Driving HR Forward
Mary Stoik Dymond has overseen an HR function that's been instrumental in improving employee engagement, retention and even healthy behaviors at Graebel Companies Inc.
By Mark McGraw
Property casualty insurance and employee benefits are not the same thing.
That was what Mary Stoik Dymond wanted to tell her boss and chief financial officer as he hurriedly left her office that day in 1997.
"He left before I could tackle him," she says now with a laugh. "He walked in and told me he was giving me [responsibility for the organization's] benefits, saying benefits were 'the same thing as insurance.' "
At the time, Stoik Dymond was director of risk management at ACX Technologies, a Golden, Colo.-based subsidiary of the Adolph Coors Co. She had reservations about taking on this additional duty that -- whether her CFO realized it or not -- took Stoik Dymond outside her expertise. But the move proved serendipitous.
"I don't regret it, obviously!" she says of her first foray into HR, which led to her being named the organization's vice president of human resources in 1998. "I expanded my knowledge base, [something I wouldn't have been able to do had I not] joined the HR community."
Five years ago, Stoik Dymond moved on to Aurora, Colo.-based global mobility, transportation and logistics services provider Graebel Companies Inc., where she is now senior vice president of human resources.
There too, her knowledge base has continued to grow and she's racked up some noteworthy accomplishments along the way.
Working with Graebel's HR leadership council, Stoik Dymond led the creation of Graebel's first employee-engagement survey in 2009. Since the inaugural survey was conducted, Stoik Dymond has analyzed survey data and implemented practices and initiatives that have resulted in increased employee engagement and retention numbers. Retention has improved by 12 percent since 2009.
For example, she spearheaded an initiative to implement an electronic performance-review and tracking process, which saw completed employee performance reviews rise from 15 percent in 2008 to 76 percent in 2012.
She also routinely combs through survey data to gauge Graebel employees' understanding of their benefits and compensation, and identifies ways to improve employee benefits communication. In that ongoing endeavor, she has increased communication via internal announcements, an intranet site and quarterly town-hall meetings. Employee understanding of pay and benefits, which she says "was our biggest black hole," has improved by 31 percent in the past four years.
Stoik Dymond's work in the benefits arena at Graebel is a point of pride.
In recent years, faced with rising healthcare costs and the option to absorb them and make cuts elsewhere, pass some of the additional cost on to employees or eliminate insurance coverage altogether, she went another route to tame healthcare expenses.
She sourced insurance carriers while implementing the "Be Good to Yourself" employee wellness program -- which includes tools and encouragement for smoking cessation, exercise routines and healthy eating habits -- in fall 2010. To date, Graebel has seen employee health and engagement scores improve by double digits year-over-year.
From 2010 to 2012, the organization has seen a significant decrease in overall health risks among its workforce: a 7-percent reduction in smokers, an 11-percent decrease in people at high risk for cancer and a 5-percent drop in the number of employees with moderate to high coronary risk. Employees have also seen no increase in their company medical and dental costs, and have paid zero out-of-pocket premiums in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Stoik Dymond is quick to share the credit for these impressive statistics.
"The first thing I did was hire an innovative benefits consultant," she says. "Next, we brought on a new benefits director with a passion for health and wellness. She's very experienced, very knowledgeable and she's made my job a lot easier. That's the key: If you've got great people responsible for the major pieces of your department, your job becomes that much easier."
Stoik Dymond -- whose own HR team consists of 19 individuals -- may be inclined to deflect praise, but she has been the architect of an overall HR team at Graebel that has expanded by 66 percent since she joined the company. Graebel now has 2,200 employees in five continents.
"Mary has built a team of human resource, talent management and training professionals at Graebel," says Bill Graebel, the company's chief executive officer. "Under her leadership, this team has made great strides toward our goal to be an employer of choice in our industry."
Stoik Dymond helps guide a number of teams outside the office as well, serving as a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors, the Society for Human Resource Management and the Rocky Mountain Human Resources Planning Society, among others.
Her team at home, however -- her husband of 26 years, Steve, an employment attorney, and 23-year-old son and recent Vassar graduate Andy -- "comes first," she says.
There's also 10-year-old Lily, a corgi, and Raleigh and Nigel, her 200-pound English Mastiffs. Raleigh, 11 years old, is an American and international champion show dog, while "we're working on the champion part" with 2-year-old Nigel, who will soon be hitting the show circuit as well.
"We've got a great family; a great life," Stoik Dymond says. "Being recognized for work is just kind of the icing on the cake."