Jan. 5, 2011
What Workplace Excellence Awards means to winners
San Diego SHRM’s signature event, the Workplace Excellence Awards, has recognized more than 92 “best of the best” companies and their Human Resources leaders in San Diego. Now in its 12th year, WEA honors excellence for those HR practices resulting in positive workplaces as nominated by employees, and positive company business results. I suspect the HR professionals so distinguished would agree with Vince Lombardi on winning: “Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing.”
You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.” Let’s applaud WEA winners for making a habit of doing HR things right, most, if not all of the time! They are setting standards of excellence for their staff members, their companies and others in the San Diego business community.
Because the application and judging process are intentionally rigorous, winning a WEA has significance. In their own words 2010 winners give us insight into the meaning the award has for them.
Larry Hofer, VP People Services, Cox Communications, 2010 Mega Company Marble Winner, focuses on culture and values: “To win the prestigious SRM Workplace Excellence Award in a down economy where we had to make difficult people decisions is a testament to our Cox culture. How we treat our employees will reflect on the company’s core values. The SHRM award serves as a reminder that if we stay true to who we are, even in the most challenging of times, our employees will continue to choose Cox as the place to work and excel.”
John Schierer, VP HR, Cobham Sensor Systems, 2010 Large Company Marble Winner, writes about the award’s validation of commitment to employee engagement. “Winning the Workplace Excellence Award is the outward validation that your organization makes a significant effort toward enriching the workplace experience for all employees, and maximizing the opportunity for engagement.
This provides the optimal environment to maximize the value all stakeholders have in the workplace – employees, customers and financial stakeholders alike. Engaging employees in a positive environment is why we come to work each day.”
Jeff Lindeman, Director, HR, SD County Regional Airport Authority, 2010 Mid-Size Company Marble Winner, emphasizes the milestone value the award has for his HR team’s commitment to continuous improvement. “Winning the 2000 SD SHRM Workplace Excellence Marble award marked a significant milestone in the Airport Authority’s journey toward being a world-class workplace. While our employee wellness program, Fitness Focus, has been in place since our CEO directed its creation in 2003, the human resources team has continually improved its offerings and the program’s impact. Today: we are 800 pounds lighter; we have reduced the risk of chronic disease(s) for 10% of our workforce, and we have saved over $1.2 million in insurance premiums. Being recognized within the human resources community is a significant element of validation that makes the impact of our activities even more meaningful to us as human resources professionals.”
Diane Sheehan, VP, HR Cadence, 2010 Small Company Marble winner stressed the application process value to her team. “The energy and impact at WEA has such an impact! WEA provided our employees another building block to understand our corporate focus on values what a great place Cadence is to work. WEA provided our HR team another occasion to reflect on the strong link between our strategic planning and success of critical corporate objectives. Just applying is a win in itself!”
Director of HR at Vericare, Molly Chase, the 2010 Grand Prize Winner, highlights the impact winning has on HR team morale, recruiting, and for her, personally.
“Similar to many other companies facing financial pressures, budget cuts and salary freezes, I’ve found it increasingly challenging to keep my HR team fully engaged and focused in their demanding roles. Winning this award has invigorated each member of this team, providing energy and enthusiasm necessary to execute the goals we must accomplish to support growth and vitality of the company. . . Winning was tangible proof that all of the blood, sweat and tears was worth it! We developed a campaign to publicize our great accomplishment. This year, November was our slowest recruiting month since I have been with the company and December has historically been our slowest month of the year. However, we have had a surge of candidates in the last two weeks (December 2010), which I attribute to publicizing the SD SHRM WEA award.
Winning this award was for me the culmination of several years of hard work. . . In a fast-paced environment, it is easy for senior leadership, me, the HR team and the company to take for granted all of the work that had been done. Prior to the award I have always felt a valued member of the leadership team; however, being 30 years junior to many of my peers, I feel this award has validated my contribution and worth to the company as a strong business leader and partner to the executives.”
The WEA gala event is the “Oscars of HR” every year, beautifully designed and executed. The networking and food are wonderful. More importantly, for companies receiving awards and accolades the HR practices in the spotlight have truly had an uncommon impact on the lives of employees, altering their lifestyles for the better and improving the quality of their work experiences. They have also generated cost savings and quantifiable business results. For a complete list of the 2010 winners go to www.sdshrm.org under Workplace Excellence Winners in the Events section. WEA is worth the effort involved in applying. SD SHRM encourages all HR leaders to work toward winning in 2011.
Judith L. Enns, Ph.D.