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Employee Owners on RTO

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To: Black & Veatch Board of Directors,
We are submitting our concerns about the recent Return to Office (RTO) announcement and asking for a re-evaluation of the RTO decision. Both the nature and manner of the RTO announcement has negatively impacted company culture and sentiment.

Based on results of an employee survey published by the company in 2020:

  • 80% of employee-owners said their role could be performed as Mobile or Flex.
  • 88% said they would prefer to work on a Mobile or Flex basis. This was an increase from our June 2020 survey result of 79%.
  • 91% have a remote workspace where they can work effectively. 3% responded that they do not have a workspace to effectively work remotely.
  • 89% have the technology and equipment to effectively work remotely. 4% did not feel they have the technology and equipment to effectively work remotely."

The company’s “Working in New Ways” policy published in April 2021 was based on those survey results:
“As part of our 2023 Strategy, Black & Veatch is developing its “Work in New Ways” plans. This includes employee-owners being productive when working remotely and in the office. Professionals have been asking for more flexibility, and results have shown during the COVID-19 pandemic that there was no lapse in productivity while working from home. This is largely attributed to our strong team culture and our investments in technology, along with the high standards and work habits of our employee-owners. We are evolving to be a more flexible workforce for where we work.”

Positions were advertised and professionals hired with the expectation their positions would remain permanently virtual. These expectations were clearly communicated by the CEO during a recorded Town Hall meeting in May 2022:
"That’s really the advantage of Working In New Ways, is that flexibility. And it’s really an advantage. The Companies that embrace it have that advantage to tap into more and more talent, and the companies that are kind of stuck on “everybody needs to be in the office from 8 – 5,” and watching the clock, and "everyone has to have a desk," those companies are not going to be relevant, because that’s just not the way things are now. And so it’s part of us continuing to evolve and it’s part of us continuing to get better. So, I have no intention of changing Working In New Ways.”

The CFO has forecasted that Black & Veatch expects to see the best financial results in the company’s history, which are occurring under the current Working in New Ways model.

The signers of this petition are seeking resolution of the Return to Office mandate communicated 12/1 that employees will be required to commute to the office at least three days a week by March 2023.

We demand that:

  • The responsibility of defining flexible work arrangements and achieving collaboration based on the nature and unique attributes of teams remains with supervisors.
  • Work arrangements and collaboration plans will be based on original hiring agreements, professionals’ work parameters, and professionals’ ability to complete their tasks successfully in their preferred work environment.

This is a group of employee owners from throughout Black & Veatch, organizing to hold leadership accountable for promises made and for a voice in our working conditions.

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