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People Element | Excelling with the People | Chris Coberly

People Element | Excelling with the People | Chris Coberly

Chris Coberly


Metalworking Solutions is a manufacturing organization with 90 employees located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. They wanted to collect actionable data from their people and create an initial baseline measurement to guide their future engagement efforts. They partnered with People Element and ran their first annual engagement survey in 2021.

When all the data was in from their initial 2021 engagement survey, a representative from People Element compiled their results and presented it to their leadership team in an Executive Presentation. Based on this presentation, Metalworking Solutions identified two main opportunity categories that they wanted to improve on throughout the next year:

Perception of Fair Treatment – Based on their results, they found that employees felt there was a lack of equality and the main area that needed improvement was the perception of fair treatment among employees.  

Growth and Development – This category includes measurements of growth and development opportunities in the organization such as promotion procedures and encouragement to further professional development. The survey responses showed that employees did not feel there were many opportunities for them to grow and develop within the organization.

They ended their 2021 engagement survey with a 65% participation rate which is right around the industry average. Along with the two identified categories, they wanted to focus on improving their participation rate and capturing as many responses as possible in their 2022 engagement survey.

First, to address the Perception of Fair Treatment, Metalworking Solutions decided to update the company’s pay structure and attendance policy. They replaced the existing pay format with a three-piece wage scale which outlined exactly how compensation is determined. They shared the new structure and policy with employees and ensured that everyone understood how it worked. Their aim was for full transparency around pay and creating a clear sense of equality for all employees.

In response to Growth and Development, Metalworking Solutions decided to give their teams the ability to cross-train for other roles. The idea behind this initiative was to give employees the opportunity to learn new skills and experience different parts of the organization. This helped people gain a better perspective on the work that their colleagues do and solidify where they want to be. Along with this, they made it a point to list open positions first internally to give current employees priority.

Although their baseline participation rate of 65% was not bad for their first survey, they wanted to boost participation rates so they could hear from more of their people. To do this, they had automated daily participation reports sent from the People Element platform directly to each department so that the teams would know exactly where they were at. These daily reports encouraged some friendly competition between departments to see who could reach the highest participation rates. In addition, they sent out more frequent email and SMS survey reminders to their employees which contributed to more survey completions. 

Since being founded in 2006 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Metalworking Solutions has been committed to providing reliable service and high-quality sheet metal parts for its customers. They value building relationships with people and care deeply about always meeting expectations. With around 90 employees, their culture is rooted in strengthening their people and communities by providing a workplace where they can grow personally and professionally. 

“There is no single more important ingredient to what we do and how we excel at PE than our people. Their commitment and hard work is unmatched. I am honored and proud to work alongside each one of them,” says Chris Coberly, CEO.

Teachers of Tomorrow, a teacher certification organization with over 200 employees, was facing large changes. With new leadership and almost 50% employee turnover, they turned their focus on improving their employee engagement. After making some early improvements they needed a way to measure engagement levels, benchmark their progress, and gain insights to guide future actions.

The organization partnered with People Element, an employee experience platform that allows them to quickly and easily deploy surveys to their workforce, collect responses in real-time and analyze their data to create action plans. With the help of their People Element success manager, Teachers of Tomorrow launched their first engagement survey to get a baseline measurement of their current efforts. The team was looking forward to receiving their initial responses to see if the changes they had made over the past few months focusing on improving engagement and morale had a positive impact. Their goal is to use the survey results to empower their management team with access to their data, and to create realistic and achievable action plans. 

After this first survey, Suzanne Solomon, VP of People and Culture at the organization, mentioned that she found the People Element platform to be user-friendly, straightforward, and intuitive.

Dallas Nephrology Associates (DNA), a 400-employee healthcare organization, began utilizing the People Element platform for employee engagement surveys in early 2021. Although their overall 2021 survey results were good, they identified Growth & Development as an opportunity area. The Growth and Development section measures the extent an employee feels they have support and opportunities to grow within the organization. One question stood out when reviewing responses which read, “I have someone at work who encourages my professional development”. This question received a 77% average favorability score from employees, which was slightly lower than other survey questions. DNA always wants employees to feel they have an opportunity to develop and grow their careers at the organization, so they set a goal of improving on this question in their 2022 engagement survey.

After reviewing results with their People Element representative and discussing a path forward, the organization developed a three-prong approach to address making improvements in their Manager and Growth & Development categories. They implemented the following tactics:

Managers started to incorporate two additional questions into their employee’s annual assessment: “What are your goals?” and “What can we do to help you get there?”.

These questions were implemented to give employees additional outlets to provide feedback on what growth and development opportunities they were looking for in the next 1-5 years. With this additional insight, managers will then be able to support their team’s goals more directly.

The organization’s culture committee, a cross-functional team of employees, was tasked with identifying growth and development opportunities that would be of interest to the team. The culture committee began by looking into items such as education reimbursement, virtual training, and in-house programs. Their ongoing effort has allowed them to collect insights from their fellow employees and collaborate with administrators to develop a plan of action.

The organization also renewed its focus on managers, directors, leads, and supervisors. They hosted a managers’ retreat with a goal to strengthen leaders and give them the tools they need to build stronger relationships with their staff. They felt that supporting managers could help give them the ability to further develop their team. One of their guiding principles is that the job of a leader is to develop new leaders.

People Element Award Logo Chris Coberly

" There is no single more important ingredient to what we do and how we excel at PE than our people "

Chris Coberly


People Element

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