Take a moment to consider what that means. Doing good is defined differently for each of us, depending on what we value and define as fulfilling.
At The E.W. Scripps Company, our people are explicitly mentioned in our mission statement: We do well by doing good – creating value for customers, employees and owners by informing, engaging and empowering those we serve. Our senior leadership team at Scripps often talks about how the greatest assets we have are our people. Perhaps my favorite quote from one of our executives is that “people like to add value and be valued.” Our people are essential to fulfilling the purpose of this company, and we have a calling to understand what they each value and to help fulfill their career purposes.
It is why we put so much into internal communications, retention, talent growth and career development. Keeping good people must be a top priority. We work on it every day. We coach our managers to help their employees achieve their career goals.
Investing in our people means helping them connect with what’s important to them so they feel fulfilled. That’s important to us. We want to know what excites them, what they are passionate about. And then we want to align that with growth opportunities that help the company achieve its business objectives.
We do this in three ways: education, experience and exposure.
We offer opportunities to learn, develop and apply skills with continual feedback and coaching. This might include virtual or in-person group sessions led by internal or external experts, e-learning modules, books and podcasts. We have a Learning and Leadership Development team that focuses on in-house training and external training opportunities on specific topics and/or leadership. There are many ways in which employees can learn more about the industry or the company, including direct connections to Scripps team members who are subject-matter experts or through opportunities with external vendors.
“Investing in our people means helping them connect with what’s important to them so they feel fulfilled”
One example is a home-grown program designed to prepare our people for senior leadership roles. It features a structured curriculum that includes education about what it means to be a public company, the business of our industry, executive presence, personal branding, emotional intelligence and more.
It is common for employees who go through the program to move into senior director and executive positions. Our investment in this program has proven valuable with over 50% of participants advancing into elevated leadership positions.
We want to help employees put into practice what they have learned by connecting them with different projects and company initiatives. We sometimes ask them to conduct presentations for the executive team, produce a business case study and demonstrate how to apply their learnings to real-world situations.
There are times when we create a job rotational program and provide ways to give employees temporary roles to try something new while holding their original positions for them to return.
Providing new opportunities, including temporary project work, allows employees to develop or broaden their networks, build relationships across the company and perhaps even identify and develop mentors. It is important for them to be exposed to different leaders in different departments and different tasks.This lends to diverse views points and broadening understanding.
We also have a sponsorship program for executives that we are piloting right now. It matches a member of the senior executive team with a mid-level manager or professional level employee who has great potential but might not have exposure to the C-suite. The executive team member actively advocates for their sponsee to broaden their learning opportunities, connections and offer a deeper insight into the company strategy. It’s important to note that this program is not just a learning opportunity for the sponsee; in essence it’s a learning exchange. The executive receives insight into what’s top of mind for our people at multiple levels. In the short amount of time the program has operated, we have seen tremendous growth in engagement and anticipate it also will have a positive impact on retention.
We’re a company about purpose, and that translates to our employees,too. We want to help them achieve their purpose. And if you can marry what a person values and what excites them with the work, that is when the magic occurs.
If a person isn’t happy and fulfilled, chances are they won’t stay long in the company. We want them to feel like they belong, that we care, and we’re invested in them. Because we are.
At Scripps, we empower employees to write their own stories. We want to be a successful business, but there is more to it than that for us. We want our employees to succeed as well. Candace Anderson is vice president of people and culture at The E.W. Scripps Company, where she has worked since 2006.