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Top CHROs Discuss Culture In A Digital World

Source | Forbes : By Liz Ryan

Steve Jobs once said, “Simple is harder than complex.” Human resources embodies that mantra where the complexities of behind the curtain data and analytics can yield the simplistic beauty of a great culture. To explore how top companies build winning cultures in a fast-changing digital world, on February 23, 2016 I spoke with these CHROs of industry leaders:

• Victoria Berger-Gross, CHRO, Tiffany & Co.

• Matthew Owenby, CHRO, Aflac

• Larry Pernosky, CHRO, Amedisys

Robert Reiss: What is the one data point you look to first?

Larry Pernosky: Engagement because as our engagement barometer moves up or down, so will the culture and attrition.

Victoria Berger-Gross: Employee turnover — because even though it’s a lagging not leading indicator, it’s an objective sign of what’s going on in satisfaction, engagement, and the strength of your employee value proposition against the external marketplace.
Matthew Owenby: We focus on engagement as a leading indicator of many potential issues, from which we gauge the level of trust employees have in leadership which is the foundation for creating the best employment experience possible.

Reiss: What’s the relationship between data and culture?

Berger-Gross: Over time you develop culture with qualitative hand-selection of people, close relationships, and understanding what values you can and can’t adapt in people once they’re hired. We use employee survey measurement, qualitative focus groups, and other data gathering to recognize our constraints and drive new offerings to encourage people to engage and grow with Tiffany.

Owenby: Data is particularly important from a hiring standpoint. We are careful to hire people who embody our strong, individualized culture. It’s not enough to have a technical competency, you’ve got to be a person that’s going to connect well with our culture. Data and analytics don’t build your culture– the culture is built on values. That’s what’s worked for us for over 60 years. From a value perspective, communication is key–regularly, immediately, and with transparency. Access to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter makes it easier to gauge what types of communicators you may hiring.

Pernosky: We sit on a plethora of data. In redefining our culture, we needed to redefine how we use our human capital data overlaying with business outcomes. You then view your business outcome differently, incorporating engagement data to form a strategy that truly motivates and inspires employees to grow personally and professionally. That ties back to the success of the company.

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