Whether it’s changing over to new software or logging into Facebook to check the company news, KimstaffHR’s employees are behind every technological move. President Sheila Kepler wouldn’t have it any other way – which is why, for example, before choosing new software, she brings employees into the decision by letting them review the options and voice opinions about what works on the frontline.
Technological innovation and engagement make sense at the Professional Employer Organization, which is focused on helping businesses reduce paperwork, optimize benefits and improve cost efficiency.
Kepler has engaged her staff by communicating through social media, but the commitment goes much deeper than that. Employee involvement isn’t just Facebook interaction; Kepler keeps them involved long-term by creating an environment where they feel free to suggest new technologies.
Because of this, Smart Business, ThinkASG, IBM and Union Bank named Kepler one of the 2011 Smart Leader honorees. She shared how she engages employees with technology to maintain a leading edge.
Give an example of a business challenge your organization faced, as well as how you overcame it.
In 2006, we were struggling with technology and had to decide if we continued with a current application or would look for a new one. We made our decisions as a team and each employee was involved.
They attended the meetings and were given links to review the software selections. Then we had the vendors come in and demonstrate. Everyone was encourage to ask questions –they would be using this software to do their jobs, so we wanted to make sure we knew their wishlists and ideas to do things easier and faster. Then we had a confidential vote at the end.
This made the commitment to change strong and everyone felt they had a vested interest to make sure our decision had the desired results.
In what ways are you an innovative leader, and how does your organization employ innovation to be on the leading edge?
We encourage our employees to use and understand social media and mobile technology. We use mobile applications, iPads, HTC phones, etc. This helps us develop the services and tools for our clients.
We use Facebook like an employee newsletter and encourage our employees to respond to posting. We trained our (employees) on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and encouraged them early on to embrace the changes in how the world communicates.
We use Twitter to put out various information for our clients, such as employment law updates, etc. About two years ago we had a Facebook contest with one of the games. It was engaging, fun and got the whole office excited.
I believe that companies are only as good as the people they employ. Management must lead by example and foster a team environment. We foster an environment to always bring ideas or suggestions on any new technology they might have seen or heard. We often test various software and are moving more of our processes to web-based products.
We hold team meetings to talk about how we use the software and tools that we expect our clients and their employees to use. We often have great ideas on colors, fonts, design, etc.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned?
Don’t let anyone tell you something can’t be done. Just like Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
How does your organization make a significant impact on the community and regional economy?
As a company, we focus on providing cutting edge technology products and applications to our clients. This helps them achieve their various business goals and engages their employees. The result is that we help small businesses stay in business.
How to reach: KimstaffHR, (949) 862-6560 or www.kimstaffhr.com