HR Case Study: How One Minnesota Business Manages Industry Changes

by Tiffany Kuehl

In my previous articles on 2016 HR Trends, I introduced several issues that are impacting our businesses and specifically a few that are prevalent in Minnesota. To follow that, let’s look at what local leaders are doing within their organizations to manage these trends.

I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with EDCO’s HR leader, Katherine Burghardt, regarding their strategic initiatives and how those plans will enable the company to successfully address analytics and employee engagement.

EDCO Products, Inc., based in Hopkins, Minnesota, manufactures residential steel roofs and siding. In business since 1946, EDCO is one of the oldest and longest-running steel companies in the U.S. They have a long history of providing quality products and today incorporate green initiatives and sustainability into how they operate.

With a rich history in Minnesota, they are a great example of an organization that has succeeded, despite many ups and downs in the U.S. economy. In addition to the ebbs and flows of business, they also experience the effect of HR industry trends within their operations. Like every successful company should, they have plans in place to manage them.

Analytics and Technology

Ms. Burghardt is responsible for all things human resources at EDCO (including payroll). She reports that the company employs about 150 full-time employees at its Hopkins campus and a small production facility in Indiana. During the summer months, this number increases by about 50% through temporary labor.

While EDCO employs under 200 people, the basic systems used to manage records and reporting don’t support the organization’s initiatives. They are now in the early stages of implementing an HCM (human capital management) that is separate from their ERP (enterprise resource planning) system.

The organization selected a cloud-based HCM with single-sign, which will allow operations leaders and the HR team to easily access information in a centralized system. Employees will also be able to access their own paystub information, pay history, benefits information, and learning and development progress. In addition to easier access to data, the new system will allow for the automation of many HR tasks.

With the company’s projected growth over the next 5 years, Ms. Burghardt predicts they will likely not have to increase the size of their HR team as a result of having a robust HCM and employee self-service.

Once the new system is up in running in January of 2017, the business will have access to current and accurate data that will support talent acquisition needs, succession planning, performance management, and employee development progress.

Employee Engagement

As well as being dedicated to accurate data, EDCO is laser-focused on employee engagement. Earlier in 2016, an employee engagement survey was conducted with the express intent of getting feedback directly from employees. Ms. Burghardt, along with the rest of the EDCO leadership team, is taking action to address many of the items raised by employees. Three key items on their list of focuses are benefits, succession planning, and professional development.

Ms. Burghardt and her team have since reviewed and revised the health and wellness offerings. They have switched health insurance providers to reduce premium expenses and now offer two plans: a consumer-driven, high-deductible health plan and a traditional PPO plan so employees can choose the plan that best suits their needs.

Additionally, the company is shifting costs to balance out employee contributions. They’re also in the process of enhancing the organization’s paid time off and leave policies to ensure they provide a family friendly, market-competitive benefits package.

Along with ensuring employees have access to affordable health and wellness benefits, EDCO pushes employees to develop themselves and provides resources to support continued education. Additionally, to increase knowledge of the company, and to support succession planning and development, employees are encouraged to cross-train in multiple roles and participate in cross-departmental task force groups.

EDCO also conducts employee assessments to identify areas for development. They give employees access to learning and development programs through educational courses online and in the classroom – both on and offsite. The leadership team is also coordinating an extensive leadership training program for the entire management team and high-potential individuals within the company to build their future bench.

As EDCO continues striving to achieve, Ms. Burghardt states, “Ultimately, the actions we are taking will positively impact employee relations and our corporate culture. To put it simply, we are striving to be better tomorrow than we are today.”

What is your organization doing to keep up with recent HR industry changes?

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