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WSPs Megan Van Pelt shares what employees need to thrive

WSP's Megan Van Pelt shares what employees need to thrive

 August 03, 2022

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Embarking on purposeful work at a progressive organization can make for a very rewarding career choice.

"Do what you love at an organization with a purpose," attests WSP.

Here, WSP's Global Chief Human Resource Officer Megan Van Pelt examines what employees need to thrive at work. Megan is responsible for the oversight of programs including strategy, talent acquisition, employee development, succession planning, compensation and benefits for the organization. 

What are key takeaways from WSPs 2022-2024 Global Strategic Action Plan regarding people?

"WSP is at its core a people business, and its success is dependent on the ingenuity and expertise of its employees. Our people power everything we do at WSP. Investing in our approximately 55,800 colleagues is more critical today than ever before. COVID-19 has radically shifted expectations around where and how we work. It’s the reason why, of the four strategic foundational pillars set out in our new global strategy, the People & Culture pillar comes first," explains Megan. 

"Our people are driven by two things: possibility and purpose. They want to be empowered by a flexible and supportive workplace, and they want to make a difference through meaningful work in the community. WSP’s responsibility is two-fold. For our employees, we must provide a fulfilling, inclusive and enabling environment to ensure an exemplary experience with clear paths for career advancement. For our clients, we must strive for the most diverse workforce possible to leverage our collective talent and ensure innovative client delivery."

Can you define the “WSP Way”?

Megan says: "One of WSP’s greatest attributes is the multiplicity of our professionals worldwide, all with different specialties, backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Unveiled in the Plan, the WSP Way is a new initiative which aims to harness our purpose, brand and culture to both retain our incredibly diverse cohort of professionals and attract new talent. The initiative will unify and embed the core practices, skills and mindset that are central to WSP’s ethos, via a global curriculum. With the focus on supporting our people as they pursue technical and functional excellence, we believe it will form the foundation for driving a rewarding employee experience and provide a magnet for our employees of the future."

What does WSP's best-in-class work environment mean for employees?

"With the pandemic, the past two years have been unquestionably challenging, but this unprecedented period also showed us how remote working is both achievable and effective. Going forward, we want to facilitate working routines which reflect this new reality. It is important that we offer our workforce a hybrid working environment, where going to the office is not an obligation but a welcome opportunity to collaborate - and socialize - with colleagues through purposeful meetings," shares Megan. 

"We are reimagining our office spaces away from traditional office desking to multi-use areas that are better suited to fostering the collaboration that is critical to what we do. This is particularly important to allow our emerging professionals to make new connections and tap into the experience of senior team members, while bringing their own ideas and perspectives to the mix. Our people are driven by two things: possibility and purpose. They want to be empowered by a supportive workplace, and they want to make a difference through meaningful work in the community.”

How does WSP ensure employees thrive professionally and develop careers?

"We know that our employees want to work on impactful projects where they can make a difference and leave a positive mark in their communities. We have worked hard over the past year to develop a common language across all regions, and a job architecture that facilitates internal mobility – both upward and lateral. This common platform, together with the practical measures to create a seamless working environment, means that our people can carve out career paths and aspire to work on pioneering projects, regardless of which business line or geography they are in. Not only does this give them exciting prospects, it also ensures our clients will be guaranteed the best collective expertise from across WSP for their projects," says Megan. 

"Underpinning this internal mobility is continuous access for every WSP member to professional development opportunities. We are investing in digitally upskilling our workforce to unlock new capabilities. Furthermore, our discipline specific Practice Area Networks (PANs) are fundamental to driving innovation globally. They offer WSP employees the chance to collaborate and share best practices with colleagues who share the same specialisms around the world."

How is WSP driving Inclusion and Diversity across the organization?

"WSP considers Inclusion & Diversity (I&D) as fundamental to its business as the health and safety of its employees. This is because diversity of thought in the design process drives inclusivity in the outcomes, which in turn addresses the needs of as broad an audience as possible in the communities in which they are sited," remarks Megan. 

"We have made great strides in embedding and formalizing a culture where differences of all kinds are celebrated and valued. Our efforts are already being recognised internally by our employees, and externally, for example by the UK’s Association for Consultancy & Engineering which named us Inclusive Employer of the Year, 2021. Nevertheless, in any organization I&D must never be taken for granted, and we are determined to drive this further into our own. I&D is foundational and part of the fabric of our global strategy, ensuring it is reflected right at the start of hiring practices in every single office and team. In addition, we have created a new global director role for I&D, bringing fresh impetus to related efforts worldwide."

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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