Best Places to Work-Midsize Companies: 15 Page Southerland Page

Page Senior Principal, Mattia J. Flabiano III discusses the perks of working at Page in an interview by the Dallas Business Journal. Read further to see what he has to say about Page.

Score: 90.65

Type of business: Architecture interiors engineering and consulting

Year founded: 1898

Ownership: Private

Number of Employees: 118 locally; 436 globally

2008 revenue: $92.79M

HR director: Lisa Rosenfeld; Director of Human Resources

Local address: 3500 Maple Ave., Ste. 600, Dallas 75219

PHONE: 214-522-3900


EXECUTIVE Q&A: Mattia Flabiano III, AIA, Principal

POPULAR PERKS: One of our most popular benefits include a 401(k) match with 100% vesting immediately. There is no waiting period. We want employees here who want to be here. We would hate to think that an employee who was ready for a new adventure stayed an extra 10 months just for 20% more vesting! Other popular benefits include reimbursing an employee when they pass an exam toward earning their licenses or an accreditation. All of the exams can be taken while on the clock!

EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION: We have your typical recognition of accomplishments during monthly meetings, assigning employees to a premier projects, sending an e-mail announcing an accomplishment, ordering updated business cards with their new accreditations listed, taking them to lunch, hosting happy hours or at merit and bonus time, but recognition is more than just announcing a name. Recognition is not owned by one person here. Recognition is a way of life. It is something everyone in the office is encouraged and empowered to do. If you become aware of an accomplishment or an achievement of a fellow co-worker, you share it. Timing is so important with recognition. We want to make sure that employees honor each other every day.

EMPLOYEE FEEDBACK: Employees are empowered to run with their ideas. If an employee wants to make a change or suggest something out of the box on a project, they are encouraged to work through their ideas and present it back to the team. Everyone is encouraged to get involved. Employees run our committees throughout the office. They aren’t management run, but employee run. We have groups that focus on sustainability, technology, quality, communications, specialty areas in the office, etc… All employees are encouraged to post articles, updates, lessons learned, new regulations, etc., on our intranet to share with their co-workers.

COMPANY CULTURE: We have a relaxed and diverse atmosphere; We are a collaborative environment. We have a firm of self-starters and entrepreneurs and encourage free-thinking, new ideas and sharing those ideas. We have no doors in our office except for the conference rooms. Often we have training for the different disciplines in the office; if a person from another one of the disciplines wants to attend to enhance their learning, they are encouraged to attend.

BOOSTING MORALE: One way is to keep them engaged in projects that are challenging. PSP has always had a diverse project mix, and that has helped us through these difficult economic times. Our architects and engineers are able to move from one specialized building type to another, the more complicated the better. We do our best to ensure that employees have the opportunity to meet their personal goals as well as their project deliverables. Both Architecture and Engineering require work experience in different phases of a project. We do our best to make sure an employee continues to have a diverse enough experience to ensure they get what they need to grow as well as meet their personal growth objectives.

COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES: Of course we have the standard communications such as monthly gatherings for announcements and celebrations, an intranet site for postings and firm-wide e-mails announcing awards and achievements. One of the strategies that works for us is having no doors. From the top down we do not have any barriers to effective communication. It allows everyone to build relationships and be approachable. Having a flat organization has allowed employees to feel empowered to lead at all levels regardless of title.

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT: We encourage more than a workplace. We know that our employees spend many hours together. We recognize each other as family/friends, not just as co-workers. The majority of our out-of-work activities include spouses and/or families. We have happy hours, day at horse races, softball teams, bowling outings, family picnics, golf tournaments, office putt putt tournaments setting up the course throughout the floor, holiday parties, birthday celebrations, family trick or treating around the office; thanksgiving potluck, chili cook-off…... For our community involvement we participate in CANstruction (Best Structural design), The Dallas Arboretum Storybook Playhouse build (we were awarded most creative!), Retrospect, “We care” supporting the Boys and Girls’ Club, holiday toy drives, supporting the Salesmanship Club of Dallas Erik Jonsson Community School and Family Therapy Center.

HIRING AND RETAINING EMPLOYEES: Hire for culture. There are many strong technical people out there. Not all of them are a great fit for PSP. Our business is just as much about the relationship and understanding your clients needs as it is in producing the product. Our employees understand the balance. The cultural fit is just as important as the technical fit. We hire quality people who can add to the success of PageSoutherlandPage. We don’t just “fill roles.” We hire people that we empower to make smart decisions.

RECRUITING STRATEGIES: Employee Referrals; employees recruit talent — you refer people you want to work with. Our employees understand our culture and what it takes to work at PageSoutherlandPage.

WHY YOUR COMPANY RANKS: Loyalty, tenure, atmosphere, empowerment. We recognize that our employees are our biggest asset. A majority of our clients are return clients. The employees they worked with and had a positive experience with are still at PSP and they continue to provide that service at a superior level. Collaboration at every level is the core of our success. We acknowledge that employment is a two-way relationship — both the employee and employer must find value in the relationship.

Contributed By

Dallas Business Journal