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A community college providing 21st century job training repositions itself with a new institutional master plan arising from an inclusive engagement process and robust data analytics

Linking healthy culture to employee well-being

Multiple US-based design firms
New Realities: Employee Wellness and Organizational Culture in Design Firms
Lens Services: Measuring Design Impact, Developing Organizations

Industry benchmarking research with customized firm-level reporting helps industry leaders navigate the post-pandemic employee engagement landscape and build cultures where diverse design professionals can thrive.
who participated

A trusted advisor to Lens and leading design firms, Cameron MacAllister Group (CMG) helps organizations shape strategy, tell their stories, and build healthy cultures where diverse employees can thrive. In recent years, CMG’s consultants heard from many clients who were concerned about employee well-being and unsure how to address burnout that seemed to disproportionately impact young and minoritized professionals. Recognizing the need for data to help leaders understand and navigate these new realities, CMG partnered with our team to develop an industry benchmarking study and customized reporting that would help firms understand and identify opportunities to improve their employees’ experiences.

Leveraging experience gained through a decade of research on justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in the architectural profession, our team hypothesized that cultural issues and poor interpersonal dynamics might be key drivers of low morale and high turnover in the industry, especially among minoritized populations. We developed a thirty-question survey exploring these issues and distributed to employees in US- and Canada-based architectural firms, collecting a total of 2,750 responses from 57 firms.

Burnout and engagement
burned out engaged

27% of participants reported that they have considered leaving their jobs for mental health reasons within the last six months, with higher rates of burnout and interpersonal stress among Millennials, women, non-binary, and BIPOC professionals. The survey notes opportunities that can create cultures where diverse employees thrive including: experiences of inclusion, fairness, support from one’s leaders, engagement in one’s work, and work-life flexibility are all strongly predictive of employee well-being and, ultimately, intent to stay with one’s firm.

who participated
Fostering 21st century teaching and learning; robust campus development
Participating firms have reported using our national benchmarking findings to provoke conversations about firm culture and to inform strategy. One custom reporting client worked with our team to understand dynamics within each of their national studios, empowering local studio leaders to use survey insights as they guided their teams in culture change management processes. Finally, our team has shared industry-wide findings in workshops about equitable leadership and culture change in venues including the Design Colloquium and the AIA Conference on Architecture.