Talmetrix is on a mission to recognize companies and leaders like Gibson below, that achieve high performance through engaged cultures. We’re spotlighting companies where employees are proud to work and are doing great things, but their stories might not make headlines. Great cultures and employee engagement aren’t built on crazy perks, but in the way people work, the type of people hired and how people are aligned behind a common mission. These are the stories of engaged cultures.
This week we’re highlighting Shelly Smith, Director of Human Resources at Gibson. Her responsibilities include performance planning, coaching, cultural initiatives, wellness programming, strategic planning, recruiting, and retention.
Prior to joining Gibson in 2003, Shelly was the firm wide search manager at Crowe Horwath where she refined her skills in pairing people with positions, recruiting, networking, and relationship building. As the former Human Resources Manager for The Summit Group she developed essential expertise in discretion, business ethics, employee trust, strategy, and organizational management. This experience has propelled Shelly to become a leading role that helps maintain high levels of employee engagement, and earn Gibson the “Best Places to Work in Indiana” award.
Describe your workplace. When you tell people about your life at work, what do you say?
Our offices are vibrant and conducive to collaboration. You see and hear a lot of back and forth between teams. Our team genuinely likes and respects each other and it shows in their interactions. We enjoy having our clients in the office and often give tours to ensure they are meeting all of their team. We often hold employee events in the offices such as carry-ins, lunch and learns, and even a tailgate complete with a chili cook-off. We work hard, but we like to have fun!
What’s the best thing about your culture?
We respect each other and our clients. We’re honored our clients put so much faith in us as their trusted advisors and we like to go the extra mile to earn that faith. We live our core values such as integrity, clients come first, foster collaboration, and we work harder. We’re committed to fulfilling our mission-helping clients protect what matters most. We’re proud of our culture here at Gibson and all own a part of keeping it so positive.
What are some of the ways you build engagement?
We are all owners through our ESOP so Gibson belongs to all employees. The level of engagement from being an owner is incredibly high. This also means we have transparency in our business operations and we’re all working towards the same goals.
We also have a social component to our culture that helps with engagement. They plan activities such as a March Madness event, happy hours, summer parties and such. This gets people out of their daily team and interacting with others from the agency.
What do you think the employees are most proud of?
They are very proud to work for an organization that is so well thought of in our markets. We have a very good reputation with our clients and others in the community due to the work we do and also the commitment we’ve made to civic involvement. We partner with the Boys and Girls Club and many other non-profits to make sure we’re doing our part. We’ve also been named a Best Places to Work in Indiana for the past 4 years. Externally, people recognize we are an employer of choice so our team takes great pride in that distinction.
What impact does the culture/engagement have on the business?
People look forward to getting into work and handling anything our clients need. This attitude indirectly helps the bottom line of the agency as we keep our clients and continue to be a partner with them.
What work have you done to create your engaged culture?
We hold regular team and all agency meetings. We share information not normally shared with all employees. Our team feels like a part of our business. We’re not just someone they work for. We have a lot of benefits and perks to help our people balance their work lives and their home lives without worry. Open, regular feedback and communication are key.
What advice do you have for others trying to build an engaged and productive workforce?
It’s not easy to do and it starts with every new person you bring on board. There’s a fine line between keeping employees engaged, happy and productive and keeping your business running and profitable. Listen to your staff and implement to some degree what is important to them. It will be different for every company.
Is there anything you still want to accomplish?
Always. We don’t ever want to become stagnant. We can always improve on what we are doing and continue to work hard at being the best.
What’s your favorite day of the week? Why?
Friday! We work hard all week and look forward to our casual dress Fridays. We also take the time to recharge and spend time with our families and doing activities we enjoy. We believe so strongly in spending time with family, we close at 3pm on Fridays all summer long. Those are everyone’s favorite days!
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