Author Archives: Tim

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Human Resource Openings and News from The Rosen Group

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The Rosen Group
April 27, 2012

Thanks for your continued support! Looks like the market is starting to turn from where I sit. Lots of contract, contract to hire and direct hire positions.

Here are our current openings. Please let me know directly if you or someone you know is interested in one of these positions. Also, if you are a HR Exec or Talent Acquisition Leader, consider coming to one of the meetings listed below.

Finally, if you have a good story to tell about your HR Department or you know about a HR Department with a good story to tell, then you will want to know about The 2012 HR Department of The Year Award . See below for additional details.

First our HR openings:

Senior Contract Recruiter- My client in Bala Cynwyd , has an immediate opening for a Senior Contract Recruiter. This position is estimated to last 3 months to fill in while the incumbent is on leave. Prefer financial services industry experience. Will handle full cycle recruiting at all levels. Position will pay 45 hr .

Senior Contract Recruiters (2) – My client in Philadelphia has an immediate opening for 2 Senior Contract Recruiters. This is a contract to possible perm position. Will focus primarily on professional level positions. Will handle full cycle recruiting. Must be able to work effectively with all levels of employees including Exec and Management. Position will pay 45hr

Head of Learning and Development (direct hire) – Based in Mt Laurel NJ this is a great position to run a corporate university and OD for a middle market company. The CEO is committed to the function and wants to establish a legacy which will include this function.

Will ultimately be a director level position for global learning but that will have to be proved. Position will manage the Corporate University and manage OD.

Contract or Contract to Perm HR Professionals- Because our positions are always changing , we are consistently looking for strong candidates for contract or contract to perm positions in all areas of hr ie recruiting, generalist, compensation, benefits etc. Candidates must be based (or willing to commute or relocate) in New Jersey, PA, NY or NJ

If you or someone you know is interested in any of these positions, please have them send resume to me at scott.rosen@rosengroup.com

News

2012 HR Department of The Year – Nominations are now open for acceptance. The event is scheduled for Thursday, November 15, 2012, 5:30-8 p.m at The Union League.

Do you have a excellent HR Department or area of excellence within your HR Department? Do you know an HR Department with these qualities? Then, self nominate or nominate them. We ar are also looking for sponsors. For more detailed information , please contact myself scott.rosen@rosengroup.com or go to http://hrawards.org/

Human Resource Executive Alliance – Are you an HR executive looking for a safe, no pressure environment to network with your peers and learn from Top Execs? Then HREA is for you. Please join us for our next event. You are permitted to attend 2 events as our guest and then a membership is required. Open only to incumbent HR executives . See our criteria for joining on the membership section of our website www.hrexecutivealliance.com

Why Good People Can’t Get Hired
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
7:30am-9:30am
The Union League, 140 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

One of the big puzzles from The Great Recession is that despite the massive level of unemployment so many employers seem to complain about the difficulty in finding the skills they need. What does this complaint reveal about the needs of employers as well as what might be wrong with the hiring process in the US? We will also consider what employers ought to do to address these concerns.

Presented by Peter Cappelli, the George W. Taylor Professor of Management at The Wharton School and Director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources. He is also a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, MA, served as Senior Advisor to the Kingdom of Bahrain for Employment Policy from 2005-2005, and from 2007 is a Distinguished Scholar of the Ministry of Manpower for Singapore.
Click here to register today. Space is limited.

If you would like to learn more about HREA , please contact me at scott.rosen@rosengroup.com or go to http://www.hrexecutivealliance.com

Talent Acquisition Leadership Alliance- Are you a Talent Acquisition Leader looking for a safe, no pressure environment to network with your peers and learn from Top Execs? Then TALA is for you. Please join us for our next event.

You are permitted to attend 2 events as our guest and then a membership is required. Open only to incumbent Talent Acquisition executives . See our criteria for joining on the membership section of our website www.talentacquisitionalliance.com

Our next event
Date: Friday, June 15, 2012
Time: 7:30am-9:30am
Location: The Union League, Lincoln Library, 140 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Registration: Attendance is limited to Vice Presidents, Directors, or Leaders of Talent Acquisition.

Retained Executive Search: Best practices in the selection, management, leveraging and measuring of retained executive search services for optimal results.

Retained Executive Search Panel:
– George Wilbanks, Managing Director – Wilbanks Partners – https://www.wilbankspartners.com/
– Vivian Kessler, Founder and President – Search Innovations – http://www.searchinnovations.com/
– Rick Devine, Client Executive and Founder – Devine Capital Partners – http://devinecapital.com/
– Sally Stetson, Co-Founder and Principal – Salveson Stetson Group – http://www.ssgsearch.com/

About the Program:
One of the biggest challenges in Talent Acquisition is Executive Search. Recruiting for Executive positions has the highest level of visibility for your organization’s Senior Leadership and can often impact the overall credibility of the Talent Acquisition team’s performance and value. Does your organization effectively leverage external search firm partners? Do you properly engage with search firm partners and utilize their services as part of your overall talent acquisition strategy? Do you yield a strong return on your search firm investments?

Can you apply a scorecard process to your search firm selection and their performance upon completion of a search assignment? Does the search firm offer client intelligence and industry data? Have they completed relevant searches to your hiring need? Will off-limit issues minimize their efforts? How do they balance quality and speed to market, and equally important, can they represent your brand?

To learn more about how to effectively partner with Executive Search firms, please join us on June 15th for a panel discussion with leaders in Executive Search.

If you would like to learn more , please contact me at scott.rosen@rosengroup.com or go to http://talentacquisitionalliance.com

We really appreciate your staying connected with us. Thanks

Sincerely,

Scott Rosen
The Rosen Group


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AlliedBarton: Winner of 2007 Department of the Year Award (12 or more department employees), 2008 Award for Excellence in Leadership Development and 2009 Award for Excellence in Talent Acquisition

HR Best Practices: Profiles of winners of Human Resources Department of the Year Awards

AlliedBarton Security Services, headquartered in Conshohocken, PA is the largest American-owned contract security company in the United States. They have been providing quality security services and highly trained personnel since 1957 to clients in a number of industry sectors, including commercial real estate, higher education, healthcare, residential communities, manufacturing and industrial, financial institutions, shopping centers and other commercial facilities.

Today, with over 50 years of experience in the contract security industry, AlliedBarton’s over 50,000 employees and 100 offices nationwide service a client base that includes more than 200 Fortune 500 companies across the country. Through their combined base of talent and personnel, AlliedBarton brings unmatched resources, expertise and knowledge to customers’ security programs. Selected as one of Training Magazine’s “Top 125” five years in a row for training excellence, AlliedBarton’s award-winning training programs focus on preparing employees to be professional and accountable in a variety of situations and primed for future career development.

Scott Rosen met with Jim Gillece in February to discuss how AlliedBarton won the 2007 Department of the Year Award (12 or more department employees), 2008 Award for Excellence in Leadership Development and, most recently, the 2009 Award for Excellence in Talent Acquisition under his supervision.

Gillece has deep roots in Philadelphia. He has a bachelor’s from LaSalle University, an MBA from St. Joe’s University in pharmaceutical marketing and completed post-graduate work at Yale University in leadership and team effectiveness. He started his career in Philadelphia as a pharmaceutical sales representative for Pfizer; and continued his career there for over 17 years. In July 2006, he joined the AlliedBarton team as Vice President of Learning & Development, a role he had for six months before moving into his current position as Chief People Officer, Senior Vice President, Human Capital Management.

Gillece joined AlliedBarton at a time right after a quick, large growth. They had outdated processes that did not match their new company. Within Gillece’s first year, they won the 2007 HR Department of the Year Award.

Gillece would not call himself a workaholic, just someone with an intense focus. “You have one shot to make a first impression and so we had very ambitious goals for the first year.” In that first year he was at the helm, they created the Leadership Boot Camp; introduced an online performance management; created a new talent plan in process; and began succession planning.

“Mark Spool and Ed Dunne were the two judges, and after our presentation they said well, we just want to clarify what was actually done over the last year and we said all of it.”

“One of the reasons for my role is to have a coordinated approach to human capital management. We had recruiting doing something in a silo, HR in a silo, training in a silo, to bring those three pillars together in a coordinated approach to execute on business priorities. It was a significant turnaround. I also viewed it as a startup. There is a wide open canvas to be able as a practitioner to…for example, performance management; there might have been 5% of the manager’s complaints with performance management process in the organization. They were done paper wise and when they got sent into corporate they were in some drawer somewhere. So to translate that to a webified performance management process that then correlated to a pay per performance system, then correlates to individual development plans that correlates to succession planning that correlates to leadership development, sort of weaving that whole process together has been an evolution for us.”

There was some skepticism to Gillece’s plan, as with any plan that you cannot foresee the immediate results, but his team saw the changes through.

“I think early on we really had to earn credibility within the organization and then I think our senior leadership, especially Bill Whitmore, our CEO, has a very sophisticated view on what he thought was needed. He also knew that our thought process and what we have done in the past, which got us to this level that probably wouldn’t get us to the next level in that it delays the focus on developing our people and developing people in this company needed to change our higher focus level.”

Early on, the HR team’s mission was to resolve a significant turnover at a manager level in the organization. They had about a 30% plus turnover–both attrition and realignments–in account managers. These were the people who communicated directly with clients, so they had a direct impact on the staff turning over at a client. This was an obvious issue and an opportunity to make change. AlliedBarton won the ASTD Best Practice for leadership development, the national best practice for an intervention that they did called Leadership Boot Camp.

“What we did was we brought the account managers’ supervisors in and we taught them employee engagement skills. It was a three and a half day intervention. Over the period of six months, we reduced their account manager turnover from thirty percent to eighteen percent. As important, our client retention increased and for every percentage point that goes up, that means millions of dollars to the organization.”

“I think one of the things we’re fortunate, at least from the executive level and our great CEO, all the lights were green. From an execution standpoint when you have senior leadership buy in, you have a business need from an HR leadership standpoint, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t just put your foot on the gas.”

Gillece and his team did not know if they won the Award or not when they attended the event that evening. “We tried to make it a fun night whether we were going to win or lose. We really had no indication, we really had no clue.” They booked a table at the event for their team.

Jim told Scott, “We got there and Mark goes ‘Hey do you guys mind if we sit with you?’ Then, we had a table that was right in a good, nice spot so we were kind of giggling. We had a little conspiracy theory going on like that’s odd that he would sit with us and if they announced that we were the loser, would he want to be sitting with us.”

“I think winning an award like this obviously sends a message but word like that extends beyond these four walls. It means that much to us in organizational announcements created out to the company.” He continues with a true story of the reach of the win. “There was a CEO of a company that we service that was in the room. So there’s some very interesting…that gets back to some of our clients in the room, they come across some of our employees and did you know at the most recent one, a woman came up to me and said that her husband is a security officer for our company and I loved your speech. There’s many different ways that you hear it touches people. I get surprised at how many times that happens. I got invited to speak at the Philly SHRM meeting.”

In 2008, AlliedBarton won the Award for Excellence in Leadership Development. Gillece, as well as most of the executives at AlliedBarton, had read Dave Ulrich and Norm Smallwood’s book, The Leadership Code. From the book, Gillece and his team were able to develop best practices on how to identify leadership behaviors at all levels through strategic thinking. Strategic thinking looks very different at the C-suite than it does at the manager level. You need to clearly define what the expectations and how it translates to the customers.

“Over the last few years we’ve done, I think, a very good job at translating expectations at each level in the organization from executive to senior leader to manager to manager to the individual contributor, defining these are the core common and critical leadership behaviors and this is what it looks like at your level and what it’s been able to do is if you’re a manager and you’re saying why am I not getting promoted, it’s very clear to say that you’re not necessarily acting or behaving or exhibiting this above you and potentially you’re saying well, you actually are acting and thinking like this below you.”

In 2009, they won the Award for Excellence in Talent Acquisition.

“We had some work to do to be considered, I think, at the level that I wanted that group to be at. Working with the leadership of that particular group, one validation of the work beyond the most important, are clients within the company through our corporate surveys here. My expectation is that we’ll see those numbers dance but also it would be really interesting to get some external recognition as being a world-class recruiting organization. In addition to this award, we won the OnRec, on-line recruiting award which is a national award, in 2009. That’s for recent innovations using Twitter, Jigsaw, Facebook, Linkedin. I put a premium on this group about leveraging technology from a recruiting perspective. It was really exciting to win a technology award around that and then also certainly the validation from [the HR Department of the Year Awards].”

“I don’t know if they’re magical but we really started to utilize predictability analysis so as we continue to get significantly more individuals applying for positions, we really spent the time to identify what are the skills, behaviors and attributes that we want to have, more focused on behaviors that we’d want those individuals to have.”

For example, people ask security guards a battery of questions, most of which have nothing to do with safety and security. People want to know where the restrooms are or where to get the best slice of pizza in the area surrounding the building.

“Those questions are more commonly asked of our security officers than, ‘Hey if we get hit by a plane, what exit do I go to?’ So we like to say that we major in customer service and minor insecurity. Understanding for each position in this company from a recruiting perspective, what are those pieces that make up the attraction of that individual?

“When we secure a hospital or hospital system, that’s a different skill set than maybe protecting the Comcast Center. What would I mean by that? You would want to look for a security officer that has great empathy skills, that was patient, that would be able to communicate while your son with the broken arm from the basketball game is waiting two hours while there was an accident on Route 70 and sorry, Mr. Rosen, that’s why you have to wait a little bit extra and say it in a very empathetic way because patient satisfaction is something that’s driving compensation to the hospital. So we’re part of their office now and we’re part of their patient satisfaction and we want to make sure that those individuals have the premium skills.”

Understanding the true needs of a client, outside the main function, is extremely important in keeping that client and being known as a company if its field who understands its customers and its employees.

“If you’re going to be competitive and you’re going to be in a competitive market, you want to be compared to the best. Philadelphia has some world class companies based in Philadelphia. I think in many of these things that we do, they’re somewhat aspirational that we want to have confirmation from a third party source to say, hey, what you’re doing is interesting and then also the expertise that you have as far as judges to be able to say, hey, if we didn’t win say I think you got some work to do in this particular area of your business or of your shop. So it is a conscientious strategy because having these awards begin to differentiate us from our competitors which the security market is an extremely competitive market.”

“For this particular award, at least when I came here, I know that it had a great reputation that it wasn’t just a check the box, that there was a significant process involved in it.” As part of the Awards’ lifecycle, winners of the Department of the Year Award are invited to be judges the following year(s) after their win. Jim has been judging for two years, so he has seen both sides of the judging process.

“The types of questions that a judge asks, sometimes it will catch you, because you haven’t asked that question of yourself or your group. I find that to be very valuable. Just the process alone, for me, can be enlightening because they’re asking you questions that you haven’t necessarily thought about and I find it to be really healthy.”

Actual application answer
Please tell us why your team is exceptional and should win the Award for Excellence in Talent Acquisition.

Our Team continually strives for success every day. We constantly hold our hands up high when business challenges arise. Our Team enjoys the opportunity to prove ourselves as a valued business partner through our dedication to teamwork, innovation, delivered results and leveraging resources. It is clear that in 2009 our Talent and Acquisition team played an integral role in helping AlliedBarton achieve business results. Our processes and innovations have received national recognition through awards and accolades in such industry publications as HR Executive Magazine’s “Best HR Ideas for 2009” for our work with the Talent Lifecycle Value.

Our Talent team exemplifies the word teamwork. Most of our team works remotely and in remote places from the Corporate office. While this physical distance would be a challenge to most teams, our Talent group has capitalized on their situation. The Team holds regular meetings via phone and web based working sessions. They have capitalized on their physical locations by utilizing the resources they have available to them in their respective regions. This has helped the group source from a more diverse setting based on local relationships and market knowledge. Having members in different areas of the country has helped us to provide valuable insight to hiring managers who may be looking in unfamiliar areas. We are able to custom tailor searches based on local economic conditions and labor markets.

Our business partners have also been excited to see the new innovations that we have brought the sourcing function. Over the past several years we have been able to expose our Leaders to new developing technologies and processes that help provide them with results. Innovations to sourcing and selection have helped us solidify our place as a business partner who understands their needs and requirements when sourcing employees. We work with the hiring manager to develop the appropriate sourcing strategy using social networking sites, internet job boards and other new and exciting erecruiting tactics.

When we identify and take ownership of a challenge our Team has delivered results. The most recent instance as noted above with the new Business Development Manager (BDM) sourcing and selection process has delivered profound results and our Leaders have taken notice. Preliminary analysis has shown that our influence on the process has contributed directly to business results. By working with our Leaders to develop and execute the right hiring strategy we have been able to bring top talent to our organization. These new hires have proven to be valuable assets in their short tenure by demonstrating a marked increase in activities relating to proposals and bookings leading to a positive contribution to the bottom line.

Resources are a constant challenge for our Team. Proportionally, the Corporate Talent team is quite small considering the needs of those we service. We have become adept at leveraging our resources in order to meet the business needs. In many cases we train employees in other disciplines in order to increase our reach. For instance, we train and employ local District office staff in the interview process in order to accommodate interview panel structure.

As noted above we have proven to be a successful business partner that can bring results to the Organization. We continue to develop and refine our skills in order to extract the most out of our people. Challenges such as those noted above have been not only met but exceeded by our group of hard working teammates. Each member has a personal sense of responsibility toward contributing to the success of the business. It’s for these reasons stated above that we feel the Talent team is deserving of this year’s HR Department of the Year.

© 2010, The Rosen Group Newsletter. Reprinted with permission by The Rosen Group, specializing in Human Resources Solutions and HR Staffing.


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What should I expect from my Human Resources Department?

This question has challenged Human Resource professionals and Operating management since the days of the “Personnel” department and probably long before that. It has challenged HR professionals for several reasons, but probably the biggest reason is because the HR community in many cases has not created the dialogue with Operating management that specifically addresses the question.

For example, as an operating manager, how many times has your HR representative asked to have a conversation with you about your specific expectations for HR or asked how you would define this rather amorphous term, “HR”? In order to create alignment between HR and Operations, there has to be a common understanding of what those expectations are. All too often that conversation doesn’t take place. Why? Here’s a starter list:

Too busy.
We already know all that.
Too busy.
Expectations might be higher that HR can deliver.
Too busy.
Never thought to do it.
…Etc.

I think you get the picture.

Let’s look at the same question from the operating side. Certainly those of you in operations can clearly articulate your expectations, but DO YOU? Do you have the forum? Do you take the time to create the forum? Would it be worth the time? Have you ever been to a course that taught HR 101? Probably not, but I’d bet that you have a pretty good understanding of what roles Finance, IT, Engineering, Law, Manufacturing, Marketing, and Sales play in your organization whether you have been to a course or not, and probably that understanding would be in close alignment with those functional peers.

My experience has been, and my guess would be, that it is not the case regarding your HR Department, and perhaps more importantly, it probably would not be in alignment with the role your HR department sees for itself. The results? There could be several–Most likely results would be unmet expectations and therefore disappointment. More importantly, the loss of the opportunity to create a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace through better utilization of your people and organizational capabilities could be the most significant result.

So, what should be the role of HR in your company and how can you maximize this function called “HR”? David Ulrich, Professor in the School of Business at the University of Michigan, identifies four major areas in which HR should be making a significant contribution to your business:

Administrative Efficiency
Strategy Development and Execution
Employee Contribution
Capacity for Change
He focuses his attention and emphasis less on what HR professionals “do” and more on what they “deliver”. He believes that shifting the focus from do-ables to deliverables challenges the traditional beliefs and assumptions about HR and creates a more significant and meaningful dialogue between HR and Operating management, therefore raising the bar regarding expectations for HR*. By doing that, it naturally raises the bar for the contribution HR can and should make to the business. I think he has it right.

A few words about the four major areas:

ADMINISTRATIVE EFFICIENCY
Administrative efficiency is the classic HR tactical day-to-day blocking and tackling. Activities like benefits administration, newsletter preparation, salary administration, policy interpretation, Affirmative Action plan development and implementation, staffing, report preparation (and payroll, if appropriate), represent a tactical, but very important deliverable of the HR function. It must be done well for HR to have initial credibility, but it doesn’t create a strategic advantage in the marketplace.

Strategy Development and Execution
This is clearly the strategic aspect of the Human Resources role. In this role the HR department aligns its organization, competencies, strategies, and practices with the business strategy. HR has no strategy that is not connected in some way with the overall business strategy. Execution is the key here. Without it, all the rest is simply a good intention. With it, HR becomes a key strategic partner. The primary actions of the “strategic” HR leader translate business strategies into HR priorities.

Employee Contribution
This is partially the classic HR role of employee advocate, but it is more if you look just beyond the obvious. A skilled HR professional can use this effectively to positively impact employee attraction and retention. The deliverable here can be increased employee contribution (read productivity), commitment, and competence. The HR challenge in this category is to pro-actively develop and sponsor forums to advocate for employee involvement, bottoms up communication programs, employee training and development opportunities, employee engagement, and in general creating an employee friendly environment offering benefits and services that fosters a culture which makes employees feel valued and involved.

CAPACITY FOR CHANGE
The fourth key role in which HR can provide a marketplace advantage is in the area of managing transformation and change. Transformation involves fundamental cultural change within the firm. As change agents, HR leaders serve as business partners by helping employees and managers let go of the old and adapt to a new culture. HR leaders in this capacity create and implement a process of managing change. Specific activities in this arena include identification and framing of challenges and problems, building relationships of trust with operating management, solving problems, offering creative solutions, creating processes for brainstorming ideas, competently facilitating strategy development meetings, and fulfilling action plans. Effective HR leaders build commitment to change and create the capacity within an organization to support and embrace change.

In summary, the role of Human Resources today requires the HR leader to wear multiple hats and demonstrate that they have access to a variety of tools and competencies that are relevant to supporting business goals and objectives, and they must be able to deliver results that are relevant and contribute to the bottom line.

Is that what your HR department is providing to you? If not, it’s time to initiate the discussion of the role, and clarify expectations. The HR function can be a powerful tool in creating a competitive advantage in the marketplace. It’s up to you, to maximize the value.

**Dave Ulrich, Human Resource Champions, Harvard Business Review, Copyright 1997.

Larry Kludt is a Senior Human Resource executive with 20+ years of experience with major international firms in a variety of business segments, as well as entrepreneurial companies of small to medium size. Larry is on Rosen Consulting’s “Dream Team” and is available to discuss more about the leverage you should be receiving from your Human Resources department and offers a unique audit process which will help you understand the strengths, development needs and expectations of your HR department. He can be reached at larry.kludt@rosengroup.comÂ

© 2010, The Rosen Group Newsletter. Reprinted with permission by The Rosen Group, specializing in Human Resources Solutions and HR Staffing.


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NFI:Winner of the 2009 Department of the Year Award for Companies with 20-49 HR Department Employees

HR Best Practices: Profiles of winners of Human Resources Department of the Year Awards

NFI offers a variety of services to help businesses manage, grow and succeed in today’s logistics marketplace. It is a fully integrated supply chain solutions provider offering logistics, distribution, transportation, intermodal, and real estate services across the U.S. Headquartered in Vineland, NJ, the company owns nearly 60 trucking and maintenance facilities nationwide and globally. Privately held by one family since its inception in 1932, NFI employs over 6,000 individuals, operates over 15 million square feet of contract and public warehouse and distribution space, and generates $800 million in revenue annually. NFI is a partner in the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program, which is dedicated to increasing energy efficiency and reducing the impact of the freight industry upon the environment.

NFI is the 2009 Department of the Year Award winner for companies with 20-49 HR department employees. Scott Rosen met with Nancy Stefanowicz, Senior Vice President of Human Resources of NFI Industries, to discuss winning the award.

Stefanowicz, a 15-year veteran of human resources and employee of NFI for four years, heard about the HR Department of the Year Awards in 2008. She immediately thought, “What would an HR Department of the Year look like?” and shared that question with her team.

At the time, they had just started documenting the great progress they had made over three years of work. Since they would not be ready to showcase their success for the 2008 deadline, she decided her team would strive towards the Award in 2009.

“So I have this in the back of my mind thinking, of course, this is a strategic objective that HR is going to take on,” she said. “I thought ‘I wonder if this will help us to lay the foundation to be able to move us in that direction. It will be a good starting point for us.’ We also felt, when we started jotting down the kind of things we felt like we accomplished this year, we’ve really done a lot this year.”

She assigned the task of completing the application to the training and technology person at first. After they started the process, the HR generalists took a look. In the end, everyone in HR had a chance to participate in the process to make it a whole team effort.

“The process did so much more than I expected it to. We figured we were going to put an application in and we’re going to see what happens, but it got the team excited about what we accomplished. So, the motivation and the passion that the team started to develop and even those new departments that were pulled in, benefits and driver recruiting, they were like, ‘What is this? I’ve been around here for 20 years. We’ve never done anything like this.’ I said ‘Just participate. Let’s see what comes out of it’ and they did.”

As the next part of the application process, NFI was evaluated by seasoned HR Awards judges Barbara Davidson and Carol Krause. Davidson and Krause asked to meet with members of the executive team and the HR team. Stefanowicz was able to schedule five members of the executive team and the entire HR team to meet with the judges.

“[The judges] were able to do a great job of seeing what the executives said and then asking for specific HR examples of how that married up. So they were able to see that the business wasn’t just speaking to try to get us an award, it was actually validated by the information that the HR Director said.”

Believe it or not, they didn’t plan or practice their presentation; nor did they create a formal presentation. They walked through their application section by section. Davidson and Krause were helpful to Stefanowicz and her team, because they were very interested in knowing what makes NFI qualified to speak to apply and to win.

“It was an uplifting experience for the team, so we actually celebrated that night with the executives and the HR team. We went out because I said ‘Even if we don’t win, we’ve gotten so much out of this and it’s done so much for the business to buy in.'”

“[The judges] said ‘You guys did a great job. We can’t give you any insight but you need to know your competition was brutal this year.’ Everybody did a great job.”

Early on in her career with NFI, Stefanowicz convinced Sid Brown, CEO of NFI, the organization needed to create a mission and vision and values statements. Brown reluctantly agreed to let Stefanowicz secure a consultant to help them design their mission, vision and values. For the first time ever, they brought all of the executives together for a three-day session to discuss the company’s future.

“There was no blueprint to making our decisions. There was nothing that was guiding our behaviors,” she continued, “No values. No roadmap.”

Once the mission, vision and values were created they started to create a five-year business plan, where Stefanowicz was the keeper of the plan documents. The executives saw that Stefanowicz could speak their language and could help figure out acquisitions and people development. HR started getting invited to decision making meetings because they gained credibility in helping make business decisions.

Stefanowicz reiterated a lesson she had learned a long time back, “Unless the business peculates the idea, or at least thinks it’s their idea, it’s never going to be successful. So although it needs to come from the top, if you don’t get the buy in at the business and make those two come together, HR is never going to be a partner.”

An executive paired up with HR for every single meeting to promote the mission to the employees. They traveled around the country to reach almost 5,000 people with their value statement. They also hired a consultant to develop training for the values rollout.

“When we started to bring people in the room, we did something called Stop, Start and Continue. We said, ‘Alright you know what? You’ve been here for fifteen years. You’re not believing what I’m telling you, but what do we need to stop immediately? What do we need to start? What do we need to continue?’ Once we started, we ended up seeing that we had the buy in for the cultural change, because we had to change the culture here so badly, from that old trucking mentality to a sophisticated organization that can now take care of any of your transportation warehousing or logistic needs.”

NFI developed and implemented a fully integrated Human Capital Management System (HCMS) and new HR Service Delivery Model designed internally. They created a service center as the single point of contact for HR, Payroll and Benefits information. The new headcount was fully funded by headcount savings in Payroll and Benefits. To roll out the new HCMS, they created, designed and developed a communication plan to transmit all communication messages and training materials from the system. The CEO was behind them in launching the new system.

“Sid sent the letter out to everybody saying ‘This is coming. This is awesome. It’s mandatory, you have to come to this training, and we’re going to be kicking off for the next three months traveling the country kicking off this new performance management system that’s tied to our competencies and salary grades. It’s really great stuff.'”

NFI also expanded its Driver Recruiting Initiative by creating a new on-line Recruitment System and reevaluating only advertising in newspapers, transitioning them from all paper applications to On-Line Applications. The change provided a substantial cost reduction in both cost per hire and advertising buy. After 10 months of the implementation of the on-line Recruitment System, NFI received over 49,000 applications for non-Driver positions, resulting in over 400 hires. Over the past twelve months, through organic growth and acquisition, they have hired over a total of 1400 employees (Drivers and non-Drivers).

“We have laid all of the foundation from an HR standpoint to keep up with the business growth. So again, enabling technology with our applicant tracking and our recruiting system and putting a recruitment department in place because we’re growing like mad. We’re going to grow by at least 1,000 employees this year again. We’re just growing exponentially and that’s twenty percent. So just putting the systems in place that can handle that. We are taking training to a new level this year so for the first time. We’re instituting both computer based training and instructor based training for executives to warehouse employees. It is going to be a very big initiative this year. We’re increasing the functionality that we have from our HCMS system so we’re in the process right now of implementing.”

The changes Stefanowicz and her team have made really had an impact on the bottom line of the company as a whole. They  cut out 1.2 million dollars in pure spend with the adoption of the HCMS. Their cost of an ad per hire went from $1600 for a driver to $285.

“I mean it’s just unbelievable and that’s just by putting in a process and a system and being smarter and get the right people in the jobs.” She continued, “This year we’re going to be able to measure through productivity, training, and turnover, with absolute potential to bring more money to the bottom line.”

Nancy brought her team to the Awards ceremony, as well as Brown. “I just wanted Sid to even be exposed to the profession because he’s never been to an HR function before, and our president, Joe Roeder, who runs two of our biggest divisions was also there. He’s a big HR fan anyway. I wanted the team to be exposed to both Sid and a process like this so even if we didn’t win it would have been time well spent.”

Nancy’s team told her to have notes prepared for the awards ceremony, but she didn’t think she needed to. “They were like ‘If you win, you are not going to embarrass us, you’re going to go up there and do a good job.'” Since they kidded her all week, she did prepare a few notes which she happened to forget when NFI was called as the winner.

Brown was very proud of the team, which made the team even more pleased with their accomplishment. The day after the ceremony, he sent a note out to the entire organization telling them that they won. Their marketing department distributed press releases and secured a couple stories about their win.

“This is a win for NFI as well. Yes, HR was recognized here but it’s only because, as I said in my speech, we were enabled or given the keys to the ‘truck’ by the CEO and the presidents , so I really feel that this sets NFI up for continued success and not just NFI HR.”

The award is currently at the front of the human resources office, but eventually they will be getting a trophy case.

“It’s a great opportunity. I’m so appreciative to even have had it. I kind of felt like the newbie in there. Everyone else knew each other and I’m like who am I to come in and do this?”

Actual application answer
Please tell us why your department is exceptional and should win the Human Resources Department of the Year Award.
Until about 3 years ago (NFI is 76 years old), the HR department was viewed as a traditional, administrative department (hire and fire). A new SVP of HR was hired with a mission to transform the HR function to be a strategic part of the business as well as be more efficient in a growing and changing organization. (and it’s nice to have a CEO that is willing to support the change!). We believe our department is exceptional due to our many accomplishments and positive impact on the business and desired cultural change despite our limited resources (people: 30 HR for 5400 employees and funding) we have made during the past year.

Our team is willing to take risks to ensure we have the right solutions for our clients. We are creative and innovative.
We desire to be world-class and strive to be better everyday.
We have great relationships with our clients and vendors. We are customer (internal and external) focused.
We have made a positive impact on our company culture and community
We provide sound counsel. We have strong Generalists and Specialists.
We care.
We are a solid team. Everyone is willing to help one another all the time.
© 2010, The Rosen Group Newsletter. Reprinted with permission by The Rosen Group, specializing in Human Resources Solutions and HR Staffing.


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Ocean Spray: 2009 Winner of the Award for Excellence in Leadership

HR Best Practices: Profiles of winners of Human Resources Department of the Year Awards

Ocean Spray was started nearly 80 years ago by three farmers from Massachusetts and New Jersey. They are an agricultural cooperative–owned by a large group of over 600 cranberry growers throughout North America and 50 Florida grapefruit growers. Ocean Spray is the leading producer of canned and bottled juice drinks in North America, and has been since 1981.

They posted fiscal 2008 gross sales of roughly $1.9 billion; and have more than 2,000 employees worldwide. There are eight primary manufacturing facilities across the United States–four are beverage facilities and four are food and ingredient facilities.

The largest and oldest facility, the plant in Bordentown, NJ takes the concentrated juice from the food and ingredients facilities in Massachusetts and Wisconsin; blends that juice with other ingredients; and packages the product into the products you see on the shelves at your local grocer. The Bordentown facility packages roughly one third of the 100 million cases of juice products Ocean Spray produces in a year. The Bordentown plant has 253 employees, and is the winners of the 2009 HR Award for Excellence in Leadership.

Scott Rosen met with members of the Human Resources staff of Ocean Spray in December 2009 to talk about winning the Award.

“We were pleasantly surprised that we were even nominated for the award, not sure how it happened,” said Tim Haggerty, Ocean Spray’s Plant Manager for five years and employee for eight years.

Ocean Spray received an email from the HR Department of the Year Awards committee telling them that someone nominated the company for an award. To this day, they do not know who nominated them, but they would certainly like to know. Teri Thomas, HR Manager, and Neal France, HR Generalist, tried to pin it down, but since they had just spent 12 months giving presentations on leadership training, it could be one of numerous people.

“There are a lot of seeds that were planted out there as far as what we’re doing here,” said Thomas, who’s been with Ocean Spray for four years and a human resource professional for 24 years. “A lot of people would come up and give us feedback and say, ‘Hey, there’s some really neat stuff that you are all doing’ and that ‘I haven’t heard any other organization doing those sorts of things.'”

Ocean Spray is a conservative company that is not much of a limelight seeker, but Thomas and her team decided that this was an opportunity that they could not pass up. She along with France and Kelly Collins, HR Administrator for two years, got together to discuss the nomination and next steps. They researched more about the Awards and saw that they could apply for the Excellence Award in Leadership–right up their alley.

“We’re just really excited about the award and to talk about this program that we have, as far as our leadership program,” said France, who has been with Ocean Spray for over three years. “We thought that most of the work, the body of the work that we were doing, was leadership and that was our focus.”

“I think the success story here is about the cultural change,” said Thomas. “It was not a very good environment at all, at any level. No turnover really to speak of because the employees loved it here. And really not be held accountable.”

Haggerty notes that he thinks the turnaround for the Bordentown plant happened when they introduced a performance evaluation system. He asked his employees when they had last received a performance evaluation. Their answers astounded him. They had never had one, and some of the employees had been there 30 years. He asked them how they know they were doing their job right. No one had told them they weren’t and that was suitable to them.

In response, he told employees, “We can understand and appreciate your concerns. We ask that you give us a little chance. Give us time to start turning it around.”

He realized the employees needed accountability and empowerment. Thus began the plans for a very robust employee engagement plan that started one-on-one meetings with every person in the facility. Haggerty conducted 311 of these one-on-ones, and to date that number is closer to 500. He also recruited the supervisors and managers to conduct one-on-ones, so everyone had a voice. The sessions became known as EPM, employee participation meetings, bringing together a cross section of employees from the entire facility to talk about policies and procedures.

“The genesis of a lot of this came out of those one-on-ones,” Haggerty explained. “The employees clearly said ‘We desperately need leadership in the organization. We want you to hold people and hold us accountable.’ Well, let’s make sure we all understand what leadership means and what accountability means.” He continued, “Why would I really bust my backside, you know, if Joe Bag-of-Doughnuts working right next to me isn’t doing anything, and is getting paid the same amount of money. Where’s our incentive, right?”

Along with gaining trust from their employees, they needed to explain accountability and disciple so everyone understood the expectations. The Performance Impact Workplace (PIW) program grew from this need. PIW is Ocean Spray’s review process which includes a journal of performance. Where before the focus was on discipline only, they trained supervisors to have an even hand approach and log good and bad events. This helped give a fair an accurate assessment at review time.

The team was concerned that long-time employees of the company with take issue with the new policies, but it was quite the opposite. They welcomed the change and it enhanced their performance and increased their productivity.

“They were also extremely supportive of the change which also made a huge difference because they’ve been here so long that they had such influence over some of the other employees,” Collins said. “It was easier to transition, if you had their support.”

They asked the employees to tell them if there is an issue or when they make a mistake, instead of hiding it. Thomas tells of an employee who accidentally ran a forklift into a steam pipe and recognized that it could cost the company money since he knocked a line down. He called security and told them what happened, and had them call the fire and police departments. He called the safety manager, the plant manager and the maintenance manager to report the issue. He took a taxi to the hospital to take a drug test; and, upon receiving negative results [meaning no drugs or alcohol], took a taxi back to work to prepare a report and complete his shift. He was recognized by the plant leadership for doing the right thing and being accountable.

“It’s not about why didn’t he get a write-up,” France said. “You only get write-ups to change a behavior. If you have the correct behavior, why would you get a write up? It’s silly. You’re trying to drive the behaviors. We want an environment where there is no discipline because we all do the right thing. ‘I did this. I made a mistake. And, I fixed it.’ So that’s the type of environment we’re creating.”
Ocean Spray Employees are reviewed and also recognized for their achievements publically. They created an Eagle Award which is handed out both quarterly and annually so positive actions are visibly acknowledged. They also trained supervisors in informal recognition. Ocean Spray created a High 5 Awards program, which focuses on peer-to-peer recognition; and Spot Awards, where a manager can stop and tell an employee that they did an exceptional job on a particular project or issue.

“I think we do a very good job of recognizing our employees and advertising and letting them know, ‘Hey, we do see what you’re doing out there and we are recognizing that you’re doing a great job,'” said France.

“And we also publish all of that information,” Collins added. “We do a quarterly newsletter so this way all that information is also published so that everybody can also see who got what for the quarter.”

“We actually have a recognition wall over on the other side on our DC side where we have pictures,” France pointed out. “Ithink that’s really important part of the HR programs.”

Once they had empowered their employees to “do the right thing”, they needed to make sure their leaders were effectively managing their staff. When Haggerty started in Bordentown, he brought with him a Leader-In-Development [LID] program that was not widely accepted or appreciated. Haggerty and Thomas put their heads together and realized that this program needed to be revamped. Through the efforts of both Thomas and France, the ‘new and improved’ LID was launched just about 2 years ago. They felt that the issue was in the way it was being facilitated, so they stopped it to take the time to find the right people to run the program.

With a new team in place in May 2008, Thomas and her team presented a new Leadership in Development (LID) program for the hourly work force. The program originally started with 17 employees that held the title of “Lead” for their respective departments. The program was such a success that non-titled employees requested to participate in the training. The program quickly grew to 51 hourly employees.

“People heard about it from another hourly employee or supervisor and asked if they can join and we said anybody can join, you don’t have to be a formal lead, everybody is a leader,” Thomas continued.

The first few training sessions consisted of personality testing. They added to the program by bringing in guest speakers, such as professional performance coaches. In August of 2008, the program embarked on a one year in-depth study of John C. Maxwell’s, 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, culminating with a graduation in September 2009.

The curriculum for the one-year program was prepared and taught by another new management program, the Good to Great (G2G) council. The G2G council, based on Jim Collin’s best seller, is headed by Haggerty and comprised of managers, supervisors, leads and hourly employees. They meet weekly to discuss chapters of a selected leadership books. They also serve as an advisory council for Haggerty.

The combination of the LID, G2G and the existing front line supervisors DDI (Development Dimensions International) training programs culminated in one leadership forum. With momentum in leadership development gaining, Ocean Spray decided to create a Leadership Boot Camp in April 2009.

Twenty-four employees went off-site for two 12-hour days and one 6-hour day for leadership discussions, physical training sessions, drill and ceremony practice, speech preparation and nutrition consultation. The camp more than met their expectations as better relationships were forged; appreciation grew for all levels of organization; healthier life styles emerged; and confidence improved through communication.

With such positive results, they held another Boot Camp in June 2009 with 29 employees, and there are two more scheduled for 2010.

“We started to develop a ground swell of trust,” Haggerty explained. “Do you have trust in the leadership within the facility? From that, and with all the work that these folks have done as far as the training and development of the employees, and the empowerment of the employees, is a huge piece. It’s no longer, ‘Oh, gee. This is a management decision.’ No. This is what we all think is in the best interest of the organization going forward.”

“There’s a real big part of business that managers and supervisors miss and it’s your hourly nonexempt workforce,” added Thomas. “We have far more of them than we have managers and supervisors, yet we make all those great business decisions because we’re so smart. If you really want to get the work done and at a high quality, high production, and engagement, tap into your resources. They’re right there and as soon as you make them feel like you appreciate them, you trust them. We need them more than they need us.”

“We interview a lot for leadership,” Collins said. “We get your technical skill. That’s the price of admission. You’re an engineer or you’re an accountant, or you’re a…whatever you are. You’ve got to have that. And people need to like you, it’s important.”

Collins added, “You’re either a team player or you’re not and this was a perfect opportunity to show that not only were we talking the talk but we were now walking the walk and we truly were one team, one goal, one vision.”

“I think [our story] really ties into our vision for the HR Department.” France said. “Basically, we’re strategic partners with the organization. Making that a part of the business plan. The people side, so that’s how we’re able to do some of the things we’re doing. We have the leadership that empowers us to do these things.”

Due to a misunderstanding of whether their application was accepted for nomination, Ocean Spray’s HR team did not attend the awards ceremony. In the days leading up to the event, the event management team attempted to contact the team, but was unable to make a connection. The event’s Master of Ceremonies, Bill Henley–NBC 10’s respected meteorologist and “10! Show” co-host–accepted the award on their behalf.

Thomas was contacted the next day to let the team know that they had won the Award for Excellence in Leadership. The following week, the actual award was hand-delivered to the team.

“Knowing what we know now, definitely we would have been there with bells on,” Haggerty said. “We would have had our corporate communication people in the loop with it as well.”

Even though they were not there for the event, they are proud that their excellent work was in the spotlight that evening and they will always be listed and celebrated as the winner of the 2009 Award for Excellence in Leadership.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the three of these individuals,” commended Haggerty. “I see the work that they do every day and sometimes we really have to force ourselves to take a time out, step back and go ‘Wow’. That’s a lot of work that you did on that. We’ve shared it across the entire company. The folks here received a number of kudos from everybody up and down the entire chain of command. So there have been some really neat things. We’ve got a great trophy that we’re going to add to the room.”

Actual application answer
Please tell us why your team is exceptional and should win the Award for Excellence in Leadership.
Our HR Team may be small, only three individuals, but we have made a tremendous impact on our organization. This team is much more than an administrative function; we are a strategic partner in the success of our organization. Our employee development programs have become the model and benchmark for others within our cooperative to emulate. Our organizational communication plan keeps all levels of our organization engaged and well informed. Our people care programs are exceptional, morale is high and the work force is engaged. With over 20 years experience in the HR field, this is by far the most professional, high performing and results oriented team I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Team Bordentown, as we call ourselves, is definitely deserving of the HR Award of Excellence.

© 2010, The Rosen Group Newsletter. Reprinted with permission by The Rosen Group, specializing in Human Resources Solutions and HR Staffing.


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Philadelphia Gas Works: 2009 Winner of the HR Department of the Year Award for Departments with 8-9 human resources employees

HR Best Practices: Profiles of winners of Human Resources Department of the Year Awards

The Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) is the largest municipally-owned natural gas utility in the United States serving 500,000 customers in the City of Philadelphia. From its rather humble beginnings in 1836, PGW has grown into one of the nation’s leading natural gas providers with a continued focus on safety, stability and service. PGW provides a wide range of employment opportunities and a comprehensive benefits package to over 1,700 employees and over 1,900 retirees.

PGW’s Human Resources (HR) and Organizational Development (OD) Departments, which employ more than 20 professionals, report into Abby Pozefsky, Sr. VP of Administration and General Counsel. HR and OD are two separate departments, performing distinct functions; however they share common goals and objectives that support the management of PGW’s workforce as they ensure the corporation’s objectives and strategic plan. Lorraine Webb, Vice President of Organizational Development is a 25 year veteran of human resources and is responsible for talent management, performance management, diversity, recruiting and staffing, training and development and employee relations. Bill Muntzer, Vice President of Human Resources has been with PGW for nearly 28 years and is responsible for benefits, compensation, labor, medical and EAP policies.

Scott Rosen met with HR and OD staff in December of 2009 to discuss the process of becoming the 2009 Human Resources Department of the Year Award winner for departments with 8-9 employees.

“I recognized an opportunity to tell a compelling story,” said Gary Gioioso, Director of Organizational Development for PGW about deciding to apply. “I have to be honest. The reason that we applied was just to make sure that our team, knew how well we were doing. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of that. A lot of the stuff we’re doing here is cutting edge and it’s easy sometimes to not be able to see that.”

Pozefsky credits Webb and Muntzer in being able to carve out new programs to meet special challenges. For example, PGW has not been able to give employees raises for the past two years because of PGW’s finances. So in response, HR and OD have introduced other benefits including a compressed work week schedule–much to the enjoyment of the employees; exercise programs so staff can get an aerobic lunchtime workout; and back to school programs, open houses and a mini-MBA program supported by Drexel University so employees can enjoy life long learning. Webb has also been instrumental in initiating programs that reward excellent employee performance.

“The things that we have are really born out of necessity. We pride ourselves on being an employer of choice and we have learned to do the most we can with what we’ve got. A lot of it is out of fun and most of it is why not, nobody’s telling us no we can’t,” Webb said. “When you’re constrained in terms of giving great raises and all of the rest of that, the question is what is it that makes people stay?”

Thanks to the cutting edge initiatives in HR and OD, employees are not leaving the company. In fact, minus retirement rates, PGW’s turnover rate is around one percent.

“What strikes me about PGW is the generational stuff, because you have folks working here whose fathers and mothers have worked here, whose grandparents have worked here, whose cousins and uncles have worked here there’s a real sense of loyalty to the organization. There’s one person who said it is put bread and butter on my table and my children’s table,” said Webb.

Bill Ambrose, Director of Human Resources has been an employee of PGW since graduating high school 31 years ago. His mother and father worked for PGW and his brother and brother-in-law work at the company now.

“I have a very strong loyalty to PGW,” said Ambrose. “It’s a great place to work. I really believe it. You don’t see many people leaving here. They want to stay here. We provide excellent benefits for our employees. They’re not many companies left that provide full medical benefits to employees and their families at no cost. So that’s one of the things that, in working with the company, we’ve been able to do.”

PGW has training and career development programs at several Philadelphia area colleges including Drexel and Temple Universities. The company is also training students to be future plant workers through a specialized high school curriculum with the School District of Philadelphia’s Edward Bok Technical High School.

“We’re forward thinking with the intent of making sure that pipeline of human capital is full so that when we need folks we can go ahead and hire them,” said Webb.

What really strikes Pozefsky is how much PGW does with a small budget. It surprises her how people with plentiful resources do not do similar or grander programs for their employees that create a positive work environment.

“I think if you had a ‘making gold out of straw award’, that’s the award that we would really win because we have so many fewer resources to work with. It means that our HR/OD issues are really approached in a very different way than most folks,” she said.

Once Gioioso submitted the application, the staff met to talk about the judging process and the roles everyone would assume. This was a new audience to report their procedures and successes to. Webb and Muntzer created the presentation, but everyone was involved in meeting with the judges. It was both exciting and stressful for the staff. Gioioso viewed this as a great opportunity and the employees started to believe that they do a lot of good work and deserved the chance to showcase their achievement.

“We had lots of contributions and thoughts from all 23 folks and then we invited everyone to come to the boardroom to meet with Mark [Spool] and Ed [Dunn],” Webb said. “We thought it was important that they see the face of the Human Resources and Organizational Development Departments. We had fun. People were very proud to talk about who they were.”

Ambrose added, “I think it helps them. They don’t, I mean, you try and recognize them for the work they do, but when they are in front of someone, an outside audience, as Lorraine said, they get that pride in them, that yeah, I really do this, and then they start to understand the value of the contribution that they’re putting into the organization and how they’re helping HR and Organizational Development together to achieve something for the company. So it’s really good to see that and it’s good to see people’s faces light up.”

Pozefsky noted that she was very interested in seeing how the judges would evaluate PGW “as a municipal entity participating in a process that was largely non-municipal.” How would they fit? She was impressed that the committee was able to see through that issue and focus on their process.

“I thought [the judges] were very thoughtful and very smart,” she said. “We had two really good ones. I think it’s tough because I think you’re looking at a bunch of apples and we’re definitely a pear. Yet they were able to figure out what the commonalities were and what would be a sustainable basis for an award. I really appreciated that.”

When the presentation was over, Webb asked Gioioso how he thought the presentation was received.

He said, “I think we have a chance. Where before, it was kind of a motivational kind of thing to keep people engaged, now it got to the point where I thought, ‘We’re going to win this. We can actually do this thing.’ It was an honor to be considered but then once you get past a certain stage, you want to win.”

Not everyone in the team of 23 was able to come to the event. They were able to bring their CEO, Tom Knudsen, who has been instrumental in the success of the programming, and Philadelphia Facilities Management Corporation Board Member Gerry Davis, who is the departments’ liaison to the board. Unfortunately, Gioioso could not be there the night of the awards presentation, but he was in constant contact with his coworkers during the event.

Webb and the team were shocked when PGW was called as the winner. Webb accepted the award on the team’s behalf.

“One of the funny things that we all commented on when we got back to the office was that many of the other companies, when they…would win, they would all cheer and stand up and when our name was called,” Webb said. “All our jaws just hit the table and there wasn’t a sound. Abby says that she was surprised that we won. However, I would have been surprised if we didn’t and the reason I say that is because I do believe that the programs are first rate and in some instances cutting edge. I think we’re very innovative.”

Pozefsky chimed in, “I wasn’t doubtful that we [would win]. The issue for me wasn’t what kind of a job we had done, because I think it’s really been extraordinary, but it’s how much we’ve done with so little.”

Ambrose added, “To me, the secret sauce is the people who work here, the dedication and the commitment that they have to get things done.”

Knudsen and COO, Craig White, as well as other PGW employees, came to congratulate the team the following morning. White said that he was recounting all the things that the teams have done and it was a real indication about the contributions that they’ve made to the organization.

That same morning, the team was talking about how they could win the award again next year with a repeat. They also rehashed how they could better themselves to win the Excellence Award they were also nominated for this year. PGW’s team has tasted a win and they want more.

Gioioso ended the meeting saying, “The honor that was conferred on us by the organization and the judges was just…on the one side, it was almost mind blowing; but on the other side, I knew we had it in us all along or else I wouldn’t have [applied]. I wouldn’t have put us in a position of being embarrassed.”

Actual application answer
Please tell us why your department is exceptional and should win the Human Resources Department of the Year Award.
PGW’s Organizational Development Department is exceptional for several reasons, most notably, the expertise and dedication of the team. All involved share knowledge, skills and efforts. No job is too big or too small for all involved. Secondly, necessity is the mother of invention. The department has been forced to be truly innovative. Budgetary strictures force us to be creative and flexible. We cannot “throw money” at a problem. The philosophy is every “problem” is an opportunity for excellence. We have developed an in house performance management system; we create and implement effective in house OD interventions; we have identified and met growing workforce development issue by implementing a leadership development program as well as a comprehensive “staffing the gap” initiative. Lastly, we have aligned all our learning and development initiatives with the core competencies of the organization. We have been named an employer of choice by a nationally published diversity publication. We have established relationships with high schools and junior colleges in order to imbed into their curriculum the knowledge, skills and abilities need for hard to fill positions at PGW. We have done more with less. We have done great work. We have never flinched from the challenges presented. We are a talented, dedicated and knowledgeable team led by a very effective leader. We deserve to be considered for this prestigious award.

© 2010, The Rosen Group Newsletter. Reprinted with permission by The Rosen Group, specializing in Human Resources Solutions and HR Staffing.


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Merits Projected to Rise in 2010

by Marisa Rambaran, The Rosen Group

Positive news in the midst of the recession-Watson Wyatt’s 2009/2010 U.S. Strategic Rewards May 2009 survey reports an optimistic outlook for salary boosts in the coming year.

So far this year, bonus budgets have suffered under the hard hit economy, leaving hard-working employees to endure less than their deserved pay. But in 2010, the 235 companies surveyed by Wyatt plan on turning things around.

In 2008, workers experienced an average pay increase of 3.5%. That percentage was projected to stay constant in 2009, but since bonus programs took a back seat to the declining economy, it drastically decreased to its lowest in February at 1.5%. As of June, 2009, it has slightly gone up to 2.0%. But the projection of a 3.0% merit increase for 2010 has much promise, as the 235 major companies, with 1000+ employees, emphasize hope for an economic upturn.

Wyatt subsidiary, Watson Wyatt Data Services, also surveyed around 900 organizations, concluding that the companies projecting no plans for pay raises has decreased from 25% in 2009 to 10% in 2010.

Watson Wyatt’s global director of strategic rewards, Laura Sejen, says, “This has been a very difficult year for both employers and their workers. But there is some good news on the horizon. Employers plan to give larger raises next year, and many plan to reinstate previously cut pay raises as planning for an eventual economic recovery continues.”

Worthy workers can expect at least a 1% increase in salary adjustment payout from their employers, which is expected to move from 1.8% in 2009 to 2.7% in 2010. Potential beneficiaries of the augmented 2010 salaries will be evaluated by high standards. Companies, aware that the recession is not yet over, must make sure that the workers receiving bonuses have earned it. Weak performers, therefore, will not be rewarded. Employees should expect high-level analysis in the workplace, from companies eager to show optimism and hope for a recovering economy.

Other major reports echo Wyatt’s findings, giving hope for a steady economic upturn. The 2009/2010 Culpepper Salary Increase Budgets Survey reports that salary freezes, initially meant to prevent and/or reduce layoffs, are expected to decrease from 37% in 2009 to 13% in 2010. Also, Culpepper reports that of the 13% of companies that reported decreasing salaries in 2009, one-third intend to overturn that statistic next year.

Hewitt Associates reports that although the current year’s salary increases are the lowest in 33 years, variable pay spending has doubled since 1994 from 5-6% to almost 12%. With a positive economic outlook, high-performance workers can look forward to change in 2010. Hewitt representative Ken Abosch states that, “Even in the toughest economies, companies are willing to reserve money for top-performing employees as a way to reward their performance and ensure they retain these employees after the job market rebounds. Over the past decade, we’ve seen companies steadily shift from a fixed pay model to one that emphasizes true performance-based awards, and we expect this trend will continue.” Hewitt’s report goes on to show higher merit projections in the industries of energy and food/beverage/tobacco. Those industries with the lowest expected increase include Industrial machinery, education, and vehicle manufacturing.

Good news is finally here, after a year of cutbacks on compensation and benefits due to the struggling economy. Employers are optimistic for an economic turnaround, and their high quality employees can expect to see the results of these projections in the upcoming year.

© 2009, The Rosen Group Newsletter. Reprinted with permission by The Rosen Group, specializing in Human Resources Solutions and HR Staffing.


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Making the Case for Diversity and Inclusion: Strategies and Tactical Approaches

by Luanne Ramsey

As a former diversity leader, this topic is something I am very passionate about. My definition of diversity is everything that makes us “different” from others, such as race, gender, values, work styles, communication styles and characteristics. I define inclusion as recognizing the importance and value of bringing together individuals and their different perspectives in our various workplace processes.

Achieving sustained success requires the highest possible quality and most effective workforce and workplace. Anything less leaves superior business results to chance. Business success is about moving beyond inclusion and building intercultural competence. Employees can “buy in” to the value of building a culture that supports diversity.

Thus, diversity and inclusion need to be a core business strategy. Your company can begin a systematic approach by:

Solidifying support from the CEO and senior leaders.
Assessing the current culture in the organization and the readiness to change.
Outlining the strategies to align the key business objectives and overall goals of the organization.

Measuring Diversity Preparedness and Readiness:

Once organizations realize the importance of addressing diversity, they must ask the following question: How do we determine our current status related to diversity?

Develop and administer a customized employee cultural assessment survey. By making the survey available to all employees, they are more likely to be accepting of the findings. Use the survey tool in conjunction with one-on-one interviews and focus groups.

Strategies:

Focus on building awareness by building understanding and encouraging reflection.
Develop a vision of inclusion which defines the direction change.
Rethink key management concepts and principles to match new vision.
Plan for action oriented-integration which translates the principles, vision, and competencies into observable and measureable behavior. (This leads to fostering development and reinforces the vision and principles.)

Tactics (involve all business units or departments):

Create visible displays throughout the organization showcasing all areas of diversity.
Establish Affinity Groups.
Hold monthly celebrations/events embracing diverse groups.
Establish diversity lunch/learn programs.
Produce a monthly newsletter geared to recognizing efforts and highlighting diversity initiatives or programs.
Provide on-going communication on the company intranet around upcoming events that encourage employees to participate.
Establish a listening post through the use of the employee survey to understand where the organization is with building acceptance and understanding among groups.
Develop exchange programs to foster key learning competencies with your global workforce.
Encourage job sharing and job shadowing across geographies.
Establish learning programs that are varied to accommodate different learning styles.
Develop programs focusing on cross generational workforce awareness and work styles to promote interdependence and acceptance.
Compensate employees for volunteering efforts with community outreach programs and groups.
Edit current policies regarding benefits to ensure all employee populations are represented and offered equal coverage plans.
Establish recruiting/retention affiliations in diverse communities.
Hold Diversity Job Fairs for all levels, quarterly.
Create internships through partnerships with minority higher learning institutions to attract and build hiring pools.
Design ESL programs for the diverse talent pools hired to assist in communication and build on assimilation.
Develop benchmarks for utilizing vendors that are minority-owned. Determine your spend goals, set the targets, and evaluate the results.

In my experience, these are some of the best practices to enhance the acceptance of diversity and inclusion. I am sure there are many more that you and your team will be able to brainstorm that will work for your specific company. You may also gain insight into the best tools from your employee survey.

Diversity initiatives build trust and perceptions of trust. With trust comes engagement and with engagement comes retention. Furthermore, retaining staff keeps our labor costs down, serves our customers with continuity and overall experience bottom line impact to business outcomes.

Can your organization afford not to pursue D&I initiatives? Consider not just the dollars attached to the outcomes, but consider the integrity of our moral obligations to work towards excellence in this space.

Luanne Ramsey is the Business Development Manager for The Rosen Group. Luanne came to The Rosen Group in February 2008 with a unique background as both a staffing and human resources professional. She has nine years of experience in the global staffing industry–including experience as a Senior Recruiter, Staffing Manager, Branch Manager, and Business Development and Sales Manager. A seasoned HR Professional, Luanne has held leadership roles from Generalist, Employee Relations, and HR Manager to Business Partner for Global Medical, Pharmaceutical Organizations.

© 2009, The Rosen Group Newsletter. Reprinted with permission by The Rosen Group, specializing in Human Resources Solutions and HR Staffing.


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Defining Culture

by Luanne Ramsey

A company’s culture can be the difference between success and failure.

Organizational culture can be difficult to define, let alone understand. The definition of culture is the collective unwritten beliefs, rewards, ethics and behaviors that determine how people within the organization react and behave, both toward their internal and external stakeholders, peers and customers.

I define culture as both the written and unwritten norms of people within an organization. It’s like a code of behavior.

There are two types of culture-flexible culture and inflexible culture. Flexible cultures exist in organizations where people are encouraged and rewarded for their commitment. These cultures are innovative, diverse and change-ready. Inflexible cultures are marked by their inability to change and exist in places where people’s energies are focused internally.

Examples of Flexible Cultures

Customer-focused: This is a culture where people have ownership of their clients and are welcomed to push back internally and argue on behalf of their customers. This is a culture that adapts quickly to meet the needs of the marketplace, as they know the needs and demands of the end user.

Learning culture: This is a culture that encourages innovation, and where commitment is rewarded over loyalty. In this culture, innovation and acceptable risk taking are rewarded; and people are constantly encouraged to not only learn, but apply their learning within the organization.

Ethical culture: This is a culture where people feel that the organization “walks the talk”. It is a culture that embraces diversity. Employees believe that they are part of a greater good-that what they do makes a difference. In this culture, people are engaged and empowered.

Examples of Inflexible Cultures
Survivor: This is a culture where people are so focused on the internal threats and politics that burn out is high, and innovation, because it is “sticking your neck out” is low. It is a culture dominated by fear.

Centralized: This is a very top-heavy culture where senior management is at the center of every decision. It is a 50s-style corporate culture where the only people who make any decisions are senior management and change happens very slowly-if at all-because people have no ownership. It is a culture dominated by complacency. In this culture, when they tell you to hammer a nail, you keep hammering until they tell you to stop.

Bureaucratic: This is a culture where process and procedures take precedence over people and needs. Systems are very well entrenched and are very rarely reviewed or changed.

What Makes Up a Culture?

The major elements that make up a culture are:

Leadership
Ethics
Attitudes and Beliefs
Rewards and Recognition
Processes and Procedures
These elements, when combined, have a direct impact on the culture of your organization. The culture is the one critical factor that will determine the overall health and future health of your organization.

Don’t assume that just because there is a mission, vision, or core value statement that this way of thinking is on auto pilot and fully embodied in all members of the organization.

Yes, it is critical to hire passionate, competent employees, but, if the internal culture is not cohesive, even the brightest stars will dim over time.

Take a look around your organization. Where would you say your organization is on the culture barometer?

Something else to think about: How do “you” fit within the elements of culture?

If you are a leader of people or a business unit with multiple levels, you are responsible for creating a healthy culture with each interaction.

Luanne Ramsey is the Business Development Manager for The Rosen Group. Luanne came to The Rosen Group in February 2008 with a unique background as both a staffing and human resources professional. She has nine years of experience in the global staffing industry–including experience as a Senior Recruiter, Staffing Manager, Branch Manager, and Business Development and Sales Manager. A seasoned HR Professional, Luanne has held leadership roles from Generalist, Employee Relations, and HR Manager to Business Partner for Global Medical, Pharmaceutical Organizations.

© 2009, The Rosen Group Newsletter. Reprinted with permission by The Rosen Group, specializing in Human Resources Solutions and HR Staffing.


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New Jersey FLI: Do you know what it means for your business?

Quick Quiz

When talking about the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), New Jersey Family Leave Act (NJFLA) and Family Leave Insurance (FLI), which program(s):Â Â
ensure the employee returns to the same or similar position with pay and benefits?
can an employee take for their own medical condition?
cover care for a newborn or adopted child for bonding?
total 12 weeks unpaid?
total 6 weeks paid?
require a minimum of 50 employees on staff?
require a 7 day waiting period?
need to be included in your employee handbook and posted in a public place in the office?
If you do not know all of the answers to these questions, you better find out quick or make sure you have a designated person in your human resources department that knows the ins and outs of these acts. This article will give you a quick overview and provide you with a list of what you need to know about how your company will handle FLI requests.

For the past six months, your company has been collecting payments from employees to meet the requirements of the NJ Family Leave program. Fast forward to two weeks ago, on July 1, the first eligible employees were able to elect to use FLI in New Jersey. FLI gives employees “a monetary benefit (not a leave entitlement), which protects the covered individual against wage loss suffered because of the need of the covered individual to participate in providing care for a family member who has a serious health condition or to bond with a newborn or newly adopted child.”

FLI allows employees–with a minimum of 20 base weeks of earnings of $143 or who have earned $7,200 over 52 with current employer–to take up to six weeks of paid leave for qualified care giving. The time can be taken together or intermittently. This benefit is tied to the state you work in, not the state you live in, so NJ employees who live outside of the state are eligible.

Qualified care giving includes two types, a serious health condition and bonding. A serious health condition is an illness, injury or physical or mental condition which requires inpatient care, continuing medical treatment or continuing supervision by caregiver–15 days notice is needed unless it is an emergency or unforeseen event. Bonding develops a psychological and emotional attachment between a child and his or her primary caregiver(s)–30 days notice is needed.

Applicants apply directly with the state, with an accompanying form from the employer. Similar to FMLA and NJFLA, full documentation and official medical certifications are needed to apply for FLI. Simply signing up for FLI, does not ensure that employee returns to the same or similar position with pay and benefits, so employers who qualify for FMLA (i.e., 50 employees or more) should present that information at the same time. Failure to do so could make your company liable if you chose to terminate the employee.

Steps to ensure your company is ready for the first FLI request:
Choose if your company will be using a state or private plan to fulfill the FLI.
Determine if employees need to use some or all of their paid-time off (i.e., vacation, sick, personal) prior to using FLI.
Decide if your company will subtract PTO time from their six weeks or allow them to take the full six weeks of FLI as additional time.
Educate supervisors on how the program works in case the employees who they are responsible for has questions; and so they have a plan for whether they will be seeking temporary help for that time.
UPDATE YOUR HANDBOOK to reflect the new policies and procedures for FLI and any other changes you have made.
Make sure you have forms on hand to present to qualified employees. Assign someone in your HR department to the record keeping to ensure your employees have the time in the bank for these programs. Reports of FLI are due to the state January 30, 2010 for July 1-December 31, 2009.
When determining your policies for FLI, remember to consider the economic realities of what your company can commit to your employees. Even though this may not be a hard cost to your company, you want to make sure you plan for consistent productivity.

Not in New Jersey? Your state may be the next one to accept this plan. Pennsylvania and New York are already investigating whether their states want to have similar plans.

If you are looking for a specialist in employee benefits, including FMLA, NJFLA and FLI, contact The Rosen Group. Our highly qualified candidates can make sure your program is compliant with the state’s standards and ensure your process flows smoothly. They’ll even tell you the answers to the questions above.

For more information on:
FMLA, visit www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla.
NJFLA, visit www.nj.gov/oag/dcr/law.html#FLA.
FLI, visit lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/fli/fliindex.html.
© 2009, The Rosen Group Newsletter. Reprinted with permission by The Rosen Group, specializing in Human Resources Solutions and HR Staffing.