As Director of HR at Xylem, Jennifer Todd-Wilson is in a unique position to understand what all the departments in her division do. Learn how she helps drive a customer-centric approach across Xylem, and how her volunteer work helped bring clean drinking water to a village for the first time.
Jennifer is the Director of Human Resources for Xylem’s Applied Water Systems in the EMEA and for Specialty Flow Control globally. Xylem’s Applied Water Systems (AWS) supplies pumps and equipment for residential, commercial and industrial use. This year two AWS brands are celebrating big milestones, with Lowara’s 50thanniversary and Jabsco’s 80thanniversary.
After five years working in HR in Xylem Oceania, Jennifer relocated to Italy. There she works with leadership teams to drive a more customer-centric culture at large manufacturing sites. She is a passionate traveler and a mentor to a number of young professionals. She is also an ambassador for Xylem Watermark, Xylem’s corporate citizenship program that improves water resources for people around the world.
What is a typical day at work like?
I’m fortunate to work across a number of countries and cultures within Xylem. A typical day for me involves travelling to one of our AWS or Specialty Flow Control manufacturing sites and talking with leaders and employees.
One of the focus areas for this year includes creating a more customer-centric atmosphere at our sites. We look to include topics focused more on customers and innovation, on highlighting important customer metrics in offices and manufacturing areas, and on improving our quality culture.
We’ve also raised the profile of Xylem Watermark. I’m proud that all of our sites in Europe, the US and Mexico achieved their participation hours target for 2018 by the end of Q3. Their volunteer hours demonstrate the commitment of our people to their communities and our cause.
What has been your favorite project at Xylem?
Coming from the Commercial Team in Australia to the AWS Growth Center in EMEA, based in Montecchio Maggiore in Italy, has really given me an opportunity to understand the whole value chain of our business and the demands faced upstream and downstream within the business. Bringing a more customer-centric approach to our factories is really my driving force.
On a personal level, having the opportunity to bring clean drinking water to the people of Malamala Village in Fiji during a Watermark trip with Xylem Oceania was an incredibly moving experience. I will always remember not only the village people who danced in the streets after drinking clean water for the first time, but also how fortunate we felt as leaders of this company to be able to give this opportunity to others.
What are some of the challenges you experience in your role?
We are continuously improving our quality and lead-time standards to meet the expectations of our customers. As a leadership team we are establishing ourselves as thought leaders and innovators in how quality can drive growth.
Also, this year we celebrated two very important milestones with our customers, the 50-year anniversary of our Lowara brand and the 80-year anniversary of our Jabsco brand. The loyalty of our customers and channel partners during this time demonstrates how a combination of customer-first innovation and excellent customer service has driven the success of these brands for Xylem.
It’s important we keep listening intently to our customers’ needs and evolving these brands for continued market leadership and success.
How do you look to solve some of those challenges?
I believe I have an overall responsibility as an advocate for our people and our brands. Connecting our people to the overall mission of Xylem, or Watermark, how they contribute to it, and how their work is meaningful. This might be through encouraging them to get more feedback from their managers or peers, thinking about their professional development and well-being at work, or working closely with a customer to really understand how we can deliver on their needs.
I also try to encourage people to connect with and learn from each other. HR is in a unique position – we are required to understand what all departments do. In this way we can help people collaborate at a deeper level, enhancing efficiency and delivering better outcomes for our customers. I also encourage our employees to make use of social media tools to share information and use their own networks to build the Xylem brand.