"We are all owners. As owners, our feedback matters."
By: Jeff Brody
Your people are your most important asset. You hear this all the time; but do companies really put it into action? Or if they do, how often do they really invest in it?
DCS believes in employees and invests in them. We are a people-centric company that has been in business for 40 years, spread out across 15 different locations in the U.S; and without a doubt, a strategic element that moves the needle is our human capital.
Our company was founded on the ideal that employees are integral to corporate success and should be empowered to actively contribute and lead to that success. With an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) firmly in place, our shareholders are our employees, so naturally we are sensitive to their interests. It’s all part of our culture of empowerment. As stakeholders in the company, employees are motivated to deliver high-quality solutions for our customers that will, in turn, drive mutually satisfying outcomes for employees and customers. We see this as liberating DCS from catering to and being overly concerned with outside investors because it allows us to focus our efforts on the employee experience and customer outcomes.
Not surprisingly, we spend a great deal of time and effort honing our overall company strategy, and our Human Capital Strategy because it directly influences the health of the company and the output for our customers. How we support our customers’ needs and align our human capital to support those needs is really quite simple:
We review and refresh our strategy annually and conduct quarterly reviews. Every year we take a fresh look at how we attract, cultivate and retain our talent and intellectual capacity. Although we are confident in who we are and our identity as a company, we are always looking for improvement. Our organization is evolving from within and the world around us is in constant flux. In order to remain competitive, we know we need to be in tune with whether our customer is satisfied while also being sensitive to what’s happening in the market; but we also need to be cognizant of how our employees are doing. One of the ways we do this is through Table Talk presentations that our executive leaders present to employees in each DCS location on a semi-annual basis. These are designed to provide an update on company performance, strategic initiatives, and future business concerns, but they also provide a forum where employees have direct access to senior leadership to ask questions and discuss the company’s strategic plans and performance.
We develop specific objectives to achieve our strategy. We take a disciplined approach to develop specific annual objectives that support the execution of strategy, and these objectives are reviewed quarterly. Our human capital metrics allow us to assess effectiveness in identifying and hiring talent. For instance, given the market demand for software engineers, we want to ensure our time to recruit for these roles is not higher than a benchmark average.
We have a quality control system in place. Our quality management system allows us to ensure our processes supporting strategy are efficient and working as desired. If the processes are not working, we can make improvement where necessary and fix any deficiencies we find. The system also enables employees to provide feedback without having to go through a manager, which is another way we empower our employees.
We value feedback from our employees. Our employees are the ones that see things every day, at every level of the organization. As one of our employees said, “We are all owners. As owners, our opinion matters. Our feedback matters.” DCS conducts an annual engagement survey to hear directly from employees about what they are experiencing and their opinions. Our management team maintains an open-door policy that allows employee-owners to address concerns in a constructive and responsive environment. As much as we value feedback from our employees, our employees truly value having a real voice in the management of the company.
We are proud of the fact that we are an employee-owned company. It is part of our identity and shapes who we are as a company.