During the month of August, we took a close look at our people strategy as we launched our DHG Voice team member survey. Through our survey, we are able to gather valuable feedback from our people to identify specific strengths and opportunities for improvement. Our goal is to build a high trust culture and a great place to work for all of our people. Effin Logue*, our Chief People Officer, and I recently discussed via a video some of the outstanding accomplishments that were the result of feedback from our surveys. Click here to view a short video with highlights of our accomplishments and read below for excerpts from our conversation:
Celebrating DHG’s Accomplishments
MS: As I look back, it's hard to believe it’s only been three years since we rolled out our Life Beyond Numbers strategy. Our Life Beyond Numbers strategy refers to our focus on careers, our people and flexibility. It’s really been fun to watch how that has all happened, and Effin, I think you would agree with me that our team member input has had a major role in taking us to where we are today.
EL: Yes, that’s correct. We do a tremendous amount of work with the DHG Voice survey. We have sent it out across the firm for six years. The survey provides us with incredible feedback from our employees about the things that are most important to them. It is not just the survey and the results from a numeric perspective that make a difference in what we do but the comments and input from our people. We read every comment each year and categorize them; the comments from our employees and our partners really help to inform us about the things that are most important - about where they want us to take our people strategy every single year.
MS: We aggregate these comments, look for trends and we even talk to people directly to follow up. What are some of the highlights from our people that you would share with us that came right out of our DHG Voice survey?
EL: Yes, this comes out of the questions that we ask, the responses and also the comments. I would start with our focus two years ago on compensation transparency and being really the only firm of our type that does anything anywhere near this comprehensive in regard to compensation transparency - we are very excited about that. It was a bold step for DHG to initiate this effort. It took a lot of trust from our leadership, our partners and our employees to make compensation transparency happen, but I think that is an extraordinary accomplishment. We would not have considered it if we had not received the comments about how people did not understand how they were paid – these comments were directly from the DHG Voice survey results.
RAVE (Recognition Awards for Valued Employees) has been another extraordinary accomplishment of ours. Again, employees simply saying, “We want to be recognized, we want frequency to be there, and we want it made public if possible.”
MS: How have we seen the use of RAVE across DHG?
EL: RAVE has been extraordinary. We had 80% enrollment within our first month of enrollment, and we are continually seeing strong adoption of the program. When we look at the results from our partners and leaders, how much they give feedback in RAVE, we have seen an uptick every single year not just from the partners but also from our managers and our employees - the extraordinary usage of RAVE. It is incredible and again, a direct result of feedback from the surveys.
MS: What has been one of our more popular changes in the last year?
EL: I think there are two, Flex Dress clearly is very popular. This was another area where there was some trepidation going in, such as, “How is this going to work, are people going to end up dressing really sloppily.” We haven’t seen any of that. It’s just been a tremendously successful program. It helps us greatly in recruiting new talent as well. Our current employees are enjoying it, but also our new hires are coming in and enjoying it.
MS: That’s great, I’ve had clients even comment on it and some people were worried about what clients would think - I have only heard positive comments. I think it’s great that we have the ability to flex into business attire if we have a client meeting but also flex down if it’s a day when we are working with colleagues in the office.
EL: Well, that’s the important part. Just making sure you dress for your day but also planning for the unexpected. Flex Dress has been fantastic.
Also, our DHG IMPACT committees are making an impact on a local level from having more dialogue with our employees, a better understanding of inclusion and diversity, more improvement in connecting with our community, with philanthropy – all of this has resulted from DHG IMPACT. Also, Financial Fitness is a part of DHG IMPACT, and we have had some really great success in the last year connecting with our Wealth Advisor team.
MS: So important. There is health and wellness but there is also the financial fitness which is so important to a long term healthy lifestyle. Speaking of health, which is an area where I have personally benefited and am a huge fan of, is Energy For Life.
EL: Well, you and I both have seen the impact physically, which has been tremendous. We’ve seen through Energy For Life that we want our people to be able to focus on their whole person, and that’s when we found the Corporate Athlete program that really focuses on the whole individual being his or her best self for the people who matter most.
MS: And it's not just physical. It’s physical, mental, emotional, spiritual; it’s everything.
EL: Yes, and I’ve had more people comment on the improved relationships they’ve had with spouses or parents or children as a result of Energy For Life than I’ve had anyone talk about the physical changes that they’ve seen happen as a result of it. So that emotional connection and the mental clarity - people saying, “Wow, multitasking we remember is bad.” and remembering to move more in meetings. We’re just completely thrilled with that program.
MS: Through all of these accomplishments together, our goal is to be a great place to work and that really is at the heart of where we are going with our survey. It is why we have a people strategy, and it is why we take action on these things. I know you have some things you are working on. What are some things we can all expect as we look ahead?
EL: Sure, we are looking at year two of the Performance Enrichment Program - PEP - and we are focusing on continued work on a coaching culture. What we’ll probably be seeing over the next 12 months is a real enhancement and focus on our coaching culture and mixing that in with client experience. The same competencies are what we can do to enhance the client experience - enhanced coaching.
If we can just marry those together, it is a great way to be better with client experience and be better at coaching simultaneously. So that is coming in the next 12 months. I am also excited that we are going to be rolling out two-way communication. We heard loud and clear from last year’s survey that there is a little bit of a disjointed communication strategy. It is clearly one way and, we are not doing a great job of connecting to the “why," connecting back to our mission and our strategies.
With two-way communication, everyone will have a primary and secondary communicator who is responsible for the care of communications with each and every DHG employee. We are going to be doing a lot more work to assist our communicators and connecting the “why” - why we’re making any change, how to connect with our strategy, what’s in it for our people, how does this make a difference for DHG and for our employees. We are very excited about this.
MS: That’s great. I am excited too and with change, we know that communication is such an important part, not to mention the impact on our people. That is obviously first and foremost but then also the impact on what we are trying to do going forward as a firm. I am excited and looking forward to watching that happen.
EL: Yes, the last thing we are going to be rolling out in August is a Financial Fitness tool. We are very excited about that as well because as we mentioned, we talked about Energy For Life and having energy for the people who matter most, but it is also having energy for the things that matter most for you. Worrying about your finances sure can suck energy out of you.
This program will really help our employees no matter what type of financial situation we are in, whether buying a car, looking at a first house, looking at a mortgage, planning for retirement or managing student loans. The app and the Certified Financial Planners behind it will really help our people understand and better manage their finances, which will clearly help relationships and their energy as well,
MS: That’s awesome, Effin, thank you for all that you are doing. It’s important to me and to our partners that we are a great place to work, and you’ve really helped push the needle forward.
EL: It's all due to the voice of the people. We have taped some video clips of our team members’ reflections on our people strategy. Take a look here.
* Effin Logue served as Chief People Officer from 2014 - 2021 and is now a proud DHG Alumni member.