listen, be transparent, give feedback, step back and gain perspective, ACA NSW/ACT Committee member Michael Lewarne explores what good leadership might look like in practice.
Sexual Harassment Reforms – What They Mean For Employers
Recent anti-discrimination and Fair Work amendment legislation has introduced a number of important legislative changes specifically targeting sexual harassment in the workplace. Tom Earls from Fair Work Lawyers provides a recap of the changes and their implications for employers.
New Workplace Laws – Sexual Harassment
New federal legislation has strengthened workplace laws around sexual harassment. From 6 March, the prohibition of sexual harassment in the workplace is enshrined in the Fair Work Act, and there is now a positive duty on employers to prevent workplace sexual harassment, sex discrimination and victimisation. Here we highlight some relevant ACA resources.
Why Practices Should Conduct Retention Interviews
In 2023, talent attraction and retention promise to be ongoing challenges for Australian architecture. So, how do you hold on to the amazing talent you’ve got? Deltek outlines the benefits of conducting regular staff retention interviews and offers tips on how to conduct them.
Measuring Employee Engagement
Employee engagement surveys are becoming one of the most important leadership tools, having positive impacts on internal communication, problem solving and staff retention.
Understanding career planning and why it matters
Career planning within practices helps them plan for the future, identify opportunities for training, development and mentoring, and develop areas of collective knowledge and expertise. It helps individuals to understand their role within a team and to better articulate their skills, value and ambitions. All together this helps create a stable workplace that people can feel confident within.
How to support career sponsorship
Workplaces that support best-practice career sponsorship are collaborative, collegial and inclusive. They have cultures that share knowledge and work to enhance the careers of all as a collective endeavour. So, what are the characteristics of such a workplace, and how can they be achieved?
What is career sponsorship and why does it matter?
How can we best use our power and influence to enhance and accelerate the careers of others? Sponsorship provides a framework for collaborative career development that, when done well, supports concrete outcomes and direct advancement, and improves workplace culture.
Role Descriptions & Competency Map
The Champions of Change Architecture Group has developed the Role Descriptions Tool and Competency Map to support architectural practices in developing a transparent system of career development within their practice. This creates a clear visual guide of many skills required in our industry and the expected competencies for various career stages.
Mentoring case study – Hassell
Emerging from a survey of graduates in 2021, the mentoring program running in the Hassell Brisbane studio has encouraged new relationships and collaborations within the practice, building different knowledge, experiences and networks. The People Coach program is another new initiative, which is available to all staff globally.
Mentoring case study – SJB
SJB has implemented two mentoring programs to cater for different preferences and needs – a less formal program called SJBuddies and the more formal SJB Mentoring.
Mentoring case study – Bates Smart
Bates Smart outlines their reasons for setting up their mentoring program, which is part of a broader Career Planning Framework and includes approximately 280 participants.
Mentoring – Follow-up Q&A
The recent Stepping Up on Mentoring session was extremely popular and there was a flood of questions in the chat, too many to answer on the day. Our speakers have generously answered these questions as a follow-up.
Mentoring case study – COX
COX Architecture outlines how their mentoring program works, the benefits and challenges of implementation, and some advice for others keen on setting up a program for their own practice.
How to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
There is substantial and compelling evidence that current legalistic responses to sexual harassment in the workplace are not effective in combating the problem and, in some cases, may exacerbate it. A new approach is required, one based in transparency, respect and cultural change. The Disrupting the System report provides the framework for this change.
Understanding Bullying & Harassment
Sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace is unacceptable and can be unlawful under anti-discrimination, equal employment opportunity, workplace relations and human rights laws. The first steps in ensuring our workplaces are safe places is to understand what bullying and harassment looks like, to recognise the cultures that enable it, and to understand the costs to individuals and practices.
Disrupting the System – addressing sexual harassment
‘Disrupting the System: Preventing and responding to workplace sexual harassment’, a report from the Champions of Change Coalition, aims to shift the way we understand and respond to sexual harassment. The document provides a comprehensive practical guide for organisations and workplaces.
The Stepping Up on Harassment session focuses on sexual harassment, bullying and family and domestic violence. These are challenging topics, but ones we must engage with in meaningful, sensitive and robust ways. Watch this considered discussion with Adam Haddow of SJB, Tara Keast of DesignInc and Gosha Haley of Grimshaw.
Architecture Talent Roundup – FY 21/22
Our wonderful sponsor, Anna Roussos from Roussos Recruitment, offers a roundup of the Adelaide architectural employment market – a market with a challenging talent shortfall and an industry that is likely to remain buoyant in 2022.
Our resource roundup points to various mentoring platforms and programs, as well as information and advice on how to implement effective mentoring programs, alongside the suite of Stepping Up resources.
What is mentoring and why does it matter?
Mentoring offers opportunities and pathways for both mentors and mentees to expand their knowledge base, build relationships and develop invaluable skills. Incorporating a mentoring program into your practice can have a substantial impact on individuals and practice culture, regardless of your size or scale.
How to create an effective mentoring program
An effective mentoring program helps individuals develop their careers and navigate the world of work. It helps transfer knowledge across generations, improves the skills of mentors and mentees, and build practice and professional cultures.
How to be a Good Leader
Improving culture within architectural offices starts at the top, but everyone has a role to play. This article offers ten tips to become a better leader, and features a downloadable poster and toolkit for your practice.
Trends & Challenges in Practice
Architecture and engineering firms across the Asia Pacific describe the business challenges they are currently facing and how they are planning to overcome them.
Watch the Stepping Up session on the what, why and how of mentoring, with speakers Ben Green of Em Be Ce, Erin Collins of Hayball and Gemma McDonald of DKO, and hosts Angelina Pillai, Monica Edwards and Justine Clark. The recording includes bonus footage from the conversation after the session closed.
The Champions of Change Leadership Toolkit proposes 10 Tips for all to consider about good leadership, with the ultimate goal of improving culture within architectural offices. Hamish Ginn from SJB takes us through the background, motivations and use of the toolkit.
How to create a good parental leave policy
A good Parental Leave Policy is essential to creating a workplace culture and policy environment that supports parents at all stages. This helps ensure that raising a family doesn’t derail or devalue the career of a talented and valued individual, while also enabling the practice to accrue long-term benefits from investing in staff training and development. This article offers an approach to developing and implementing a parental leave policy.
What is parental leave and why does it matter?
Parental leave is much more than a short-term leave entitlement for working mothers. Good parental leave policies are applicable to all, helping everyone to lead a balanced life, with time for families, and time to commit to projects, practice life and career. The following article outlines the benefits and challenges of good parental leave policies, and some recommended strategies to implement before, during and after leave.
On Parental Leave
Watch Stepping Up on Parental Leave, a frank and useful conversation with Philip Vivian of Bates Smart, Zoë King of Cox and Richard Sucksmith of John Wardle Architects – includes bonus footage from the conversation after the event.
There are plenty of great resources out there with advice and information on transitioning to flexible work. Here are a few of our favourite informative and thought-provoking articles, podcasts and websites, as well as the suite of Stepping Up resources.
How to create an effective flex policy
An open and transparent flexible work policy is critical to fostering an effective, collaborative and healthy workplace, where people feel supported if they choose to work flexibly and where meaningful and rewarding career opportunities are available. The following article includes practical advice on developing and implementing a flex policy in practice.
What is flexibility & why does it matter?
Modern workplace culture expectations have been strong drivers for flexible working for some time, but the arrival of the pandemic in early 2020 has accelerated the transition for many. So, how does flexibility work in practice, what are the benefits and challenges, what is its impact on equity, what is the business case for change and what are some of the types of flexible working?
Flexibility case study – Woods Bagot
Woods Bagot explains the process of committing to increased flexibility and outlines some of the benefits and challenges as they move forward into the ‘new normal’.
Flexibility case study – BVN
BVN outlines some of the initiatives that have worked for them in their transition to the All Roles Flex model and now a Hybrid Working Model.
Flexibility case study – COX
COX Architecture identified some key takeaways from the implementation process of the All Roles Flex policy.
Listening and Learning – How it works
Monica Edwards summarises the process, objectives and outcomes of the Listening and Learning sessions, developed by the Champions of Change Coalition.
Listening, Learning and Leading
Listening and Learning is fundamental to the Champions of Change Coalition approach. Monica Edwards outlines the four-step process, describing it in relation to design processes.
Architects Champions of Change
Monica Edwards and Shaun Carter were instrumental in getting the Champions of Change Architecture Group going and remain highly involved. They discuss the Champions’ origins, achievements and challenges, and plans for the future.
Securing Talent in 2021
This year has been one of the toughest periods for sourcing talent in the Australian construction industry. Recruitment specialist Anna Roussos offers some timely tips for attracting and securing candidates.
Architecture & Unbuilt Legacy
Michael Lewarne challenges architects to reflect on the legacy they want to leave.
Enhancing Management and Leadership
Parlour’s Work & Wellbeing survey increases understanding of the impacts of the pandemic on Australian architecture. What are the opportunities to improve and change leadership and management in the profession? What might that mean for practices? Anwyn Hocking unpacks the answers to the open questions.
Flexibility and Remote Working
Many practices are at the crossroads of the hybrid working model, but how do we adapt to the new way of working? Fiona Martin reflects on the best way forward for practices big and small.
Balancing Flex with the Needs of Business
Successful flexible work arrangements often rely on good communication and an effective (ongoing) consultative process. Angelina Pillai offers some timely advice on rolling out flex in the workplace.
Flexible Working – A Blended Approach
COVID-19 has been a game-changer in the world of work, with enforced remote working prompting a reassessment of the way we do things. Merilyn Speiser explores the lessons of lockdown.
Leadership for Architects: 101
Peter Raisbeck explores how ethical leadership and decision making are crucial in these uncertain times.
Effective Leadership with Remote Teams
Robert Peake, principal of Management for Design, offers his top tips for effective leadership with remote teams, including setting clear expectations and following through, giving trust freely, and managing achievement, not time.
How to Hire, Fire & Manage Employees
Recruiting the right people and then managing them well is essential to the success of your practice. Merilyn Speiser offers a guide to getting the HR fundamentals right.
Pay Equity: Resources & Reading
The issue of pay equity has been on the agenda for Australian governments and business for decades, but pay disparities remain a persistent problem in many workplaces.
Implementing a New HR Policy
How do you build a strong HR policy without impacting on the culture of your practice? Merilyn Speiser provides a brief guide on implementing change as seamlessly as possible.
How to Achieve Pay Equity
Compare and contrast pay rates and don’t misread confidence for competence, advises Cassandra Keller.
Tips for Maternity Leave
Sarah Lebner reviews her experience of preparing for maternity leave while balancing her responsibilities as a principal architect.
Flexibility - New Award Clauses
New clauses in Modern Awards aim to further support flexible work. The ACA outlines what this might mean, how employers can prepare for these changes, and where to find good material to support flexible workplaces.
Right to Request Flexible Work
The Modern Awards include a new clause outlining the right to request flexible work.
Parlour Research and Data Analysis
New data analysis by Parlour's Gill Matthewson shows that we've seen some improvement in the stats for women architects, particularly registration and business ownership, but the gender pay gap persists and it's clear there is still much work to be done.
Rethinking Culture, Communication and Boundaries
Michael Lewarne offers prognostications and provocations about cultural change and leadership in the architecture profession.
How to Make Flexibility Work for your Practice
Think flexible working will hurt your bottom line? A recent study found flexible workers were more, not less productive than their peers. So, how can you make it work in your practice? Merilyn Speiser from Catalina Consultants looks at the issues.
Report Identifies Widespread Sexual Harassment
The Australian Human Rights Commission has released the findings of its national survey on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.
Valuable Experience or Exploitation? The Story of Unpaid Internships
In a profession under pressure, unpaid internships are becoming increasingly common, but they may be placing our most vulnerable students and graduates at risk. Melonie Bayl-Smith unpacks the issues.
Managing the Risk of Sexual Harassment
Implementing policies and staff training around harassment are important, but enforcement is crucial. Employers must be prepared to take direct action when required, advises employment law specialist Elizabeth Radley.
Insurance and Sexual Harassment Claims
Special Counsel Sarah Wood outlines the insurance implications of sexual harassment claims, and suggests risk mitigation strategies for architectural practices.
The Ultimate Return to Work
Providing support and easing the transition for an employee returning to work makes good business sense, argues Jennekin Dicks.
Stopping Harassment in its Tracks
How does your practice address sexual harassment at work? Merilyn Speiser from Catalina Consultants offers a 10-step approach to keep your business harassment-free.
Individual Flexibility Arrangements
Individual flexibility arrangements provide the opportunity to vary modern awards or enterprise agreements to provide flexibility in a fair and appropriate manner.
The powerful impact of part-time work
Part-time employment can have enormous benefits - to employers and employees, but also to the creative process, argues Madeline Sewall.
The Merits of Mentoring
When it comes to creating a motivated and well-supported architectural workforce, mentoring is a no-brainer, argues Michael Smith.
Go Hard or Go Home!
Lee Hillam reflects on the long-hours culture in architecture.
Wanted: More women at the top
Women make great leaders, but a seat at the top table is often elusive. Emma Williamson explores the obstacles women face on the road to the top.
Reverse mentoring has much to offer architectural practices, with potential benefits to employees, employers and the whole business.
EOFY: Remuneration resolutions
Leone Lorrimer offers a series of resolutions to help ensure that architectural practices provide fair and equitable remuneration, and a set of resources to support them.
Managing for Happiness
Nurturing a company culture of opportunity and challenge, support and appreciation is not just about giving you a warm fuzzy feeling - it can increase your bottom line. Rena Klein makes the case.
Champions of Change
Sydney-based representatives from top Australian architecture practices have signed up for the first Male Champions of Change program in architecture. Leone Lorrimer reports on the launch event, the initiative, and what it means for Australian architecture.
Successful Leadership Succession
How do you develop a clear, effective process for succession in your practice? In this member-only resource, Robert Peake outlines the key issues and strategies around planning for succession, and warns of problems you may encounter.
A Guide to Managing Performance
Retaining high performing employees and managing performance have major business benefits. Peta Tumpey and Katie Simon of TressCox Lawyers provide a guide.
Recent research on registration has identified concerns about the way the process impacts negatively on women - and thereby on practice more broadly. What can the ACA and architectural practices do to help improve things?
Making Strategy Happen
Does your practice have an effective strategic plan? Robert Peake, of Management for Design, outlines the importance of strategy, and suggests some ways to get started.
Supporting Working Parents
What does the recent Human Rights Commission report mean for architectural businesses?
Parlour Guides to Equitable Practice
The Parlour Guides to Equitable Practice aim to help Australian architecture move towards a more equitable profession; one that offers opportunity for all and is better positioned to meet contemporary challenges.
Why HR Policy Matters
With the release of the new ACA HR Policy Templates, we outline the benefits of having policy in place for practices of all sizes.
Guide to Hiring New Employees
A new guide for small business from the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Equal Pay Day draws attention to the pay disparity between men and women. We list some resources to help you ensure this is not an issue in your practice.
To Work or Not to Work? The Part-time Question
Melonie Bayl-Smith argues that flexible work arrangements may be the best option for an architectural practice to retain its corporate knowledge and for the profession to retain its talent.
How do you make performance reviews productive for both the business and the employee?