view looking up at financial district buildings

The Leadership Imperative

An interview with the Financial Times Moral Money Americas Summit

As more companies point to their purpose as a moral compass or a higher calling for employee engagement, the real work is in translating that vision into action and ownership for everyone in the organization. In an interview with Financial Time's Moral Money Americas Summit, Dave Regnery shares how Trane Technologies is putting sustainability squarely at the center of growth and innovation, building an inclusive culture, and generating an uplifting force for the entire company.

"I think purpose creates value for our people and our culture."

Dave Regnery

CEO, Trane Technologies

An interview with the Financial Times Moral Money Americas Summit

Do you think it's changed whether people come to work for a paycheck or a purpose? I definitely think that a purpose creates value for the employees and for the company. At the end of the day, it's your culture that differentiates you as a company, it's your culture, right? I always tell people that over time our competitors can replicate our products, they could probably even replicate our processes, what they can't replicate is our culture. And that culture is one that you have to really be attentive to, not only as a CEO but as every leader in the company.  What we do with our employee engagement survey is - and we've learned this over time - but you can't just take it from the top-down, it doesn't work right? Every people leader that has more than five individuals that work for them gets an individual employee engagement score. An individual score. And then they work a plan and then that builds up so it's grassroots up not top-down. Top-down it becomes my message. Well, I could be, I'm very passionate about Trane Technologies, I'm very passionate about our culture and our employees. I need everyone to have that same empowerment and that's why when we implemented our ESG goals right? We pushed that down into the organization, it's just not me that has an ESG goal it's 2,300 of our top leaders in the company that have ESG goals and they're all the same goal by the way. And to be clear, you're talking about that being part of their annual incentives, aren't you? I believe that's it's 20 percent of the annual bonuses at stake depending on when they meet those goals? Plus, or minus 20 percent, you're exactly right.  So but it's very impactful right, you don't as a leader you don't want to be the only one, I want, I want everyone to be engaged, I want everyone to be aligned more importantly as to where we're going. And our 2030 sustainability commitments really become that that north star for us. And what was the reaction when you told people that 20 percent of their bonus it might be a risk if you didn't meet those goals? To be honest with you I think that I'm sure there are some maybe naysayers, but I would say the vast majority were like fantastic this is what we do every day. You know I mean sustainability it's not a nice thing to do at Trane Technologies, it's what we do every day it's the way we talk to our employees it's the way we engage our customers. And you know all the way from our board of directors all the way down to an operator on the line okay it's the same exact dialogue it's the same purpose that we've created in our company. One of the other goals you have I believe is increasing female representation in management level roles and in the US increasing racial and ethnic diversity representation in your offices. What are your targets there and how are you doing against them? Yeah well, we want gender parity um by 2030. And uh we're we have a track that we're on there we're making improvements but at the end of the day you know it's a pretty simple equation, right? Great individuals are good, great teams are better, great diverse teams win. And there's science behind that and what we're doing is creating great diverse teams. That's our goal, that's part of the ESG targets that are part of everyone's comp; that we want to be diverse, you know we want diversity in our teams, right? Because we know diversity of thought, diversity of imagination, that's all part of how you win it's so important. And, by the way, it's not just about hiring diversity, right? Because you always have to hire the best candidate, let's give diversity a chance so let's make sure we have balanced slates for new employees, new hiring positions. But it's also about making sure when you have diversity, how do you hold on to that diversity? And that's where this we uplift one another, that's where that came from. That came from our employees by the way that's part one of our leadership principles we uplift one another. Because we have to be allies of diversity, right? Because otherwise, it falls apart right? We want everyone to bring their best self to work every day and to share their opinions, that's what makes diversity work. So, we're very excited about where we are, you know I couldn't be prouder of what this company's been able to achieve and I would tell you the future is very, very bright.