Enabling TechnologyEngaged Workforce

Editor’s Note: Culture Counts

By Debbie Bolla, Editor-in-Chief

This past May, HRO Today honored Vice President and CHRO Jenn Mann with our 2015 Sustainable Workforce of the Year Award through our CHRO of the Year Awards program. Mann and her team oversee SAS’ global workforce of 14,000 employees. For this month’s cover story, we get exclusive insight from Mann on how HR approaches strategic workforce initiatives that help make SAS an employer of choice—one with a coveted spot on FORTUNE 100’s Best Companies to Work For® list.

At the HRO Today Forum, Mann joined an esteemed panel of CHRO colleagues to discuss the most pressing issues facing HR today. With 78 percent of leaders naming culture and engagement a concern, according to Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends survey, these two topics were necessary to tackle. In fact, Mann said: “If you don’t address culture and engagement, you are not going to succeed at the other things.”

She shared five key elements that shape her approach to culture and engagement, inspired by Bersin’s building blocks for a Simply Irresistible organization.

  1. Meaningful work. Mann says that employees are empowered by having context in terms of what they produce for the organization and how it impacts the customer. She says, “At SAS, no matter what level or role you play, as an employee you will feel your work matters.” Plus a little freedom goes a long way: Employees, especially Millennials, are more committed to organizations that allow them to work in a way that suits their needs.
  2. Great management. Employees thrive from managers that provide coaching and feedback, and they want to be treated with respect by leadership. SAS is currently launching a manager assessment feedback form for employees to offer feedback on their leader’s performance.
  3. Work environment. SAS strives to offer a sense of inclusion and provide its employees flexibility in order to encourage a place where employees look forward to going to work.
  4. Trust in leadership. Mann says in order to build employee trust in leadership, workers want to see follow-through: Leaders need to execute on initiatives that they commit to. Not all decisions can be based on profit.
  5. Growth opportunities. In order to encourage retention, organizations need to offer options for succession. SAS recently developed an online career center that gives employees access to training, resources, and the opportunity to build a growth path.

Find out more in Innovative Thinking.

Tags: Enabling Technology, Engaged Workforce

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