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Reality HR August 15, 2006

Date: August 15 2006

Reality HR
Dear ,

Welcome to the Reality HR - Best Practices from HR Executives Newsletter! You are receiving this email because as a member of the community you have expressed an interest in receiving our Reality HR update. It is our mission at to always provide you with the most relevant and up-to-date HR information. To alter your subscription preferences or noted areas of interest please update your online profile here.

The following interview is a condensed version of's Live one hour webcast presented by Aileen MacMillan.

Reality HR: Laurel Ditson, VP Baxa Corporation on Improving Performance Management Processes to Increase Top Line Revenue

This Best of Reality HR interview was originally posted in May, 2006 on site at Laurel Ditson is the Vice President of Organizational & Associate Development for Baxa Corporation, and she facilitates the company's strategic planning. She spoke with's Aileen MacMillan about her role in HR, training and development, and information systems. Laurel Ditson will be participating in's Employeers of Excellence National Event in Las Vegas 2006.

Laurel Ditson is the Vice President of Organizational & Associate Development for Baxa Corporation. She has been with Baxa since 1999 and currently has responsibilities for HR, training and development, and information systems, and she facilitates the company's strategic planning.

Laurel has been in HR management for 25 years and her career has spanned three distinct industries beginning with retail, moving to the non-profit sector, and now in manufacturing. Laurel has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado in Boulder, a Masters degree in Management from Regis University and she has been certified as a SPHR since 1997.

AM: Could begin by telling us about Baxa and your role there?

LD: Baxa Corporation is a 31-year-old company that provides solutions to pharmacies primarily for safe preparation, handling, packaging and delivery of liquid medication. We streamline pharmacy practice, so you would be familiar with us mostly if you are a hospital pharmacist. We help them out by increasing patient safety, by delivering accurate and efficient systems.

It's a fascinating industry; truly a niche, and is a very enjoyable industry to work in. I came here in January of 1999 as the Director of Human Resources. There's been pretty incredible growth and we now consider ourselves a high-performance organization, never satisfied with where we are but certainly moving in that direction. As you mentioned I also have functional responsibility, in addition to the HR and training, for Information Systems and the Strategic Planning process.

AM: Could we speak about the business conditions that brought you to take a closer look at your Performance Management (PM) processes?

LD: When I came here, we were pretty much a mom and pop organization at that point and we knew that we were set for some pretty good growth in the future. We knew we would have to make some operational changes first, so we were putting in a lean initiative. Fortunately the President of the company, Greg Baldwin (who is now our CEO) is a dream for an HR professional to work for. He really does understand the human capital side of it and obviously the performance management side. So while operations was busy getting their house in order, that gave me the chance to set the foundations for PM. We knew just having the right mechanics in place is only a part of the equation. We geared up to fine-tune the PM process at the same time. It took us a couple of years, actually, but that is where we started the work in conjunction with our operational procedures; with the goal of blowing the top off some of our sales growth.

AM: So you had a manual process and made the move towards a technology-based process.

LD: We had a totally manual process for everything we did, which meant the compliance was pretty haphazard. When you have low compliance, you know that you don't have alignment. You may have some centers of excellence, if you will, within the organization. But we had what I would also consider some centers of mediocrity. We knew we had to align everybody with that rapid growth and get all 200 associates marching in the same direction.

AM: Many organizations today are striving to tighten the link and build alignment. Can you talk to us also about how you aligned all of your human capital management processes?


For All Members:
- View the entire article here. All articles are now available to all logged in members of for FREE.
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Aileen MacMillan, Analyst with, specializes in performance management.

Aileen's work centers on evaluating how performance management impacts organizational success and assessing the various technology solutions available to support performance management. Aileen has a background in psychology. Through her work in the field of social services, Aileen gained experience in the area of clarification of goals, goal tracking and development planning. She has been involved with the planning and implementation of conferences focusing on youth engagement, as well as conducting research projects on Corporate Social Responsibility.

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Here's another Reality HR archive you may be interested in:

Part 2 - Delivering "Labor-on-Demand" in the Era of Globalization

In this webcast archive you will learn:
  • How to design and implement a world class Labor Supply Chain built atop Six Sigma type process mapping and modeling.
  • The mandatory software components of the talent management suite required to meet these new challenges.
  • The next generation of talent management systems in production at Valero today.
  • How to quickly create a repository of employee knowledge skills.
  • How to analyze job characteristics and ultimately deploy global labor-on-demand.

This webcast archive is free for ALL Members of (MP3 and PowerPoint downloads only available to our Premier and Corporate members)


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