Article by Neil Ginty, WDA
The San Francisco Business Times’ Best Places to Work list did not feature any architecture firms for the past two years, but we can proudly say that we placed #11 on the smallest companies list this year, and are the only architecture firm on the entire list!
We submitted this year to recognize our investment in and commitment to living our values, all of which are focused on people and nurturing their personal and professional growth through mentorship, communication and transparency.
Our founder, William Duff, was committed to the concept of a people-based practice before the firm was even founded. He kept a notebook of ideas that would one day be articulated by the firm’s core values of Communication, Creativity, Transparency, Excellence and Growth.
“Building a building is about cooperation,” he said. “It takes a ton of interaction from the moment of inception of the idea to design development and through to the collaboration of construction. It’s not just the excellent design or the construction or the management, it’s the people.”
Committing billable time to the investment in people and being transparent about all aspects in the operations takes courage. Making the commitment to invest in people has been worth it at WDA and the rewards, both financial, professional and personal are a measure of our values.
Our staff’s three favorite benefits include:
- Summer hours: From Memorial Day through Labor Day we operate on “Summer Hours.” We give our team every other Friday off in exchange for working an extra hour Monday through Thursday.
- Profit sharing and bonuses: In addition to providing bonuses, we also provide profit sharing (in the form of 401k funds) to eligible employees in profitable years.
- In-house mentorship: We facilitate individual professional growth by assigning an in-house coach to each team member, including the executive team and founder. One-on-one meetings are scheduled monthly, and include lunch, paid by the firm.
To celebrate our placement on the list we created a video series called Q+A with WDA. We’ll introduce you to some of our teammates and talk about some additional reasons people like working at WDA. Stay tuned on Instagram on select Fridays and check out our series kick-off video here.