What Employees Say
People here are given a lot of responsibility.
Management is honest and ethical in its business practices.
Management hires people who fit in well here.
People care about each other here.
You can count on people to cooperate.
What They Do
We asked Kahler Slater, Inc. to explain what they do. Here is what they had to say.
Kahler Slater provides architecture, interior design, environmental branding and strategic advisory services, leveraging design to help our clients reach their strategic goals for advancing their organizations. We use a Performance-Based Design process, grounded in research, ensuring we design for change.
About this Company
| Website: www.kahlerslater.com|| Industry: Architecture & Design|
| US Headquarters: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 53203|| US Sites: 3|
| Major Locations: Madison, Wisconsin, 53703; Richmond, Virginia, 23219|| US Employees: 109|
| US Revenues: $22.0 million|| Worldwide Revenues: $22.0 million|
| Employees Worldwide: 109|| Corporate Structure: Private|
| Founded: 1908|
Perks and Programs
We asked Kahler Slater, Inc. to share a few programs they feel really capture what's unique about their workplace. Here is what they had to say.
- Trust-Driven Flexibility: Our staff have told us that they greatly value the firm’s mature approach to when and where they work. Some staff shift their daily start, so they can see off their kids to school (or pick them up), others enjoy working from a coffee shop or from home at times to accomplish focused work. Employees are given high-quality laptops to facilitate this flexibility and mobility. This is all possible because we trust staff to do three things: 1 - Get their work done well and on time; 2 - Take care of their clients; 3 - Collaborate effectively with teammates. If you can succeed under those terms, you have almost limitless freedom to set your schedule in achieving those ends.
- We Designed That: We enrich lives and achieve powerful results through the places we design. That's our “Why!” Whether you work out in the field or behind the scenes, our staff have the benefit of being part of some amazing additions to the cities in which we live, as well as other communities across the country and around the world. We are immensely proud of our work and invite you to check it out at www.kahlerslater.com to discover why.
- Community Connections: Our staff care deeply about giving back to the community, and they expect the same from the firm. One person said, “Creating opportunities to serve and engage the communities in which we work, live and play makes working at Kahler Slater unique. Stepping outside of our normal work day to better our city is important to me.” We prioritize our efforts by "adopting" a non-profit partner(s) for a two-year commitment, focusing our firm-wide philanthropic and volunteer efforts on the chosen partner(s). For example, in 2017-18 we focused on clean water; partnering with “Milwaukee Riverkeeper” and the “Clean Lakes Alliance” in Madison. This focused approach has resulted in stronger and more lasting connections between our staff and our partner agencies.
- Keeping Fit: In addition to providing a formal wellness plan to all staff, there are many ways we stay active. Our great locations promote daily opportunities for staff to hold walking meetings along the beautiful Milwaukee Riverwalk (or in the extensive Milwaukee skywalk system when it’s cold out); in the heart of downtown Madison between its two lakes; and in Richmond’s historic district. We also like to play together on the firm-sponsored softball team and bowling teams, as well as to team-up for local runs and bike rides. Fitness and healthy eating challenges also make firm-wide wellness both playful and motivating.
- KS Experience: Design requires us to see things from many perspectives, so the ‘KS Experience,’ our firm pontoon boat, gives us a great way to do this together! Employees, clients, and friends of the firm enjoy seeing Milwaukee from the rivers that flow through our downtown and from off-shore in Lake Michigan. Over a dozen staff have earned their “Captain” rank, along with the opportunity to personally utilize the boat. Finally, ‘KS Experience’ also serves our community, as we routinely donate architectural river cruises to charitable fundraisers.
- Choose Your Own Benefits: Choose Your Own Benefits (CYOB) allows our staff to choose how to invest a firm-provided stipend. Either $125/mo. (staff) or $165/mo. (Associates and Owners), each person selects how that money can help cover expenses of everything, from cell phone bills to family movie nights. For example, staff that need monthly parking can get some or all of the cost covered as a tax-free benefit, and those who walk or bike to work, might choose a different option like money added to their paycheck to help with student loan debt. Others chose to have all of their CYOB stipend added to their payroll, using it for date nights with their spouse or as a personal wardrobe allowance!
- Active Voice: We encourage everyone to share their thoughts and talents to shape the firm, regardless of tenure. Leadership and staff sit side-by-side in our open office arrangement. Staff engages in firm-wide initiatives through committees and focus groups that continuously improve our culture, benefits, and processes. The Culture Committee plans firm-wide events and our annual retreat which alternates between professional development and community service. The Community Committee coordinates our volunteer and community fundraising events and our Wellness Committee brings exciting fitness and nutrition challenges to the staff. Other staff engage in exploring new technology and other firm leadership initiatives. First-year staff get a taste of this as automatic members of the holiday decoration “Elf Troop” each December.
- @4's: We’re passionate about what we do and serving our clients well, but it’s also important to spend downtime together away, from our projects. Staff “play” together with their teammates on many outings, and we get together as a firm for @4s. What's an @4? Whatever we want it to be! We can count on staff to drop what they are doing and join in, as long as it takes place at 4 PM and we serve libations and snacks. Reasons we've recently gathered @4 include: celebrating Friday the 13th (firm-wide happy hour); sharing / celebrating our recent work; as a lead-in to the popular "Newaukee Night Market" event; socializing with new staff; celebrating promotions; holding a "Creativity Fire Drill"; and celebrating our namesakes' birthdays! [Notice the frequency of the word "Celebrating!"]
- Shared Ownership: Our open criteria for leadership and ownership make it possible for any staff member to become an owner (shareholder) in Kahler Slater. Currently, one-third of our staff are owners, at various levels (between 0.3% and 15% of stock). Although there is an expense to becoming a shareholder, we offer to help finance the purchase. In the end, the stock has consistently appreciated in value since it was instituted in 1992. In this way, we are also helping to build the long-term personal net worth of our staff.
COMPENSATION BY THE NUMBERS
| 50% Match of employee’s 401(k)/403b contribution up to 6% of salary||74% Company-paid health coverage for employees (for Full-time staff on our Wellness plan)|
| 74% Company-paid health coverage for dependents (for Dependents of full-time staff on our Wellness plan)|| 65% Company-paid health coverage for part-timers|
| 30 hours Weekly hours required for part-timers to receive health insurance|| $1,980 Student loan debt repayment|
WORK-LIFE BALANCE BY THE NUMBERS
| 19 days Paid time off after one year of full-time employment|| 13 days Paid time off after one year of part-time employment|
| 5 days Paid sick days after one year of full-time employment|| 5 days Paid sick days after one year of part-time employment|
| 19 Days Paid time off as of first day of full-time employment|| 13 days Paid time off as of first day of part-time employment|
WORK-LIFE BALANCE PROGRAMS
- Flexible schedule (99% use it)
- Telecommute option (5% use it)
- Compressed work weeks (1% use it)
- Subsidized On- or Off-site Fitness (100% have access)
- Onsite Amenities (New in 2018 our "Choose Your Own Benefits" program allows employees to select from benefit options including:
- parking stipend
- cell phone stipend or the opportunity to be on a corporate phone plan
- professional membership dues
- additional travel amenities
- work-related education
- bicycle commuting
- student loan repayment
- 401(k) contribution
- or anything they can imagine
- Free coffee, tea, water, hot chocolate
- availability of shipping services
- dry cleaning service
- travel company assistance
- wellness programming
- discounted parking
- free snacks
- access to our pontoon boat; including the opportunity to be trained as a captain which allows you to take out the boat for personal use
- discounted personal Verizon phone program
- sponsored WorkPlace banking programs)
FAMILY CARE BY THE NUMBERS
|60 days Job-protected maternity leave (including FMLA/STD) ||20 days Fully-paid maternity leave (does not include personal vacation or paid time off)|
|60 days Job-protected paternity leave (including FMLA)||3 days Fully-paid paternity leave (does not include personal vacation or paid time off)|
|60 days Job-protected parental leave for adoptive parents (including FMLA)||15 days Fully-paid parental leave for adoptive parents (does not include personal vacation or paid time off)|
FAMILY CARE PROGRAMS
- Paid sick leave to care for a child or relative
HEALTH INSURANCE COVERS
- Alternative treatments (such as acupuncture, homeopathy, or chiropractic)
Community and Environmental Impact
| $98,408 Philanthropic donations in last year|| Yes Sustainable commuting program|
| Yes Recycling program|| Yes Locally-sourced food program|
- Director of Human Resources oversees diversity and inclusion practices
- Written policy prohibits discrimination based on (at a minimum) age, disability, race/ethnicity, religious beliefs, gender and sexual orientation
- Non-birth parents in same-sex relationships can take parental leave
How to Get Hired
We asked Kahler Slater, Inc. for some inside information on how to get hired at the organization. Here is what they had to say.
What key characteristics tell you a prospective employee will be a great fit for your company?
A collaborative nature; Openness to the exploration of new ideas (generated with / by others); Willingness to pitch in at a moment’s notice to help others to succeed; Sensibility to see that the whole is greater than their individual contributions; Ability to communicate complex ideas with clarity; Passion for craft, balanced with an appreciation for efficiency; Desire to seek the right solution (rather than the expedient one).
What can prospective employees do to get your attention?
Be yourself…be authentic!; Be persistent, and respectful; Share tangible experiences relevant to our posting(s); Present your best work; Treat us like you would a client (at least, that’s what we’re assuming you’re doing); Be curious and ask intentional questions that are relevant to advancing the discussion; Present a stellar portfolio!; Be informed about us and our work; Observe basic professional courtesies.
Are there any positions or types of candidates you are particularly focused on hiring in this coming year?
Ours are apprenticed professions: architecture, interior design and environmental branding. We are always seeking depth in the ranks of our “sages;” those people who are able to effectively lead others: Project Managers; Sr. Project Architects; Sr. Designers; Team Leaders; Market Leaders. In this way, our investments to bring in new talent will also help drive the growth of our existing talent.
In this particular year we are also seeking strong technicians; whether an architect, interior designer or environmental brand designer. These are the people who love working on a team and putting projects together, including licensed and pre-licensed professionals.
What should interested candidates do to find out more and get started?
Please see the Careers section of our website, www.kahlerslater.com, for the current list of open positions in our firm.
| 12 Forecasted positions to fill in coming year|| 6% Job Growth|
| 36% New hires by employee referrals|| 14% Openings filled by current employees|
| 3 Recent graduates hired|| 13% Voluntary turnover for full-time employees|
| 2% Voluntary turnover for part-time employees|