Uncovering the Long-Lasting Impacts of Learning & Development Initiatives

Insights | April 10, 2024


image of a Benesch employee writing with a dry erase marker in front of a room full of coworkers

As the AEC industry continuously evolves to address the world’s changing needs, the cultivation of a highly skilled workforce through targeted learning and development initiatives has never been more crucial. An increasing number of professionals are relying on in-house learning and development opportunities to keep up with the ever-changing industry and achieve their professional development goals.

In this article, Benesch’s Director of Learning & Development Julie Melidis, SPHR, SHRM-SCP offers her insight into the importance of providing learning and development opportunities that support the growth of every employee, drive innovation and enhance project delivery outcomes.

In the last few years especially, the emergence of innovative technology and the diversification of teams have necessitated more sophisticated training. The labor market continues to be competitive, and more and more, we’re hearing, “How will this job help me grow my skills?” when candidates are making job decisions—particularly those just beginning their careers.

As we adapt to industry changes, we are careful to implement change in a way that is consistent with our mission, vision and core values. By building on our culture of knowledge sharing, we’ve established a structured, sustainable and equitable learning and development program that helps us retain and grow our staff. So far, we’ve seen some pretty spectacular results.

We’re Meeting Employees Where They’re At

With learning and development being part of Benesch’s strategic plan, it was important for us to have established goals that support our strategy. One major goal has been to build an inclusive learning environment where all employees, regardless of their role or experience level, can learn and grow. To accomplish this, we launched Benesch University, an overarching educational entity that offers development opportunities to employees at all levels—from interns and early professionals to project managers and top leadership.

Within Benesch University, we established programs that cover both technical and nontechnical skills, giving our teams ample opportunities to upskill in the areas of leadership, people management, project management, business development and more. Each employee is encouraged to create a personal learning path that aligns with their learning style and professional goals. Then, we provide the tools, resources, support and motivation they need to succeed.

We’re Strengthening Our Culture of Peer-to-Peer Learning

A large part of the Benesch culture is centered around peer-to-peer learning. We often tap into our internal pool of subject matter experts to provide training and support for our programs. This approach creates a continuous cycle of learning, teaching and collaboration.

Our mentor program connects coworkers from across disciplines and regions to build relationships that may not have formed organically. We provide them with the training, structure and support they need to make the most out of their partnership. This has resulted in a mutually beneficial learning environment where we see colleagues invested in each other’s success.

This culture is also extremely beneficial to our interns. Our internship program blends real-world project work with skills training that will benefit participants as they transition from students to professionals. Many of our professionals participate in this program, both by guiding the interns on projects and by educating them on the various disciplines within the industry.

We’re Driving Innovation

We also recognize how integral knowledge sharing is to driving innovation. As our experts uncover innovative technology and solutions, we give them a platform to educate and inspire their coworkers.

One way we facilitate this is by hosting company-wide “Tech Showcases” where our employees demonstrate how we are using technology to grow. For example, our Innovation Series features employees who have mastered the use of 3D rendering software to transform how we visualize projects. By sharing their insights, they encourage the adoption of this technology across the company, and we’re now seeing it become more prevalent in our projects.

By investing in the continuous growth of our employees, we’re not only enhancing individual capabilities but also pushing the boundaries of what’s possible for our company and even our industry.

We’re Creating Leaders of Tomorrow

In the AEC industry, while technical skill is essential, the ability to effectively lead teams is also necessary. Recognizing this, we established programs within Benesch University to develop leaders at all levels of our organization, including at the executive level. Our Leadership Development (GROW) program is structured to cater to employees at various stages of their careers, from those just stepping into leadership roles to seasoned leaders looking to adapt and develop skills to lead at a higher level. This also helps us support our employees and create a deep talent bench ready to lead in the organization into the future.

With infrastructure aging and the needs of communities changing, there is a lot of work to be done. Through these programs, we make sure our current and future leaders are equipped to manage challenges and bring effective solutions when leading their teams and addressing client needs.



Benesch’s comprehensive program proves that a strategic focus on learning and development can be transformative. Benesch University is more than just an employee benefit—it’s a strategic asset that enables us to deliver high-quality projects and ensure our clients benefit from the expertise of a team that’s always learning and evolving.

Click here to learn more about the learning and development opportunities that Benesch offers.