NJ location: Morristown
NJ employees: 48
Chief executive: M. Arthur Gensler Jr.
Who They Are: Architecture, design, and planning firm, with 30 offices around the world
What we love: Ample opportunities for career and personal advancement, and a generous profit-sharing plan
Architects, designers, and support staff work in an airy space under exposed ductwork, separated from the main corridor by open entryways and translucent sliding screens; employees and clients alike tend to gravitate to the corridor to relax and share ideas.
And once you talk to the people who work here, you understand that form deliberately follows function: “We have a very open culture, very collaborative, which is why I love working here,” says Reid Brockmeier, principal/managing director, who’s been with Gensler for sixteen years. He describes the company as “entrepreneurial,” in the sense that employees are encouraged to be creative and think beyond the limitations of their job titles. Gensler fosters that creativity through an array of learning and professional-development opportunities that are sponsored and/or funded by the firm.
Every Tuesday, for instance, the Morristown office holds what it calls Lunch and Learns: popular seminars, open to all employees, covering a variety of topics, from effective communication to Mexican architecture.
There are also in-house courses on subjects like digital design and codes and regulations, some of them approved by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for credit toward accreditation. In fact, employees aspiring to earn professional licenses or certifications receive tuition reimbursement for courses attended outside the office, and all employees are encouraged to sign up for outside seminars and share what they’ve learned with coworkers. More than 90 percent of employees in the Morristown office have taken advantage of the tuition reimbursement policy, a level of participation that benefits the business as a whole as well as its staff.
“Gensler prides itself on keeping up-to-date with all the latest information, whether it’s an employee assistance program or the latest design materials,” says Cathy Peterson , a senior associate at the firm. In fact, thanks to tuition reimbursement, nearly half of the staff is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited by the U.S. Green Building Council; it’s a feather in the cap for both employees and the firm, whose credo over the last 40 years has been that good design is sustainable design.
Another way Gensler encourages entrepreneurship is through its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and profit-sharing program. “This kind of employee-based ownership is unique within the industry,” says associate Lu Borges.
She’s a prime beneficiary of the company culture, having started as a receptionist, a job she figured would be temporary. Ten years later, she is the office’s marketing coordinator. “Gensler,” she says, “is completely committed to professional growth. That’s not just a mission statement.”
The firm, says Peterson, “is always interested in talking to talented, passionate candidates,” who are encouraged to post their résumés online at gensler.com.
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