The first part of the nomination process is the nomination questionnaire. This is not a data-gathering survey. It is the first step, seeking employee input, in being able to showcase firms deserving recognition for the work environment they create. The second step, confirmation with the firm, involves asking the firm corresponding questions that will hopefully lead to certification. After a firm is certified, there will be annual, ongoing follow up.

The goal is to identify firms with “just practices” so that potential employees will have a sense of which firms will treat them fairly and with respect. We believe that this is an important factor in an architect’s development.

“Just practices,” we know, cannot be measured definitively and very few firms will hit all the high marks. Architectural practice is a varied and complex set of organizational relationships. Size, location, goals, and patrons affect offices differently. Nevertheless, within the varied contexts, those firms that make bigger efforts in the areas that we emphasize – legal labor practices, fair pay, family friendly policies, diversity, transparency, agency – deserve to be recognized.

These firms will get a “certification” that is endorsed not only by JustDesign.Us partners but also by other organizations such as SEED and ArchiteXX. Evaluation of the questionnaire results at the two stages will be supported by the American Colleges and Schools of Architecture (ACSA).

We believe that the entire profession stands to benefit from these insights.