Happy employees are productive employees, which is why The Boar’s Head (the Resort), a beautiful resort found tucked away in Charlottesville, Virginia set out to have a “best in class” Human Resources practice. In 2013, the University of Virginia Foundation recommended that the leadership team at the Resort speak to Titan Group (Titan) to learn more about what made their employees happy and engaged. Specifically, the leaders were concerned about pay and other HR issues. To help them address these issues, Titan was hired to conduct a compensation study and an “HR Checkup.” I spoke with Claire Gruenfelder, HR Director of the Resort, to learn more about their initiative and how they were able to show their employees more “love.”
At the beginning of our conversation, I asked Claire about her expectations and reasons for engaging an outside consulting group, to which she replied, “We have a very complex and dynamic compensation structure. Some people receive tips or commissions and we want to establish the proper framework for our industry. We needed help understanding where to start and how to accomplish specific objectives related to an appropriate compensation structure. Titan worked very closely; fully supported us with data and helped us create a communication plan. In addition, the HR Checkup helped give us a vision for what our department would look like in the future, for both our current and future staff.” Claire continued to explain that as a result of the project they put in place a more appropriate compensation structure and framework, something they were completely lacking prior to the engagement. The Check up helped the HR team develop a road map, which in return helped provide managers with guidance throughout the hiring process and other HR Processes. One of the recommendations Titan provided was to hire a Recruitment Manager. There was a big gap between the available time and skills of the hiring managers and being able to fill open positions. Once they hired a recruiting manager, it made huge impact on the whole management team, by streamlining the process and enabling them to make better hires.
With such great results I was curious to see what changes were evident a year after implementation. Claire elaborated, “The way we talk to each other has changed a lot. Compensation is such a personal thing to talk about and prior to the engagement with Titan, we did not know how to handle such conversations. However, now we can properly address the situation. As a result of the HR Checkup, we have an additional person on the team, streamlined the hiring process and reduced our recruitment turnover. This has relieved a lot of stress throughout the Resort.” Another issue that was known, but really brought to light during the HR Checkup was the employee break room. Take a peak at the before and after pictures below. The renovation really gave employees a comfortable place to take a break, have lunch/dinner and stay informed about events happening around the Resort. HR also spends more time now talking to employees; inquiring what it is they want from working at the Resort. Claire added that “(The process) has made the conversation more manageable.”
Claire said she would recommend a similar study to any company that is looking for help with their framework; whether the framework is outdated or simply not in place. Or, if a company is looking to create a best in class experience, from the time an employee walks in the door, to the time they walk out. In addition Claire told me, “The whole experience with Titan really opened our eyes to things we were not doing well and things we were doing well, but that could be improved. It was difficult for a company to come in and tell us what we were doing right and doing wrong, but it made a huge difference in the end.”
Showing your employees love comes in all shapes and sizes as seen at The Resort. From renovating the break room, hiring additional resources to updating pay structures are some examples that can make a tremendous impact on your organization. Titan has been pleased to work with such an enthusiastic HR practitioner as Claire and recommend them as a terrific venue for holding your team building offsite or board retreats. Oh, and of course we cannot wait for another visit!