Summer 2018
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CTDO Magazine

Talent Development at Suffolk

Friday, June 15, 2018

"In our culture, we don't pass along problems to someone else; we try to help however we can."

Dave DeFilippo

Chief People and Learning Officer



As the chief people and learning officer at Suffolk, Dave DeFilippo leads all aspects of the construction management firm's human resource, talent, leadership, and organizational development strategy.

How does Suffolk define development and how has that definition evolved in recent years?

We have a People and Culture approach, which is our human capital practice, to talent development that includes strategy, structure, systems and processes, and outcome. Our strategy is to enable Suffolk's growth and performance by attracting, developing, optimizing, and retaining our talent. Our structure will evolve and scale to keep pace with our business growth and sophistication. Our systems and processes include talent reviews and evaluations to ensure we have the right talent in the right roles, thus enabling a stronger succession bench and increased workforce capability. And our outcome is an adaptive culture of high performers and value creators.

Talent development has evolved from a transactional problem-solving approach to a strategic approach that involves diagnosis, solution design, and delivery through business plan alignment and consultation with our stakeholders.


What are the most important components of talent development at Suffolk?

As the chief people and learning officer, I'm responsible for all aspects of the People and Culture approach. This includes talent acquisition, learning and development, leadership development, HR business partners, employee and community engagement, and HR shared services and platforms.

The processes and programs that are critical to Suffolk's long-term talent development success are:

  • the Operations Role-Based Curriculum, a competency-based learning process that aligns with our operations career path
  • the Career Start Program, which selects 30 new college graduates each year to enter a two-year, intensive, rotational program that feeds our talent pipeline
  • performance management and talent assessment, which together we use to measure and assess our talent twice a year to ensure that individual goals are aligned with the company's priorities and that we have bench strength to meet our business goals
  • the Trade Partner Diversity Program, which offers educational sessions for minority contractors on how to partner with Suffolk.

    Where does talent development fit into the organization chart?

    My team of 50 people is very fluid. We're not siloed into strict roles. People apply their expertise wherever it's needed. In our culture, we don't pass along problems to someone else—we try to help however we can. My mantra for our team is that we are a performance accelerant for the firm. It doesn't matter if we are hiring or developing as long as it's done in a high-quality way.

Read more from CTDO magazine: Essential talent development content for C-suite leaders.

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