IIDA NY's first Facilities Forum of the year, "Finding Your Tribe," introduced 250-plus attendees to the ins and outs of talent acquisition and retention. Casey Baxter, facilities forum director, answered a few questions for EAL readers.
What kind of feedback did you receive? Was this year’s format different from forums past?
This is our traditional format—we generally do a panel-based lecture each year with three speakers and a moderator. What was different this year was that we moved the venue to a client space, which attracted a much bigger crowd.
Our feedback was amazing! I'm still getting emails from designers and attendees on how this event sparked conversation for them and their colleagues. I think it suited us really well that we had each of the generations represented: Boomer, Gen X, and our token Millennial. I saw head nods to a lot of the different points throughout the night from each of the speakers—relating to different generations of people within the crowd.
This also kind of lends itself to question three regarding follow-up events, but I was approached by several "mid-senior-level designers" who offered their gratitude to us for raising the topic and asking the question: "What can we do to continue to engage these folks? To develop their skills and help them transition into whatever it is that they aspire to?" That could be an entirely separate panel/round table event targeting this specific audience.
What were your personal favorite bits of wisdom or tips gleaned from the forum?
This was my favorite question posed by our moderator, Justin Mardex: "Some companies are trying to bring back 'water cooler' culture in their workplaces. Do you think it's worth forgoing some degree of productivity to create community?" Peter Mears responded with (I'm summarizing): "Without the community, there will be no productivity," and his overall theme seemed to be a desire to create these laid-back, culturally rich experiences within the company that start with "coffee and beer.”
Are there any follow-up events scheduled?
I think we scratched the surface of a very engaging topic. Everyone has a personal reaction to the idea of mentorship—whether they had a great experience or none at all. I've already been approached by LMNOP, a fellow industry organization that prides itself on these very ideas of knowledge transfer/mentoring, and they are interested in partnering with IIDA NY and the Facilities Forum in creating a combined event next year. There is definitely potential for follow-up events.