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Building Company Culture and Investing (Wisely) in Human Capital

When I arrived here at BrandStar, we needed to redefine our culture and completely overhaul our hiring process, along with the way we invest in human capital. We’re now developing a readily identifiable set of standards and incorporating a unique company-wide experience that extends from our internal relationships to our connections with clients, business partners and consumers.

We have implemented a solid foundation, reinforced by our company values that define who we are and what we represent. We refer to those values as our T.R.A.I.T.S.: Teamwork, Respect, Accountability, Integrity, Trust and Service.

An important part of bringing the right people to your company is articulating an attractive Employee Value Proposition (EVP). Why would a quality candidate want to work here? What enticements do we offer? What do we do that’s unique, that helps us stand out from our competitors?

By attracting the right people, and then placing them in positions that provide the best fit, you create a more engaged, more productive workforce. Though employee engagement is not simply about improving productivity, companies who boast a high level of engagement do report 22% higher productivity, according to a 2014 meta-analysis of 1.4 million employees conducted by the Gallup Organization.

Jim Harter, a chief scientist at Gallup Research, shared some of his thoughts on why creating engaged employees is so important. “Engaged employees are more attentive and vigilant,“ Harter said. “They look out for the needs of their coworkers and the overall enterprise, because they personally ‘own’ the result of their work and that of the organization.”

The concept of “owning” your work is directly tied to the accountability part of our T.R.A.I.T.S. – engaged employees are far more likely hold a personal stake in how their work affects the company as a whole. As the company’s culture moves in a clear direction, every division is now focused on very specific, very achievable goals. From the programming and marketing team to production and human resources, we are all accountable for working toward attaining our objectives.

Having an employee succession plan in place is also an essential piece to moving your company to the next level. You need to have qualified people in place – essentially waiting in the wings – to succeed those who move on.

To use a sports analogy, if you don’t have depth on your roster, a domino effect is created, in which you have to constantly move talented people to serve as placeholders in roles that aren’t right for them. The placeholder role can eventually become permanent, and the vicious cycle continues as you are forced to patch holes and play catchup instead of placing the right employee in the right job.

At BrandStar, we are aiming for the sweet spot where our recruiting, hiring, training and workflow procedures converge perfectly, inspiring our team to maximize their considerable talents. By prioritizing motivated, engaged and productive employees, we’ll all reap the benefits together.

Susan Molke is the EVP, People & Culture for BrandStar.

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