For the EVOLution of Business

Growing LaBella Into Rochester's Top Workplace with Michele Ebenhoch

Episode Summary

While developing an award-winning culture is no easy task, even more difficult is to maintain culture during rapid growth and across multiple locations. LaBella Associates was named among Rochester's Top Workplaces for the past 5 years and reached the #1 spot in 2018. During that time, they've almost tripled the number of employees, undergone more than a dozen acquisitions and have grown to more than 20 office locations in the Eastern United States and Spain. Under Michele Ebenhoch's leadership over the past four years as Director of Human resources, they have navigated significant challenges in the scaling up of the organization’s administration, managed a massive recruiting and onboarding effort and are developing the training and leadership development programs that will fuel LaBella’s continued growth. Michele is a seasoned HR professional with over 20 years of experience working in a variety of industries including manufacturing, retail, consulting and senior living before joining LaBella Associates. She received her BS Degree from Niagara University and is currently pursuing her Masters in Human Resource Management from Nazareth College. Michele lives with her husband and 3 children in Fairport. When she is not working on school assignments or carpooling her children around, she enjoys getting lost in a good book and traveling with her family.

Episode Notes

[2:00] Discovering a passion for human resources
[4:45] Joining LaBella Associates
[6:45] Establishing the values at LaBella and bringing them off the website and into the everyday processes of the organization
"You can have perks in an organization, but what really motivates people is genuine appreciation."
[10:30] Maintaining culture through rapid growth with a thoughtful recruiting and hiring process
"We call all of our employees brand ambassadors. We have a philosophy that everyone at LaBella recruits...not just HR."
[14:20] Onboarding into the LaBella culture - "sidekick program"
[19:00] Merging cultures during Mergers and Acquisitions
[22:30] How culture has contributed to LaBella's growth
"We're trying to maintain that sense of family even with the growth that we have. I wonder if other organizations think its just not the right investment or its too hard to develop an award-winning culture. I don't think it is. I think if you have the commitment from your senior leadership that the people are the most important part of the business, that makes a difference. Without the people at LaBella we don't have a business."
[26:15] Engagement committees: Wellness, Sunshine (fun), LINC (LaBella in the Community)
[28:00] Maintaining culture across multiple offices
[29:30] Continually improving and EVOLving the culture based on regular employee feedback
[31:45] Measuring culture - employee engagement surveys, exit interviews
[35:15] The importance of following up on cultural surveys and sharing data transparently
[38:30] Planning for succession with a focus on maintaining culture
[41:30] Modeling the values and culture at the top of the organization
[45:30] The vision for the future of LaBella