Features

Dan Gordon – Mingledorff’s

For HR leader, the H of HVAC stands for the human element

For the past 84 years, Mingledorff’s of Peachtree Corners, Georgia, has provided equipment, parts and services to heating, ventilation and air conditioning dealers and contractors throughout the Southeast. In 2022, it pulled in over $800 million in revenue.

Yet, leadership and executives have their sights set much higher with the plans of reaching a billion dollars in annual sales by the end of 2025. To prepare for current and future growth, the company hired Dan Gordon as its head of human resources in 2022.

He brought nearly three decades of human resources experience with him and believes that one aspect is crucial to reaching the billion-dollar mark: people, not just scaling products and services.

Dan Gordon | Chief Human Resources Officer | Mingledorff’s

Dan Gordon | Chief Human Resources Officer | Mingledorff’s | Photo Credit: Cody Minzer

“The focus of my team rests squarely on attracting and retaining great talent,” he tells Vision. “I have learned from experience that success depends on having the right talent in place and ensuring team members feel welcome, appreciated and rewarded for their efforts.”

Upon starting with Mingledorff’s, he noticed the company already had a fantastic culture in place, as seen in its mission, open and transparent communications, community impact and family-first values. As such, he concentrated on building a robust human resources department, enhancing existing programs and developing new ones. He also immediately started work on improving a variety of processes, including onboarding.

“I didn’t want just to come in and change everything,” Gordon says. “Rather, I wanted to automate and smooth out certain processes to reflect better the modernization journey the company is undertaking regarding our people—all while still staying true to the small family business values that led to the company’s success.”

Tech steamrolls HR speedbumps

To streamline onboarding, Gordon pushed for an integrated process with the company’s existing ADP platform, which handles payroll, time and attendance, benefits, paid time off and other employee functions.

However, the Mingledorff’s version of the ADP platform was not designed and configured to deliver a seamless onboarding experience for candidates. Candidates joining the organization experienced a fragmented process with several steps for them and the human resources team. Both parties had to access various systems to add information such as home addresses, phone numbers, emergency contacts, payroll and benefits information. New hire paperwork requiring signatures was sent as PDFs to the employees, which HR then had to review and upload into a document management system.

Dan Gordon | Chief Human Resources Officer | Mingledorff’s

Gordon also felt new hires weren’t receiving a proper welcome when joining the company, just a slew of paperwork. Within the first year of stepping into his role, Gordon created a welcome video featuring the CEO and chairman to present to new hires.

Through his and his team’s efforts, new hires now receive an email with a link to an integrated new hire onboarding process delivered by ADP that includes the welcome video, new hire paperwork and direct data capture. They still must fill out some information outside of ADP, including the I-9 form, though he’s working to deliver that through ADP as well.

“We’re constantly improving, asking new hires and the HR team about their experience so I can see the hiccups and smooth them out,” Gordon says.

An elevator to sustained professional success

One of those improvements took the form of the Elevate program, launched as part of Mingledorff’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives led by Shane McKnight, general manager of Holden and Associates, and Joelle Thomas, its director of finance. Gordon and his team fully supported the creation and introduction of the career development program in fall 2022.

Open to any employee who is in good standing and has completed one year at Mingledorff’s, the nine-month program provides detailed information on various positions and opportunities within the company to those selected by the leadership team through an application process. The first pilot class of 25 front-line employees included warehouse and inside sales team members.

“Just like our website says, ‘We believe that to build a great company, we must help our employees reach their full potential,’ and the Elevate program was designed by Shane and Joelle to do just that,” Gordon says.

Dan Gordon | Chief Human Resources Officer | Mingledorff’s

Photo Credit: Cody Minzer

According to him, among other benefits, the program enables participants to gain first-hand knowledge from successful employees in sales, operations management and various other positions. This occurs during three in-person meetings where panelists answer questions such as, “What does it mean to be a territory manager?” or “What is the difference between the responsibilities of a general manager versus an operations manager or territory manager?” The program also focuses on personal growth through skills that are crucial to all roles. They even cover developing a personal brand through effective demeanor with things like proper handshakes and smiles.

“From the feedback we received from our first group of participants, which recently completed the program, it was a tremendous success,” says Gordon, adding they’ve expanded the program to invite all roles at the company and are very excited for the second iteration, which will start in September 2023.

HR enhancements spring eternal  

Gordon and his team are currently looking to redesign and refresh the company intranet. When launched next year, it is expected to deliver an enhanced employee experience that will drive talent retention. It will be designed to keep employees informed of important company details, as well as deliver engaging content and highlight opportunities for professional growth. It will also provide a means for them to connect and collaborate with fellow colleagues on a different level.

As someone who values the importance of being prepared, Gordon believes a talent review process and subsequent succession plan is a crucial initiative for any organization. He is working with leadership to design and implement a succession program to prepare the organization if long-tenured leaders and/or key employees decide to leave the company. This involves redesigning the talent review process to provide consistent feedback to those in leadership roles and connect management closely with those they oversee.

Dan Gordon | Chief Human Resources Officer | Mingledorff’s

He’s also introducing key performance indicators and utilizing data and analytics to make HR decisions about the workforce.

As much as Gordon enjoys his work, he does look forward to passing the torch in the future, leaving Mingledorff’s with a strong foundation for continued growth. When speaking to Vision in August 2023, he and his wife, Laura, had recently returned from trips to Australia, New Zealand and the Cayman Islands. They have a lot of plans for traveling the world and visiting their children, Sydney and Grant. He also hopes to play more golf.

Until then, he’s focused on helping Mingledorff’s reach its 2025 billion-dollar-revenue target and ensuring the human resources framework supports that push.

“For this nearly century-old family-owned company, the goal isn’t just to increase revenue but to create an employee experience that makes Mingledorff’s the first choice for current and future customers and employees,” Gordon says.

View this feature in the Vol. V 2023 Edition here.

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