Monica Lynn is an accomplished HR leader with 27 years of experience in both startups and Fortune 50 companies. Other than compensation, she has held key HR roles at Medtronic and UnitedHealth Group. Presently, she serves as the Vice President of People Operations and Culture at Nortech Systems, a publicly traded company in Maple Grove, Minnesota. a manufacturer of complex cables and printed circuit boards (PCBs) for the medical device, industrial, and military defense industries. It operates in the United States with four manufacturing sites in Minnesota, one in China, and another in Mexico. Backed by eight consecutive strong financial quarters, the organization is poised for substantial growth. At this juncture, Hamlingis dedicated to transforming the company's culture into a growth engine, working closely with CEO Jay Miller. Her role involves developing the infrastructure to foster a strong foundation,  ensuring readiness for future expansion.

In an interview with  Monica Hamling, Vice President, People Operations and Culture at Nortech Systems, she sheds light on transforming Nortech's culture to build a growth engine for attracting, retaining, and developing talent and creating an appealing work environment for employee's to flourish  in the organization.

When it comes to organization change, what are some of the challenges and trends that you see the market today?

In Minnesota, we are facing labor shortages that are impacting all companies. To overcome this challenge, we focus on attracting, retaining, and developing talent by creating an appealing culture and work environment. While larger organizations may have the advantage of offering financial incentives, we strive to remain financially responsible while still providing competitive and fair compensation. Our main goal is to build a culture where employees feel valued and want to grow with us. 

" A clear line of communication with an unwavering vision is essential to successful change management "

Another significant challenge we face is promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, particularly in a state with racial, religious, and ideological differences. Our rural plant locations offer an opportunity to educate and foster an inclusive and supportive culture among all employees.

When it comes to organizational change management, is there any particular project initiative that you're working on?

Nortech Systems has a rich history as a family-owned and operated company that expanded into a publicly traded growth company under the stock ticker NSYS. Our organization is undergoing a significant change to accelerate growth through innovation, and we foster diversity and inclusion to inspire new thinking. A big part of the change management agenda is to help employees, managers, and leaders embrace an environment characterized by an inherent sense of belonging with one another.  

We start by defining our vision for the next three to five years and work closely with the CEO and leadership team to ensure alignment. Educating and engaging leaders is crucial to creating a culture of belonging. We have a roadmap that includes assessment, education, awareness and, action over a three to five-year period. Our core values of Teamwork, Excellence, Commitment, Innovation & Integrity guide our efforts to reinforce a culture of inclusivity for all employees. This change management initiative is a top priority for us in the coming years.

How do you apply change management in your current organization?  What insights do you gain from others who are going through the similar journey?

Evaluating stakeholders and effectively addressing their needs is often overlooked, leading to ineffective communication. This is why  clear lines of communication, unwavering vision, and frequent assessment of progress is essential to successful change management. In other words, ensuring that all leaders have a common message about our journey forward and where we're headed. It becomes foundational  to carrying the organization from where we are today to where we will be in the future.

Equally important is understanding employees’ concerns and perspectives. It is essential to communicate in a language and manner that employees understand, avoiding any disconnect or misinterpretation. These elements form the core of my change plan for Nortech Systems, allowing successful change implementation and employee engagement.

What would be your piece of advice for the professionals in the field today?

My biggest advice is to stay curious throughout your HR career. Instead of passing judgment on an organization or its culture, remain open and curious about what is possible. Understand the organization's history and how it has reached its current state. Honor the past while working towards the future. Maintaining a curious mindset can lead to transformative change and growth.