A Culture of Purpose

Veronica Delgado and her team at Universal Weather and Aviation have deployed Harrison Assessments and other measures to cultivate the company’s close-knit, can-do attitude in new employees

Photo: Laura Garza

With more than twenty years of experience in HR and an avid passion for empowering her employees, Veronica Delgado firmly believes anyone can do anything they set their minds to. Within her own career, she takes hold of every opportunity to do something that excites her passions.

From working with Women in Aviation to standing as a former abiding member on the board of directors for Dreams Soar, Delgado channels her passions both into her work and beyond to help women around the world make the most of life in ways they may have never thought possible. As the senior vice president of HR and global workforce development for Universal Weather and Aviation (Universal), her core value to empower others has become integral to the organization’s success. Throughout her time at Universal, she has worked alongside the company’s CEO, Ralph Vasami, to promote a culture of purpose that allows employees to feel more fulfilled in their jobs and teaches them how to make their work meaningful by connecting with their personal goals as well as the organization’s.

Veronica Delgado Universal Weather and Aviation
Photo: Innovation Studios

Universal’s culture centers on the importance of entrepreneurial spirit and shared family values. The company diligently encourages its employees to unite under common goals while also inspiring them to differentiate themselves within their positions. By restructuring the company’s onboarding process and strengthening its internal relationships, Delgado and her team—branded as the “people and places team,” to enforce community—have demonstrated how orchestrating these behaviors helps the company succeed; at the same time, they have promoted creativity by recognizing the beauty of the differences found within individual uniqueness.

The team’s success on these fronts has benefited from the combination of Delgado’s business acumen and HR expertise. Coming from a business background, she considers herself a “businesswoman who happens to do HR.” When Universal was seeking a way to combine its HR function with the mission of the CEO, Delgado crafted a powerful solution.

“There’s a nice gray way of looking at human resources to make sure that you have the right culture to bring the perfect people into the organization that you represent,” Delgado says. “A lot of my background is focused on being a leader who promotes diversity of thought, who challenges the norms, who tries to ensure people consistently appreciate the value they add.”

As she leads Universal’s HR function from an entrepreneurial perspective, she recognizes that creating a well-run business requires establishing the right team. Universal’s diverse and capable HR team utilizes Harrison Assessments’ talent-analytics system to match candidates not only with the right job but with Universal’s culture. As a job-specific behavioral assessment, Harrison enabled the HR team to benchmark a critical position in which it was experiencing high turnover during the intense six-month training. Within the first year of implementing the new success template for selection, turnover of new hires was reduced by more than 30 percent; through more effective implementation of Harrison’s candidate-specific behavioral interviewing guide, Universal expects to further reduce turnover.

Partnering with Veronica Delgado’s team, Dawson Consulting Group facilitated leveraging Harrison Assessments’ best-in-class solutions to achieve cultural transformation, from hiring and onboarding to succession planning and leadership development. Delgado’s strategic approach to implementation, coupled with integrated HR processes, enabled Universal to build on each success across the talent cycle for organizational and employee success.

Harrison is the preferred system to assess and validate Universal’s modified nine-box high-potential process. The comprehensive development reports provide predictive value for leadership roles, emotional intelligence, and other competencies; in addition, they enable leaders to target specific traits for development and accelerate succession readiness.

Delgado plans to further optimize the ROI in Universal’s cultural transformation by customizing a culture-success template using Harrison’s system, facilitating selection and development consistent with its cultural values.

Successful new hires are acclimated into their respective teams by being partnered with other employees, guaranteeing that each new employee receives the onboarding support they need specific to their engagement expectations; for high-potential hires, Harrison Assessments’ employee-specific Engagement & Retention Analysis, with fulfillment and motivational gap recommendations, facilitates a culture of mutual responsibility, in which employee and manager collaborate to ensure engagement and retention.

“We recognize that every single person is different, and subsequently, everybody’s growth model and what they want to become is different,” Delgado says. “We’re trying our best to connect the aspirations of our employees with Universal’s mission to bolster its future success.”

Once employees settle into their positions, Delgado and the leadership team cultivate their sense of the company’s familial culture by encouraging them to become involved with every aspect of the organization. Universal has even partnered with Lone Star Flight Museum to allow employees with no previous aviation experience to develop a better understanding of how their work positively impacts the field. Delgado says that these initiatives “promote continuity and give employees purpose directly connected with Universal’s mission.”

Through Delgado and her team’s efforts, they have successfully built a culture that thrives on taking the initiative. As Universal navigates its way through management changes, Delgado confidently believes that the culture she and her team have worked hard to inspire will persist for years to come, empowering employees to leverage their passions, take risks, and enjoy everything life offers—with no reservations.