HRO Today November 2014 - 57

Sustainable Workforce
Sustaining
Success
Southwire Company shares the keys to executing a collaborative
culture that empowers-and retains-employees.
By Debbie Bolla
Editor's note: At the 2014 COMMIT!Forum in New York,
I had the rare opportunity to interview the CEO and
executive vice president of human resources for leading
electrical and wire provider Southwire Company. To have
both Stu Thorn and Kathleen Edge on stage at the same
time allowed HRO Today to capture their incredible story
of how HR and the C-Suite work together to build a
sustainable workforce.
Stu Thorn has been at the helm of Southwire Company, a
multi-billion-dollar electrical and wire company based in
Georgia, for the past 13 years. During his tenure, Thorn
has been instrumental in creating a culture in which
employees can thrive. " One word defi nes our corporation
and that's collaboration, " he says.
Thorn crafted a framework based on Southwire's fi ve
foundational pillars of success:
* Building worth-focus on profi tability
* Growing green-reducing Southwire's
environmental footprint
* Doing right-ethics and transparency
* Living well-initiatives around safety, health,
and wellness
* Giving back-community service and involvement
Thorn says that through these pillars, Southwire creates
an environment where employees can live well, enjoy
a sense of diversity, be well-informed, and simply have
fun. He understands the importance culture has on the
bottom line. " To us, sustainability is how do you operate
the company in a way that can sustain success to the
next generation, " he explains. " What makes Southwire
a special company is its people, and it's ultimately
through our people that we have a competitive
advantage. "
Making people the central focus of the business and
business strategy is simply music to HR's ears. When
Kathleen Edge joined Thorn's leadership team in
February 2013, she immediately saw that Southwire
employees were living and breathing those fi ve pillars.
" Stu is a progressive leader who wants all employees to
live to their fullest potential, " Edge says. " I planned to
build on an already successful platform. "
So how do Thorn and Edge encourage employees to
live to their fullest potential? By giving them outlets
that allow them to: offer valuable and listened-to
feedback; earn coaching and mentoring for professional
development; and participate in service-driven actions
that fi t their preference.
Let's look at a few examples:
Allowing employees to be a bigger part of the business.
" We talk to all levels of employees as business people.
NOVEMBER 2014 | www.hrotoday.com
[57]
http://www.hrotoday.com

HRO Today November 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HRO Today November 2014

HRO Today November 2014 - 1
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