Friends, Arkansans, Louisianans, and Texans, lend me your ears – err, eyes:
It’s been quite a while since I’ve had an opportunity to update everyone on what’s going on at Lone Star Communications regarding employee development and company culture, so you may want to pour a cup of hot chocolate, grab your favorite Snuggie, and get comfortable because there’s a lot!
Intro to Career Ladders 101
In January 2021, the company COOs and myself started an ambitious quest to design a program that increases the skillset and knowledgebase of every install tech in the company. This wasn’t a random strategic pursuit on leadership’s behalf; it was because of your feedback through Emplify in 2020. Through the surveys, it became very evident that our employees yearned for opportunities to grow with our company and have more control over their income potential.
Hold up! Did he say, “income potential”?
I did, and that’s right. As an employee goes through the newly established LSC Career Ladder program, they receive financial compensation that matches the degree of difficulty and importance to their position and the future of Lone Star Communications.
But wait… you said technicians! I’m a healthcare programmer! What about me?
Hold on, hold on. Put the pitchforks down and douse the torches. I think the following chart will be of interest to a lot of employees at Lone Star Communications. If you don’t see your department, don’t fret. I promise I haven’t forgotten about you.
Welcome to the LSC Leadership Academy
Okay. I must provide a full disclaimer here. I have a Master’s in Educational Leadership and although my degree focused on the specifics of leadership on a K-12 campus, I spent a large portion of time studying the fundamentals and philosophies of authentic leadership.
Y’all. Listen close. This. is. my. passion. I am very excited about this.
From day one of my tenure at Lone Star Communications, I wanted to construct a leadership training program that not only molds and reinforces LSC’s local and executive leadership with best practices but also prepares the next generation of Lone Star leadership through thoughtful and purposeful training opportunities that fit LSC’s core values and 1-3-5-10 year business goals.
Unfortunately, as of right now, I do not have an official target for company-wide implementation yet, but my Q4 2021 goal is to have the framework in place by the end of this year. At that point, I’ll start working with local and executive leadership to ensure successful implementation, buy-in, and identify the perfect roll-out opportunity in 2022. Stay tuned. Same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!
LSC Rising Star Culture Club Committee
In May of 2021, we established the LSC Rising Star Culture Committee. The creation of the committee was also in response to Emplify engagement scores, trends, and feedback.
See? I told you that we’re listening!
The purpose of the committee is for all four regions (LSCI, LSCH, LSAR, and LSCT) to share employee intelligence, best practices, and provide a human voice to anonymous survey data while equipping every member of the committee with the information to be company culture “evangelists” at each of the main branches. On a talent management front, this allows me to pivot and address challenges instead of waiting every three to four months for new employee engagement survey data.
The committee is comprised of a cross-functional team of eight members plus me. There are two representatives from each region from all facets of the company: technicians, superintendents, administration, accounting, warehouse, sales, leadership, non-leadership, etc.
LSC is #Blessed!
In Q3, I inherited a new strategic push initiated by LSCH’s very own, Marquis Woodward. The purpose of the LSC Social Media Committee is to establish an internet footprint appropriate for a quickly growing and highly successful tech company. The benefit of this push is multi-faceted:
1. Sales. We know that our internet presence will not drive sales, but it will allow potential customers to vet our company and history while allowing LSC to showcase case studies and connect future customers with our current healthcare, education, and commercial partners in life safety and threat management.
2. Recruiting. I have facilitated many interviews over the past couple of years and identified a startling trend. Unless a candidate has a personal connection to the company, not many people know who we are and what we do. In the world of recruiting and talent acquisition, this is a major challenge in attracting the top talent in our country.
3. Employees. We want to celebrate you. We are extremely proud of the talent at LSC, but we do not have appropriate avenues to celebrate your successes and growth to the public other than word-of-mouth. By developing and aligning our social media presence, we can showcase our employees and prove to our partners and competitors that we have the best talent in our industry and communities.
I encourage every single employee to interact with our accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to help us increase our internet footprint and to show off that you’re a part of the Lone Star family.
Rising Star Hiring Process & Philosophy
I know there are some questions about new hires, lateral and vertical employee moves, and the philosophy that drives personnel decisions. A couple of years ago, Lone Star Communications adopted the “A Player” or Topgrading philosophy. This philosophy is focused on identifying internal and external candidates that exude our core values while demonstrating a technical skillset that is beneficial to the role that is being filled, but what does that look like?
External Hires: As we identify potential candidates, we (recruiting, hiring managers, and myself) are in constant conversation and utilizing customized tools to discern whether an individual is a true “Rising Star” (culture + performance) or not. Unfortunately, this process is not an exact science and mistakes do happen. The good news there is a system of checks and balances to ensure all available data including co-worker feedback is utilized in the decision-making process. In the event of a hire, the scorecard is utilized to ensure that all new employees are measured by expectations set by the hiring manager. This allows the organization to make tough personnel decisions quickly based on quantitative performance data and qualitative culture fit feedback.
Internal Moves: At Lone Star Communications, we have the best talent in our industry. Period. This is evident in our success over the past 30 years. Like external hires, we utilize our Rising Star resources and tools, but with one difference: we already know the candidate. It’s a wonderful opportunity for management and employees, but it does have its challenges and sometimes it’s much more complicated than just hiring an external candidate. When an employee applies for a position or requests an interview, the hiring manager must evaluate past and current performance, transferable skillsets, and departmental and company needs. There must also be coordination and conversations between the employee’s current supervisor and hiring manager. If the employee’s current department can’t afford to lose a Rising Star employee, it will never be a firm “no”, but it may be a “not yet.” As a company, we cannot “rob Peter to pay Paul.” Our employees are valuable, so we must be much more intentional in these decisions.
This intentionality is the reason all employees should take advantage of the educational and training resources provided by the company. If you have a professional goal, don’t wait until there is an opening. Let me know. If you’re missing a certain skillset required by your dream position, I can help you identify proper training and growth opportunities. I also engage leaders within your department or the department you’d like to move to, so they’re aware and we can put into place transition plans for when the time comes.
-Submitted by Trey Meador, Manager of Talent Development