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Engaging employees at all our locations creates a win-win situation for Southwire: employees feel connection to and meaning in their work, which drives our financial bottom line through increased productivity and initiative. For Southwire to retain employees and develop leaders to continue our prominent role in the market, we must leverage technology, give employees experiences they would not receive elsewhere and help employees connect to our culture.

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ONE Southwire means we will act as a unified company by sharing our values, culture, commitment and processes. As we continue our ONE Southwire journey, we will focus on our strategic initiative to Build Organizational Capability. We will do this by strengthening the organization for growth, investing in our talent and engaging with our employees.

Southwire’s approach to employee engagement intertwines with talent development. By offering unique professional development opportunities, employees enhance their skills, increase their comfort taking risks and heighten levels of engagement.

Performance Management

As Baby Boomers leave the workforce, both Generation X and Millennials will need to take leadership positions—Millennials at a younger age than previous generations of leaders. In the past, leaders spent time learning on the job; in the future, employees will need to learn more quickly before taking leadership roles.

The Coaching Guide is a tool that acts as a catalyst to the performance management process by helping employees better understand their personal strengths and gaps through a competency model. The process focuses on leadership skills and attributes unique to Southwire’s culture—and articulates the specific implications these leadership traits have for fostering our culture and driving high performance.

We also developed a performance guide for managers that illuminates how certain behaviors, competencies and creating a “line of sight” for employees to connect to Southwire’s vision and strategy contribute to our company’s success. As part of the rollout in 2017, Southwire completed training across the organization for all executive, senior leadership, directors and site leader career bands who participated in performance management. We are rolling out performance management to employees in the manager career band in 2018, followed by technical and individual contributors and supervisors in 2019. (See disclosure 404-3 below.) Our updated performance management model includes tracking objectives and performance coaching conversations in SuccessFactors, an application that “turns purpose into performance by connecting people to company purpose.”

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Employees Participating in Performance Management 2016 2017 2018 Target 2019 Target
By Employee Category Executives 100% 100% 100% 100%
Senior Leaders 100% 100% 100% 100%
Site Leaders/ Directors 100% 100% 100% 100%
Managers 0% 0% 100% 100%
Individual/Technical Contributors and Supervisors 0% 0% 0% 100%
ONE Southwire means we will act as a unified company by sharing our values, culture, commitment and processes. As we continue our ONE Southwire journey, we will focus on our strategic initiative to Build Organizational Capability. We will do this by strengthening the organization for growth, investing in our talent and engaging with our employees.

Leadership Assessments & Development

In 2017, we completed leadership assessments that included personalized growth plans for the executive leadership team. Reaching beyond our executive team, the Southwire Leadership Academy develops leadership traits and enhances succession management planning through a competency-based approach. Southwire aspires to graduate 98 senior leaders by the end of Q2 2019. To date, the program has 73 graduates employed at Southwire.

To assess and build the emotional intelligence of Southwire’s future leaders, our Leadership Academy includes RocheMartin’s Emotional Capital Assessment. To build these key competencies, the week-long academy includes group exercises to increase participants’ awareness and acceptance. After the event, Southwire provides one-on-one coaching to participants to help them learn their emotional intelligence strengths and opportunities for development as they grow in their leadership competencies.

Taking place approximately six months after the week-long Southwire Leadership Academy, the Alumni Experience is designed to immerse Southwire’s future leaders in a “Day in the Life of the CEO,” where attendees gain an understanding of what it means to lead an organization with the size and complexity of Southwire. The program emphasizes Southwire’s distinguishing characteristics as an organization: driving for results, creating a caring culture and investing in the communities in which it operates. The Alumni Experience encapsulates building these traits as fundamental to the success of the organization’s leadership.

Leadership Development: People Managers & Front-Line Leaders

In 2018, Southwire is launching two fundamental leadership development programs to support our initiative of Building Organizational Capability. People Manager and Front-Line Leadership Training are key components to our human capital strategy. Over the next two years, both people managers and front-line leaders will be trained and expected to master the competencies that have been identified as essential for those roles moving forward.

Employee Category Number of Employees Companywide Training Length
Front-line Leaders 370 One seven-hour session
People Managers 260 Two 6 ½-hour sessions

Both groups are scheduled to complete classes by the end of October 2018. As we continue to grow, so does our commitment to developing our talent.

Self-Directed Learning: Degreed

Southwire offers a series of professional skills development courses through our web-based learning management system (LMS), which enables us to better track, trend and analyze utilization. Degreed is Southwire’s self-driven learning platform that allows employees to access learning content through a seamless interface and enriched employee experience. Degreed is the successor to iAm University and is now Southwire’s one-stop shop for learning—anywhere, anytime. Through Degreed, all Southwire employees will have the opportunity to:

  • Complete assigned internal and external content/courses;
  • Leverage over 3.5 million high-quality, low-cost/no-cost learning assessments;
  • Create individual development plans and set goals; and
  • Access metrics/analytics to track learning, including academic, professional and informal.
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Employee Engagement

To identify areas of strength and opportunities to improve engagement, Southwire partnered with a third party to conduct an employee engagement survey every 18 months prior to 2017 and conducted “pulse checks” at six-month intervals between surveys. We provided this anonymous, online survey to all full-time Southwire employees.

Based on the survey results, the company’s leaders created goals and plans to sustain success in areas of high achievement and to develop stronger engagement in those categories identified for improvement. In response to the 2016 survey, we focused on key areas of technology, process improvements and information sharing to help translate our high engagement to better business results during 2017.

Southwire’s goal was an employee engagement score of 75 percent favorable or higher, which indicates high employee engagement according to our survey creator. We also carefully monitored the number of voluntary survey responses we receive to offer insight into the robustness of our engagement. Our target participation rate was 90 percent. See below for our scores.





















December 2014 Engagement SurveyJune 2015 Pulse CheckDecember 2015 Pulse Check2016 Engagement SurveyMarch 2017 Pulse Check
Participation Rate
Engagement Score

Our Pulse Checks revealed a pattern in employee feedback, indicating that six months was not enough time for implemented changes to take effect. We therefore started the process of revamping our approach to Pulse Checks, which we began implementing in the first quarter of 2017.

In December 2017, we did not complete our regular Pulse Check; instead, we opted to send a letter to Southwire leaders with an update on how the top concerns expressed in the 2016 Engagement Survey were being addressed. These key improvement areas included Communication, Training and Development and Tools for Success. One way we are enhancing communication is through Town Halls hosted by our CEO that are livestreamed to provide employees an opportunity to discuss ideas and areas for improvement they see within the company. After giving time for the improvements to be implemented by leadership, we will conduct an iAm Survey in 2018 that will help set our priorities for the next two years.

We are currently looking at new options to measure employee engagement—one that reflects the health of our culture every day. The instrument selected will be similar to our Voice of the Customer tool that we utilize consistently to stay in contact with and focus on our customers. How engaged our employees are at work is critical to our success and we want to stay in tune with the feelings, challenges and accomplishments of our workforce.