How did a San Diego company, who offers an Employer of Record payrolling service, win the San Diego Business Journal’s Best Places to Work Award 9 times in a row?
I wanted to know more, so I spoke to Sean Ring to get some answers. He is the Business Development Manager for Innovative Employee Solutions and was recognized as a top millennial in the staffing industry by Staffing Industry Review Magazine in 2016. He says, quite simply, the answer is empowered employees, trust, and transparency.
For Sean, culture is everything, and he got his VP of HR, Tania Fiero, to help me (and you) understand what an award-winning culture looks like. She was kind enough to reveal some of the IES magic.
How did you create such an amazing culture in a niche business that hardly anyone knows exists?
“The IES culture is not created by HR, but rather it grew organically from our employees who feel empowered to add to the culture in any way that they like. HR’s role is to protect the culture, not create it. Our leadership team has a huge role in helping the employees feel empowered to create a culture that they truly love, not one that was designed for them.”
What are some of the key drivers or things that you do to ensure that employees feel this way?
“We have an unprecedented amount of trust. People are generally accepting of one another as human beings and we are 100% transparent with our employees about all aspects of the business. We actively share and talk about our financial standing (good or bad) and forward-looking strategies, and offer our employees direct access to the leadership team. Once trust has been established, empowerment follows and our employees take a lot of pride in the ownership and values of what we have all built together.”
What are some of the unique or progressive things that IES is doing from a culture standpoint?
“We completely redesigned our performance management system. All employees have monthly 1 to 1 conversations with their managers and once per year build and Individual Development Plan. This way there are no surprises about goals, objectives, where they stand and where they are headed. We truly want to design a career in partnership with our employees, that asks them where they want to grow, and then we act upon our duty to make the right investments in them to help to get them there.
Additionally, collaboration is rampant – We have E.D.I.T. (Employee Driven Innovation Teams) that are made up of cross-functional employees who work on big picture, and sometimes abstract strategies for the company and present their work to the Leadership Team. This promotes interdepartmental connections with our employees and also allows them opportunities for growth and development working in areas that may not relate to their job role.”
What happens when someone engages in behavior that is outside of your culture (e.g., bullying, not being a team player, not producing, etc)?
These cases are extremely rare in my tenure at IES, however, we have always maintained a proactive approach to employee relations. Training and development is something that we take very seriously and continuously seek to level up our managers through a variety of in-house and external trainings each year. All managers are trained to handle a variety of scenarios like bullying, that fall outside the scope of what is acceptable in our culture. We also encourage collaboration when seeking to address and/or handle difficult employee relations scenarios. There truly are no cookie cutter instances when it comes to bullying so we train our team to complete full due diligence and investigations before taking any action.
Off topic, I’ve got a webinar coming up on March 3rd on the topic of workplace violence versus workplace bullying – I think you might find it fascinating. Claim your spot before there aren’t any left!