In recent months, several underrepresented emerging professionals have shared similar accounts of being discharged within their initial months of employment and without a proper debrief. There was a lack of objective feedback or opportunity for improvement, only left with the disappointing news they weren’t a good fit with the firm culture. This is a worrisome pattern that presents an opportunity to examine the way firms recruit and retain diverse employees, and to properly implement Chapter 4 of the AIA Guides for Equitable Practice. Below are some important things to consider and additional references.
1. Over 50% of architecture students are from underrepresented populations, firms need to start doing the work now to be ready for the growing diversity in the pipeline.
2. Firms need to work on creating an inclusive firm culture that allows everyone to fit in and share their diverse perspectives.
3. All evaluations, especially early onboarding reviews, should provide objective, constructive and actionable feedback. Please reference this toolkit and article on Identifying Bias in Performance Evaluations.
4. Per the following sections of the AIA Code of Ethics, emerging professionals need to be mentored, and given proper time and tools for professional development: