Southwire communicates openly and effectively with its employees—especially during challenging times. In 2014, Southwire acquired Coleman Cable, which represented the largest acquisition in the company’s history and formally created a new organization. This led to an integration and consolidation process that reduced the workforce by 11 percent.
Throughout this period of tremendous change, Southwire remained committed to its promise of measuring employee engagement. “This was the exact right time to ask our workforce questions surrounding job satisfaction. We proceeded with the employee engagement survey,” said Kathleen Edge, executive vice president of human resources. “Business decisions needed to be made to invest in the long-term sustainability of the company. We did everything with openness and transparency.”
Surveys are only one part of Southwire’s comprehensive employee communication and engagement strategy. “Utilizing CEO videos, Pulse Check Boards, Just Ask, Southwire News Network, newsletters and a variety of other tools, we strive to keep employees connected and involved in the results and events that ultimately shape our business,” said Edge. “Our commitment to strong employee communication is such that these communication mechanisms were the very first human resource processes to be integrated.”
These communication tools provide specific information and address unique parts of the company’s engagement plan. Pulse Check Boards provide real-time facility information about safety, quality, cost and morale. Southwire News Network (SNN) uses multimedia displays at each location to communicate significant and timely updates, and Just Ask enables employees to pose questions for company leaders and facilitates change throughout the organization.
Southwire’s dedication to communicating openly with employees, as well as providing opportunities for anonymous feedback, leads to higher than average participation in the company’s engagement survey.
“With respect to involvement in the survey and the willingness to provide feedback, we are encouraged by our 85 percent response rate, which is well above an external benchmark of 70 percent,” said Kristian Crowe, Southwire’s manager of employee communication and engagement. “Overall employees were 73 percent favorable, within a healthy range according to external benchmarks; our individual target for employee engagement is to be in the 80 plus percent range.”
This communication strategy remains strong, and Southwire will continue to utilize the aforementioned vehicles to provide information about updates, events and initiatives to employees throughout the company.