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Culture is Key to Talent Management


We are happy to share a guest blog from our customer Dori Sonntag, Associate Vice President for Organizational Effectiveness at Gonzaga University. Dori recently co-presented with Reeher’s founder and CEO Andy Reeher at the CASE VIII conference on Gift Officer Lifecycle and Talent Management.

Over the past few years, Gonzaga University’s Advancement Office has learned that at the heart of talent management lies culture. Through our efforts, we have implemented new strategies to attract and retain team members who align with our highest values. As you develop and assess your talent management program, consider the following strategies that may guide your organization to new levels.

Assessment Tools

Training, Coaching and Performance Management

    • Invest in emotional intelligence training for supervisors who serve at the front lines of employee engagement to help them bring out the best in themselves and others.
    • Equip managers with coaching skills to help them set clear goals and expectations, hold accountability and engage employees in ongoing conversations about their career paths.
    • Provide individual coaching and development opportunities for high potential employees or those transitioning to new roles to set them up for long-term success.
    • Define team values and hold employees accountable during the performance review process.

Recognition and Empowerment

    • Celebrate success and progress regularly and encourage all managers to participate in employee recognition efforts.
    • Consider treating employees like donors – cultivate and steward them as investors in your institution by sharing important information, asking for their feedback and showing gratitude for their time and efforts.
    • Build a committee of representatives from various departments and involve them by creating participation and ownership in improving and preserving culture.

Above all else, never stop working to improve culture. The minute you stop caring, is the minute your culture starts dying.

Dori Sonntag is the Associate Vice President for Organizational Effectiveness at Gonzaga University, providing internal consulting and program delivery within University Advancement to drive fundraising and engagement results. She has been with Gonzaga for over 18 years, serving in a variety of roles within the Advancement division.


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