Human Resources, Trends, Culture, Leadership

Top Five Takeaways from RESOLVE 2016

Bryan Brenner
May 24, 2016


Each year, I’m amazed by how many great minds come together at RESOLVE. The greatest in Indiana, in my opinion. And 2016 was no exception.

We couldn’t do it without the support of all of you—our amazing clients, partners, and friends. After last year’s event, you told us that while you appreciated the content we shared, you wanted more choice in the matter.

So we brought breakout sessions to the agenda for 2016. We introduced three speakers—Heather Haas, Santiago Jaramillo, and Tiffany Sauder—to share their personal stories of experiences, leadership, and innovation in creating meaningful employment experiences. I’d say it was a big hit!

I would also be amiss to not mention my good friend and Indiana business guru Gerry Dick who kicked off the morning. And we were sent off on a genuine high thanks to the kind and inspiring keynote by local business owner Martha Hoover.

It’s much in thanks to these fantastic folks that we all left RESOLVE with new ideas to move our businesses forward. For those who attended—and even if you couldn’t make it—I’ve put together my top five takeaways from RESOLVE 2016.

Takeaway #1: Culture is everything

In our first session, Mike Bensi led a great panel with local experts Ellen Humphrey, Nick Smarrelli, and Tom O’Neil about the power of internal marketing on growing company culture. To foster a successful culture, you should remember three things: be authentic, be purposeful with the values you select, and remember that it’s an evolution and takes time.

“You cannot create culture, but rather it’s something that manifests from the individuals on your team,” explained Ellen.

Culture isn’t something that just happens, though. It takes intention. And as Tiffany so passionately stated, leaders must wear "clothes that fit" when it comes making your culture successful. If leaders don't wear clothes that fit the image they are trying to present, it can all fall apart.

Takeaway #2: Mobile is changing the way we engage with employees

The workplace is constantly changing, so it’s imperative we adapt. And the way we engage with employees is no exception. In our breakout session led by Santiago, we learned how the mobile era is changing how we communicate.

In 2016, 90% of mobile phone usage can be attributed to apps alone. Employees have apps for their personal lives, so why not have one for work? The use of an internal mobile app allows you to meet employees where they are, but is also the most cost-efficient and has a higher engagement rate than traditional or other digital channels.

It’s vital to understand that a communication strategy is important to utilizing any form of media channel. Get to know how your employees like to receive information, and create a clear and consistent communication plan to set yourself up for success.

Takeaway #3: It’s never too late to prepare for the future

As leaders, we’re always thinking about the future. How we want to evolve. How we want to grow. But with 75% of the workforce expected to comprise of Millennials by 2025, how do you attract, engage, and retain employees?

Asking your people what they want is the best place to start. If you decide to spend money on snacks for the breakroom, but employees would rather you spend it on a 401(k) match, you’ve missed the mark. Take the feedback you receive and leverage your leadership team to address your workplace’s specific challenges and build a cohesive action plan you can implement together.

Part of planning for the future of your workforce goes beyond just the fresh faces joining your team. It’s also  about succession planning. The key, according to ADVISA President Heather Haas, is to continuously invest in developing leaders for the future. Forty percent of Millennials feel like they don’t have opportunities for growth in their organization. How are you planning for you company’s future?

Takeaway #4: Internal marketing is the new way to communicate

According to Gallup, 70% of employees are disengaged at work. With so many workers not engaged, there lies an opportunity for us as business leaders to turn this around. Enter: internal marketing.

Internal marketing is exactly as it sounds; take your external branding and marketing efforts and turn it toward your people.

As marketing influences a positive customer experience, it can also help create an amazing employee experience. As our panelist Nick Smarrelli, CEO of GadellNet, attests, “As a leader, be sure you’re walking the talk. Lead by example. Employees watch and listen to everything you do, so your actions set the tone for your culture. If you slip up, it gives a free pass to others and you set the stage to deviate from the course.”

Taking on an internal marketing strategy of your own can seem daunting. But it’s achievable for anyone no matter how large your organization is. Internal marketing is an evolution. It’s ongoing. And it takes baby steps, persistence, and courage to get there. It’s completely worth it!

Takeaway #5: Giving to the community matters

As employers and leaders in Indiana companies, we all have the potential to impact the lives of our employees. Perhaps one of the most poignant statements Martha Hoover of The Patachou Foundation made was, “It is never too late to encourage an employee to find their passion and develop into who they were meant to be.”

I found this to be especially moving because when employees enjoy where they work, aren’t they more likely to have a positive impact in the surrounding community? They’re more likely to become involved with organizations making a difference and volunteering their time. You can’t ask for more than that, right?

I hope you loved every minute of RESOLVE 2016! We’re excited to meet you there again next year on May 16!

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