Bringing about culture change can be a challenge for any organization. Where do you begin? How can you organically build a culture of appreciation, even with a large population of offline workers who don’t have access to computers?
We recently spoke to Dave Bond, director of talent management and total rewards at the Minto Group, to discuss how the home building and property management company modernized its approach to social recognition and saw immediate results in terms of employee reach. Bond also discussed how he’s leveraging employee recognition analytics for managers and executive leadership, and why he’s excited about the Workhuman Live movement.
Read the full interview below.
Can you share a bit about your background and your role at Minto Group?
I am the director of talent management and total rewards, which involves leading all corporate programs related to performance management, total rewards (base salary, short-term incentive programs, long-term incentives, benefits, pension plan), our annual employee engagement survey (and subsequent reporting), and our corporate employee recognition program (BRAVO!). My group is also responsible for our HRIS and producing HR analytics. Prior to joining Minto, I held similar roles in a range of industries, including public safety, high tech/software development, and renewal power generation. I spent the first 10 years of my career in accounting/finance roles and transitioned to HR about 14 years ago.
How would you describe Minto Group’s culture and employee base? Do you have many offline workers?
Minto was founded more than 60 years ago in Ottawa and remains a family-owned company, although operations have expanded to Ontario, Alberta, and Florida. We have two main lines of business: home building and property management (commercial and residential properties). About 25% of employees work on a job site with limited access to computers/smart phones.
The culture is typified by a “get it done” attitude. Traditionally, employees/management have not been very interested in initiatives which don’t directly relate to the task at hand. However, in recent years, senior management has recognized that employees (current and prospective) are looking for different aspects from their employer, like career development opportunities, genuine appreciation/recognition, the ability to contribute to decisions/company direction, and a focus on wellness/healthy work environment. We are in a state of transition from a traditional corporate culture to a more modern culture.
What was recognition like at Minto Group before working with Workhuman?
Recognition at Minto was spotty. There were pockets of the company that did a really good job recognizing colleagues and these groups saw the value of acknowledging great contributions and behavior. However, there were some areas of the company that did very little to embrace recognition. There was a sentiment that people should just be happy to have their jobs. People wondered why they should recognize someone for doing their job. We are now making progress in outlining the importance and value of genuine recognition and appreciation.
Why did you choose to partner with Workhuman?
Once we met the folks at Workhuman and saw how the platform worked, it was a quick decision. The enthusiasm and genuine authenticity of the sales folks (and, subsequently, the implementation and client support folks) were top shelf. We felt an instant connection to the people and to the “spirit” of Workhuman. It was all very positive and genuine.
You launched your recognition program this past December. Are there any early results from the program that you can share related to culture, reach, or engagement?
Our reach has been quite good. As of the end of February (three months post launch), we had about 60% of eligible employees receive at least one recognition award. Our employee reach goal for the first year is between 60 and 80%, and we are aiming for the high end of that range. One of our early observations is that there has been a great deal of pent-up desire to show appreciation or to recognize colleagues for their great contributions and behaviors. Our initial launch has been very encouraging. Now our focus is sustaining and increasing recognition throughout the entire company.
How are you leveraging backend recognition data and analytics?
We leverage the data and analytics extensively. We are developing a regular (monthly and quarterly) reporting dashboard for front-line managers and executive leadership. The dashboard is under development as the business starts to better understand what data is available and what story the data tells us.
How have employees responded to the new program?
Largely, employees have enthusiastically embraced the program. I read the company awards feed every day and my favorite moments are from those people and teams that I don’t know very well, if at all. I love reading about great contributions/behaviors throughout the company that are removed my day-to-day job. It makes me feel connected to parts of the company I wouldn’t normally interact with.
You are a proud Workhuman Live alumnus! Why should HR leaders attend the conference? What value did it provide you personally?
Simply, Workhuman Live is the best conference I have ever attended over my 20+ year career! I love the genuine authenticity of everyone at Workhuman related to the importance of recognition and appreciation. You believe your stuff! Also, you do a great job of highlighting the science and empirical research behind the importance of appreciation/recognition. This is a topic where it’s easy to focus on the emotional/subjective aspects. It’s also critical to highlight why appreciation/recognition is important, not just to the bottom line, but also from a human-behavior perspective. A formal recognition program is a critical component of a modern workplace. Workhuman Live demonstrated that to me.
Bringing Recognition to Real Estate: @themintogroup story #workhuman
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