A Sense of Belonging

McGranahan Architects’ Diversity and Inclusion Committee encourages all employees to take an active role in creating a culture of trust, vulnerability, and authenticity within the company.  We believe that a diverse and inclusive workplace is the foundation of meaningful contribution, genuine collaboration, and a sense of belonging for all of us.

In the spirit of diversity & inclusion, McGranahan Architects has focused on opening dialogue and providing avenues for firm-wide initiatives centered on increasing employee engagement. 

Our journey began with the formation of a D&I Committee composed of 12 staff members, including all four firm partners, which continues to meet two times a month to discuss areas of focus and propose initiatives for change. This discussion was kickstarted by engaging with Artemis Connection, an outside diversity and inclusion strategy consulting firm. Artemis supported our process by overseeing research, surveys, and interviews with all staff to identify areas of focus. Following an intense early engagement period, Artemis continued to lead monthly D&I Committee meetings over a four-month period and continues to administer a pulse survey to assess progress twice a year. Through this process an internal D&I Communication Plan was developed and implemented.

Several firmwide initiatives have been implemented through this plan. Ongoing education and conversations with the whole office were identified as a need. Our firm created monthly reading & discussion groups that focus on the AIA Guides for Equitable Practice – there are currently 6 Guides available: Intercultural Competence, Workplace Culture, Compensation, Recruitment & Retention, Negotiation, Building Relationships. We initiated coaching for leadership regarding communication style in response to pulse survey feedback and D&I elements have been added to staff reviews beginning in 2020.

Cultural workplace initiatives have also been implemented. Through our surveys, we found that a flexible schedule and work hours was one of our top priorities. The D&I Committee worked with firm leadership to write and implement a new policy establishing 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. as core collaboration hours, with flexibility for staff outside of that window. We moved our staff meetings from 4 p.m. to 3 p.m. to fit into the core collaborative hours. We have compiled a full list of office groups available to all staff in response to a request for transparency and a more inclusive workplace.

We’ve taken several steps to increase communication and sharing within the office. The first of these was the re-activation of Story to Story, a lunchtime food sharing and personal storytelling activity for the month of September which focused on culture, unconscious bias, and allyship. We have also initiated a series of Ask Me Anything events created to foster a more open dialogue and connection between all staff.