ERC Celebrates 99 Years!

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It's our 99th birthday! In recognition of this milestone, ERC President Kelly Keefe and Senior Vice President Carrie Morse discuss our past, present, and future in this commemorative video. Their full conversation is transcribed below. 

kelly-keefeKELLY KEEFE, President

Q: Tell us when and why ERC got started.
A: ERC was founded in 1920 in response to the labor movement. A group of employers got together to create better practices for both employers and employees.

Q: What are some of the key changes in the organization since you started?
A: I’ve been lucky enough to be at ERC for 15 years. In that time, the organization has changed tremendously. We were only serving organizations here in Northeast Ohio when I first started. Today, we are serving organizations across the country and around the globe. Our services have grown as well, in response to many issues that employers are facing, such as talent shortage. We have become more sophisticated in the products we are providing in order to help organizations attract and retain talent.

Q: How would you describe ERC's current culture?
 I would describe ERC’s workplace culture as a place that I look forward to going to every day. We believe in our core values, and we live them day to day. One thing that we focus on is our “F” culture. That means we put family first, we are fun, we allow flexible work schedules, we are financially supportive, and we are fitness-minded. We do all of these things as an organization for each of the employees so that we can live who we are, but also work together. 

The “F” culture was not something that I wanted to push from the top to the bottom. What I wanted to do was create groups – groups of people who don’t typically work together. The employees choose the groups that they want to be a part of. For example, if I have interest in fitness or a flexible work arrangement, I am able to get together with other peers who feel a strong commitment to that as well.

Q: What do you value most about working here?
 What I value most about ERC, hands down, is the people. I look forward to coming to work every single day. I look forward to hearing about weekends, hearing about things that happened the night before, hearing about family. And also, I enjoy the work that we are doing together. We know that we are making a difference in people’s lives.

Q: Most memorable moment for you at ERC?
A: When I think about my favorite events or moments, I come back to NorthCoast 99 every year. The event that happens in early fall is something that I know is a true labor of love for every person involved at ERC. We work together tirelessly throughout the entire year, but especially at the end of the summer, leading up to our big finale, our big event. We have worked so hard with employers across Northeast Ohio to share their stories about what they are doing to make a difference for their employees. That is my favorite memory every year.

Personally, a very important moment to me is when the Board of Directors of ERC said that Kelly Keefe would be running ERC as the next President. Knowing this organization has been around for the time it was – 98 years  to be a part of this culture, and more importantly, to be the first female President of ERC, is something that I will never forget, and I don’t take this job lightly.

Q: What is your vision for ERC's future?
A: My vision for ERC for the next 99 years is that it continues to stay true to why it was created. I hope, as we are today, that the next 99 years allow for the same transparency between employers and employees and allow us to help employers across the world create wonderful workplaces. We are on a mission here at ERC. We know that we are making a difference. We know that we can help change culture. We know that we can help leaders become the best leaders they can be. Together, I hope, with all of our members and our clients, that in the next 99 years, we will continue to live out that vision.

CARRIE MORSE, Senior Vice President


Q: What are some of the key changes you've observed in the HR industry in your 17 years at ERC?
A: Engaged individuals and high-performing teams are what’re making a difference in workplaces around the United States. ERC has always worked with organizations who saw that, but we are seeing so much more of that now in leaders who truly believe in this concept. And that is for HR what is continuing to make its mark and grow within the organizations that we serve.

Q: How have ERC's service lines and offerings evolved over the years?
Today, ERC offers training, consulting, research, and HR support services, all with a custom approach to the clients that we serve. We truly look at each client’s situation, challenges, and opportunities to creatively deliver what’s going to make a difference and an impact in their workplace. 

Q: How is ERC helping to make workplaces great?
We make an impact by helping companies attract and retain top-performing people through everything we do. One of the programs that we created 21 years ago is our NorthCoast 99 program. This program measures workplace practices as well as assesses top performers within the organizations that apply. Any applicant is able to use this data to benchmark their practices against those of leading workplaces and leading cultures. We are so proud of what we have been able to build and give back to the corporate community in our region.

Q: What do you value most about working here?
What I value most is our team. We are as creative and fun as we are flexible and collaborative. It is truly a pleasure to come to work every day and work with so many talented individuals in a fun environment.

Q: Most memorable moment for you at ERC?
My most memorable moment at ERC was probably my first NorthCoast 99 event back in 2002. The famous management author Tom Peters was going to be delivering our keynote, and we had 900 guests coming from the 99 winning organizations. It was my first time running the event all the way through. The leaders believed in me to get the job done, and everyone on our team supported me and helped make it an easy and fun task. It has been a pleasure to honor so many organizations over the 17 years that I have done this program.

Q: What is your vision for ERC's future?
We will continue to grow and develop custom solutions to truly listen to what businesses need and then deliver flexible solutions that include training, consulting, HR support services, and much more to help these companies make an impact in the industries in which they work. ERC, as an organization, will keep pushing the envelope around a great culture for our own internal team here. With strong leaders and a firm belief in the work that we deliver, ERC will continue to keep a pulse on the organizations that we serve.

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