ITT Inc.'s EVP & CHRO is strengthening the company culture that best enables its talent to create solutions to industry problems.
When Victoria Creamer joined ITT Inc. in February 2015, she was tasked with one challenge in particular: Helping the nearly century-old manufacturer evolve into a new, even more innovative phase.
These days, the senior vice president and chief human resources officer is strengthening an ITT company culture that best enables its talent to create impactful solutions to customers’ most pressing challenges. The White Plains, New York-based firm — which has evolved significantly since spinning off its defense and water technology businesses in 2011— offers a diversified brand portfolio of components for the aerospace, transportation, energy, and industrial markets. Examples of its products? Vehicle brake pads that effectively save lives, efficient pumps that make refineries hum, and components that improve the comfort and safety of airplanes.
“ITT has a unique position as an innovator of customized solutions to some of the world’s most complex engineering problems,” Creamer explains. “The products we create make a real and enduring impact on society. We are a company of expert innovators and problem solvers who convert unique ideas into solutions that truly matter.”
To that end, ITT is continually trying to bolster a culture that fosters invention and growth through a change process meant to build on the company’s past success to drive future possibilities. Creamer is in a unique position to promote the approach since her role includes both the HR and communications teams. Among her primary goals:
- Creating a clear, strong connection between employees and ITT’s purpose and strategy. “This fundamental step builds understanding of why and how employees’ efforts contribute to the company’s goals – and ultimately impacts performance,” Creamer says. “This association also helps employees bring their best to their work and instills a sense belonging to the workplace.”
- Cultivating ITT’s manager base. “We have more than 1200 managers and they each play a critical role in ensuring the right work gets done, in the way that’s consistent with our culture. As an industrial organization with a large non-wired employee base, managers are a valuable source of information and inspiration to the majority of our workforce,” she notes. “Thus, we ’double downed’ on the importance of developing them into strong people leaders, and also focused on growing emerging talent to fill these essential roles in the future.”
- Challenging the business to prepare for the future. “We compete in volatile industries that keep our business in flux, which is challenging for a company with an aggressive growth plan,” Creamer says. “We support leaders in calculating risk and investing in the capabilities, talent and workplace that will keep us competitive and customer-focused.”
Such efforts are apparently working. In comparison to a past survey, a recent ITT employee survey revealed solid employee engagement. But Creamer says it’s all a work in progress.
“We’re constantly striving to improve our work environment and how we work together,” she observes. “(But) we are a company made of people who live to drive innovation and solve problems.”
Creamer’s advice for other HR specialists struggling to maintain high standards in an ever-evolving environment?
“Always lead with values, never sacrifice integrity, learn the business — and most of all, remember we continue to learn each day and we need to be agile. Things will change, and that’s OK.”