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Megan Miller
Megan Miller
Megan Miller is a senior product marketing specialist for Herndon-based Deltek, the leading global provider of enterprise software and information solutions for professional services firms and government contractors, and can be found at

Invest in Your Starting Lineup and Improve Bench Strength

August 31st, 2015 by Megan Miller

As football season rolls around, I find myself thinking about cool fall evenings, cheering fans, hot chocolate and A&E firms. I know you probably think the last one is a typo, but it isn’t. Football teams and A&E firms both have a common goal: finding and keeping the best players so they can win.

In the 36th Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study, firms reported an average net revenue growth forecast of 6.2%, with some firms forecasting 13.4% or higher growth. The study also shows the average employee turnover rate is 13.7% and the average staff growth rate is 4.7%. These statistics mean that A&E firms are optimistic about growth and are working hard to find the right team members to make further growth a reality.

So, what can A&E firms do to attract and keep the right people? To start, they can learn from successful football teams when it comes to team-building and recruiting.


The top colleges and NFL teams don’t sit back and wait for applications from stand-out running backs and star quarterbacks. Their scouts are always looking for the right team members to fit into their programs. And, they are successful.

In the A&E industry, we tend to be more passive about recruiting – and that needs to change. Are you actively looking for the best and brightest to fill your gaps? Or is someone proactively recruiting your best and brightest? It’s time to assess how you can take your recruiting to the next level and find the right person for the job, instead of waiting for them to knock on your door or submit their resume.


When you look at some of the best athletes in the country, they don’t get there by chance. They put in hours of training and proactively plan to improve their skills so they can continue to stay on top of their game.

However, in the A&E industry, many firms are hesitant to train staff. Some express concern that they could be wasting money on employee training that will ultimately only benefit another employer if those employees leave. But, a recent webcast with PSMJ Resources underscored that leading firms invest in their teams.

The best project managers and technical professionals didn’t get there naturally. They have training programs, coaches and mentors to help take them from good to great. These top firms put together training plans or skills checklists to help identify what training can help employees make even greater contributions to the team. What programs does your A&E firm have in place to build your team’s technical and management muscles?

Bench Strength

The investment in the team can’t stop with the starting lineup. As the saying goes, rising tides raise all ships. Investing in every single person in your firm can have significant returns on investment.

The leading firms in the industry know that training and coaching their whole team leads to better overall project delivery. But, it also helps your starting lineup know they have a solid back-up player.

After all, if employees are over-extended and overworked for a long time, they may look for opportunities to get drafted elsewhere for a reprieve. Building your bench strength helps your starting lineup today and positions your firm for success in years to come.

Team Synergy

Let’s debunk the myth that if we invest in our people, we are throwing our money away. Employees leave because they are NOT being invested in, not because they have a new skill and want to run across the street to sell it.

Employees are more loyal to companies that show they care about their teams and are willing to invest in them. And, as teams work together longer, there are natural synergies and efficiencies that ultimately result in a better experience for clients and the team itself.

So, as football season kicks off and you begin developing strategic plans for 2016, where will you invest in your starting lineup and how will you improve your bench strength? Look to the 36th Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study for inspiration.

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