The development of Haskell 2025, the company’s strategic plan for purposeful growth, created an increased demand for talent. Haskell leaders identified a need to attract and invest in top young professionals while also promoting the growth of existing roles and people.
Two of the Haskell 2025’s six pillars, “Expand Diversity” and “Optimize Intellectual Capital,” relate directly to the development of human resources. And the cornerstone of the entire plan, “Provide Team Members with the Best Job of Their Lives,” relies heavily on professional growth.
As a result, Haskell launched its Workforce Development Strategy, a division dedicated to maximizing growth and development of in-house talent as well as communicating to recruits the culture and values exemplified by team members.
As one of its first initiatives, Workforce Development launched a University Relations effort. Led by Director Mike Huskey, University Relations set out to formalize campus outreach, refreshing the Summer Internship Program, engaging year-round interns and increasing involvement on university campuses.
“Service is one of our core values,” Huskey said. “Our team members were doing a lot of that work already, but there was no business strategy around it. University Relations team is here to take those acts of kindness and acts of charity and make it a formalized approach for students.”
It soon was apparent that this level of outreach required a full-time effort, so University Relations formed as a separate division of Workforce Development, staffed by Huskey, a former Project Director and longtime Haskell employee, and Coordinator Deidre Brearley, another “True Blue” employee with nearly 20 years as a Haskell recruiter.
“Our focus is in connecting colleges and universities at a level that is appropriate for an employer to have,” Huskey said. “We don’t want to just swing in and be an employer at a career fair. We meet with the students. We act as an advisor in student organizations. We sponsor internship programs. We are establishing relationships with key university faculty. We’re actively recruiting and establishing relationships at HCBUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).”
Internally, Workforce Development has evaluated multiple leadership positions in Haskell with an eye toward creating programming and long-term solutions for accelerated development. In one of its first projects, a clear plan was needed for superintendents in charge of jobsites to be developed more quickly and efficiently.
Three teams – Workforce Development, Talent Acquisition, and Construction Core – worked together to bring in recruits and team members. A pipeline for talent development was built to train superintendent recruits. Mike McLauchlan, Manager of Technical Training and Development, helped revamp and rebuild the Haskell superintendent curriculum with increased rigor and intensity. David Bates, Vice President of Construction Core, recruited, screened, and interviewed potential superintendents and shifted to a team interview model. A third-party recruiter was brought in to fill immediate gaps in the superintendent roles.
In the same way, the role of project director, who is the team lead of design and construction for an integrated Design-Build project, was reevaluated. It was found that training traditionally done through shadowing or mentoring could potentially leave a gap in knowledge and a limited scope of skillsets.
Workforce Development created programming, with the initial 12 training sessions beginning in July 2020, to source talent and train project directors for a more diverse range of skills. The plan not only intends to accelerate development for project directors but intends to connect leaders and teach problem-solving and collaboration.
“We want to make sure that we get the project directors knowing who the go-to people are, knowing what the expectations are, knowing how to solve a problem if they don’t have the solution at their fingertips, and feeling comfortable as one Haskell,” said Dave Balz, head of Workforce Development.
The teams’ roadmap leads to more review, revision and outreach. Workforce Development next plans to approach two projects – linking the relationship selling and niche product knowledge needed in technical sales roles, and readdressing Design Manager development. Meanwhile, University Relations plans to grow campus outreach by expanding involvement at universities by getting team members involved as guest lecturers, club sponsors, and more.
About the writer: Ashton Erickson is a Haskell 2020 summer intern working in the Corporate Marketing department. She is a sophomore at the University of Florida majoring in Marketing and Economics.