Life at DHG Podcast Series

Episode 37: Building Valuable Careers – DHG’s Tools and Resources

Building valuable careers with our people is a top priority…so much so, it’s the first part of our mission statement. Several key areas to career success are coaching, feedback and continual learning. We listened to our professional’s feedback and completed a redesigned DHG University and created a new Performance Enrichment Program (PEP). In this podcast, we’ll highlight some of the unique attributes of these programs and share how they link to our mission of building valuable careers with our people and helping our clients achieve their goals.

Episode 37 Transcript:

AGH: Hello everyone and welcome back to another episode of our DHG podcast series. I’m Alice Grey Harrison, your host, and I love this venue because we get to hear about the things that matter most to us: our Life Beyond Numbers-  flexibility, careers and of course, our people.

In today’s episode, I want to focus on careers. Just before I began my first job, my dad sent me a note and it said, “Work hard and your job will become your career.” That piece of advice has always stuck with me. Now that I’m 19 years, 210 days, 42 minutes — but who’s counting? — into this whole job/career thing, I realized that building a valuable career takes a lot more than just plain old hard work. It takes goals, it takes strategy and a lot of planning and of course as my dad stated, it does take hard work.

It’s been through working at DHG that I realized, building a valuable career does take more than simply working hard. At DHG, you know, careers is a top priority so much so, it’s the first part of our mission, “Building valuable careers with our people”. Over the past several years, we’ve received a lot of constructive feedback on performance management and course work.

We began diligently working several years ago to begin thinking about how we could redesign both of these areas. The redesigned DHG University, which was formerly known as Professional Development, and our redesign Performance Enrichment Program, which was formerly known as Performance Management, are currently being rolled out in the firm.

So I wanted to take a moment to dive deeper into these two important components of career development at DHG. Joining me today, I’m super excited, I have Effin Logue, our Chief People Officer, Cate Miller, DHG University Director, and Katrina Thompson, Director of HR Business Partners.

Welcome friends!

CM: Thank you.

KT: Thank you.

EL: Thank you.

AGH: Okay, we have three guests today, so this is going to be extra fun. Effin, let’s begin with a question for you. Two major programs that we’re rolling out, we typically give some space between the launch of new programs, thank goodness for me. Why did we decide to launch these two redesigned programs at the same time? I mean, surely you had some method in your madness here?

EL: There’s always method in the madness, but Alice Grey, when it comes to performance enrichment and career learning, the two in my mind are inextricably intertwined. You can’t talk about careers without talking about those current performance and future learnings. I think Cate and Katrina, and their teams, have done masterful job coordinating all of these efforts so that performance enrichment and career enrichment are seen as one holistic effort in the eyes of our team members.

AGH: That’s awesome. Okay, so my next question is for both Cate and Katrina. I mentioned earlier about the employee feedback that we were getting, can you talk a bit about how feedback played a role in the design of these programs and Cate, if you’ll go first that would be great.

CM: Sure Alice Grey. You know, the feedback we received for the University was really instrumental in shaping the program and what we were building. It was amazing the amount of feedback we received through the analysis we hosted last year in 2016. We met with about 68 learning leaders throughout the firm and their feedback helped shape what we’re building today. They gave us feedback on design, technology, and also the topics that they wanted us to focus on preliminary. So it’s been amazing. We couldn’t have done it without feedback.

AGH: That’s awesome and Katrina?

KT: From the perspective of performance enrichment, I mean, my goodness, it played a huge role. I’d probably even go so far as to say the employees designed a significant part of the PEP Program. We started with the design team which included employees from all levels, all service lines, all markets throughout the firm and then our ongoing task force was made up of a mix of client service professionals along with subject matter experts.

What we like to say about PEP is – it was not an HR program designed in a corner. Throughout the whole development we have had focus groups, road tests, gamma polls. We talked to people committees, we talked to senior leadership and of course we looked closely at what we heard from the Great Place to Work survey. I mean, everyone was so engaged and excited and I think all of that really helped us design a truly innovative program.

AGH: That’s awesome. So, you know, it sounds like the feedback really helped tailor these programs to DHG. Cate, can you tell us, with DHG University, how it’s organized and the parts and pieces of it- what really makes it unique?

CM: Sure Alice Grey. Well, to start off with, we have an amazing team and they’re broken into two groups, the first group are the curriculum managers and we organized the university, based on this feedback, into colleges and so our tax college and assurance and leadership colleges each have a dedicated curriculum manager.

But what makes us unique, Alice Grey, is that we also have deans of each of this colleges that we’ve connected the dots from the design process and the work that the curriculum managers are doing to the business goals of each of the service lines. And working with those sponsors our design conversations are so rich that whatever solutions we’re building in the University really address a business challenge that they’re trying to accomplish for the year.

So that’s been invaluable and it’s made what we’ve built very, very prescriptive but the other cool part is on the other side of the house. In addition to the curriculum managers, we also have a team that has been branded as the hub, which consist of our E-learning specialist, our learning systems, compliance and our content specialist.

Once we’ve built the course, the hub team go in and make it happen and we couldn’t do it without them. But the cool part from most teams is the underpinning to everything is delivering superior client service and they’ve done an amazing job at it. So it is pretty exciting to see how this is different than other firms.

AGH: Traditional universities that exists in the world have something great going on and why not bring that strategy to DHG – having certain focus areas and deans and specialists? This is really cool.

CM: Yeah, we’ve been pretty fortunate to have such great support.

AGH: That’s right. That’s exactly right, and you know it all connects back to our mission, which is building valuable careers with our people. So Katrina, PEP (Performance Enrichment Program) built on feedback, cutting edge, there’s not another firm in the country that has the same program as us, tell us about some of these features that make it special?

KT: Well, I wish we had all day to talk about it to be honest because it is pretty amazing. But let me highlight just a few of my favorite things. I think one of the most exciting things about PEP is we really developed it with the intent for it to be owned by the employees. Everything was designed around that concept of employees owning their careers and being the proverbial driver seat. For example, the anytime feedback feature allows employees to literally seek feedback from anyone at any time anywhere in the organization, up, down, across, diagonal. It doesn’t matter and it’s really quick and easy to do that.

Then paired with career conversations that are designed to create an opportunity for employees to have future-focused dialogues with their coaches about their career and development. In addition to that, I think the interface that we’ve developed is super easy to navigate. It’s got tons of helpful best practices, guides and tools that are available anytime for staff and coaches. I think at the end of the day, this is dramatically different than what we had and I think people are going to be excited about what we’ve planned.

AGH: So rest in peace performance forms?

KT: Rest in peace, halogen, send me in the questions we obviously need to evaluate.

AGH: On behalf of every employee and partner at DHG, I’d like to say thank you very much Katrina.

KT: Indeed, I could have said that was my favorite feature and been done.

AGH: Okay. So reeling us back in, Effin, as we began this conversation we talked about careers and it being a major focus in our life beyond numbers. How can these two programs positively impact careers for our people?

EL: Sure, with everything that we develop we always go back to our mission, our strategies and our values and Alice Grey, as you had mentioned, the first part of our mission statement is “we exist to build meaningful careers with our people”. So career coaching and career development are therefore critical to achieving DHG’s mission let alone critical to being a great career advocate and really managing and being a champion of your own career.

So let’s not forget, the second part of our mission is equally important. We want to help our clients achieve their goals. High performing team members best help our clients achieve their goals and of course performance enrichment is key to high performance, and high performance is also key to future career success. So, as I’ve said upfront, these two are inextricably linked and they are the cornerstones of delivering on our entire mission as a firm.

Our focus on careers and performance are also the foundation of the talent and leadership strategies and our values of trust and relationships are the cornerstone of our coaching culture, which of course is the foundation for both our Performance Enrichment Program and DHG University.

So all of these programs are built on the mission, the strategies and the values of the firm. You can’t talk about one without impacting or talking about the other. We just see them as one holistic effort towards DHG’s mission and to our own mission to build our own valuable careers.

AGH: Wow, that was well stated and it really does illustrate how strategic and how connected these two programs are to the firm, to our clients and to our people. Thank you for being here with us today to share these insights. It was super fun to have three of my favorite colleagues on the podcast with me.

EL: We had fun too. I love it.

AGH: So if you are a DHG employee and you’re listening, you can visit the compass to learn more about PEP, Performance Enrichment Program,  and DHG University.

Thank you for listening to Life at DHG, our premier podcast series. If you liked what you just heard, we hope you’ll tell your friends and colleagues. Be sure to check out our Life at DHG blog for more great stories about our life beyond numbers.

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