VERTEX consults as environmental and sustainability experts during the real estate acquisition process for commercial building owners, developers, and other stakeholders to assess existing building components and ESG-conscious operations, highlighting areas of potential improvement, and providing recommended actions to improve ESG performance. This includes assessing, building envelopes, interior finishes, appliances, HVAC systems, electrical systems, plumbing systems, and landscaping to formalize the findings into an ESG score. Additionally, VERTEX’s ESG experts provide educational insights in the form of webinars, essays/blogs, and presentations. This digestible content raises awareness on subjects such as green building and net-zero energy.
VERTEX’s ESG experts are furthering our environmental and sustainability efforts internally as well and recently began developing a measurable action plan that will further integrate sustainability into our corporate identity. Strategic initiatives becoming formalized include:
- Implementation of an employee-based committee that is focused on the environmental, economic/sustainability.
- Conducting company-wide training on environmental and sustainability/economic best practices and how to incorporate these practices into all VERTEX work practices. This program will aid in raising awareness and in educating our employees and clients on how to make a difference.
SUPPORTING THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT WHILE HELPING TO RESTORE THE NATURAL ONE
VERTEX is proud partners of One Tree Planted. This amazing organization is on a mission to give back to the environment, create a healthier climate, protect biodiversity, and help reforestation efforts around the world. In 2021, VERTEX began a standing donation of $1 for every new project started and in just the first six months, we planted 3,990 trees! Learn more about this cause and VERTEX’s other charitable efforts. VERTEX is thrilled to extend this effort into 2022 and beyond!
VERTEX has been working for years on ensuring diversity, respect, and inclusion in our company. The following summarizes the program, which has been developed and implemented to support and further our culture of caring for, connecting with, and developing ALL employees.
BENCHMARKING OUR DIVERSITY
VERTEX issues a quarterly management dashboard that summarizes employee data and allows management to understand our current and previous workforce demographics of tenure, gender, gender by generation, age/generation, race demographics.
MANAGEMENT LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT
To ensure that employees are treated with respect and are able to connect with their managers as individuals, VERTEX provides People Management Learning that focuses specifically on the people skills required in the role. The learning includes concepts tied to recognizing and working with the unique differences, needs, and motivations of our employees and how to communicate effectively. Recent sessions have focused on Personal Awareness/Predictive Index and Providing Effective Feedback, Conducting Quarterly Check-Ins and Focal Reviews. Managers are also required to take regularly scheduled Harassment and Discrimination learning sessions to ensure their understanding of the intricacies and obligations of a fair, safe, and inclusive work environment, from an EEO standpoint. And because Project Managers have a broad impact on many employees, VERTEX incorporated a PM Certification program that will be offered to all in the PM role and career pathway. Again, the focus is to help those in authority to communicate, share feedback with individuals, and lead teams effectively.
In addition to having an experienced and professional recruitment team in place who are aware of and focused on the need for identifying and hiring a diverse workforce, all candidates are provided equal access to our hiring processes. All pre-employment testing and background processes are established to ensure equal application to all candidates, etc. We are also developing a clear Diversity and College Recruitment program that ensures we are reaching a variety of diverse populations.
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PLAN
VERTEX has always had equal employment opportunity (EEO) policies and language in our Employee Handbook, but we have recently revised it to further align our policies and processes with our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) intentions, and strategy. Also, while we have not, to date, been required to have an affirmative action plan (AAP) in place, we are currently in the process of establishing a Plan for the company.
CAREER PROGRESSION AND DEVELOPMENT PLANS
VERTEX established and implemented a Career Mapping program and individual Development Plan strategy that is available to employees. This program ensures that employees can clearly identify where they currently fit in the organization, where they can proactively develop to pursue advancement, and how to attain their career goals.
VERTEX established and implemented a compensation structure that benchmarks all existing positions against the market, offers a set pay range and comp ratio for each role on a national level, and then offers structured geographic differentials, tied to “zones”. Using that we can map where each individual falls and address potential true pay inequities.
VERTEX created a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) team in 2020, made up of employees of the company, to assist with the implementation of an initiative to ensure diversity, respect, and inclusion are at the core of VERTEX business. VERTEX also retained Global View Communications (GVC), experts in developing diversity and inclusion strategies, to assist in embedding diversity and inclusion into our business and culture. We conducted a company-wide assessment to uncover our strengths and the areas of opportunity for us to grow and improve. We then developed a strategic plan to improve culture and align initiative with business objectives.
One of the first actions was to develop a routine schedule of company-wide education-based discussions. This included five external speakers, covering various DEI issues. VERTEX then formed the DEI council in June 2021, to prepare a charter which is constantly evolving and currently contains 6 goals: Communicate DEI commitment and expand messaging platforms; Tailor education and training to meet specific employee needs and bring it into daily practice; Grow employees understanding of DEI and increase their involvement; Review policies to ensure a work environment that allows for open communication, equal pay, advancement, and professionalism; Hire more people of diverse backgrounds; and, Become an industry and community leader regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Also in 2021, VERTEX launched the Everyday Inclusion App by MoxieExchange, a benefit and development tool which provides inclusive tips, tools, and education.
The DEI Council has a number of other actionable steps planned for 2022 including implantation of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), continuation of DEI focused guest speakers, and expanding partnerships with high schools and colleges to encourage pursuit of careers offered by VERTEX and our clients.