Transforming Culture at Benchmark: Insights from CHRO Rhonda Buseman

by Benchmark / June 7, 2024

In a recent episode of the Culture Amplified podcast, Rhonda (Turner) Buseman, Chief Human Resources Officer at Benchmark, shared her profound insights on leading a cultural transformation within our global organization. With 12,000 employees across 24 facilities in eight countries, our transformation is a remarkable case study in purpose-driven leadership, inclusion, and innovation.

The Starting Point: Recognizing the Need for Change

Rhonda joined Benchmark in 2019 as the first hire under the then-recently appointed CEO, Jeff Benck. Benchmark’s culture was heavily finance-centric at that time, reflecting the leadership’s background and the company’s focus on cost and financial performance. The core values were uninspiring and did not resonate with the employees.

Recognizing the need for a more engaging and purpose-driven culture, the leadership team embarked on a journey to redefine the company’s core values and create a more inclusive and innovative environment.

The Core Values: Building a Foundation for Transformation

In 2021, Benchmark refreshed its core values, moving from three finance-focused values to five new ones that better reflected the company’s aspirations and strengths. These new values are: We act with integrity, We value inclusion, We’re committed to customers, We promote ingenuity, and We genuinely care.

The process of redefining these values was inclusive and collaborative. Leadership from around the globe participated in workshops to discuss what was special about Benchmark, what was missing, and what needed to be improved. The result was a set of values that truly represent who Benchmark is and who it aspires to be.

Inclusion and Belonging: Creating a Supportive Environment

A significant part of Benchmark’s cultural transformation is its focus on inclusion and belonging. The company launched a diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy in early 2022 and established an Inclusion Council to promote these values throughout the organization.

“Ultimately, it comes down to creating a feeling of belonging in the organization,” Rhonda stated. By celebrating different cultural events, educating employees, and establishing Employee Resource Groups, Benchmark is working to ensure that every team member feels welcomed and valued.

Leadership’s Role: Modeling and Keeping the Culture

“I think leaders are key. Leaders are the role models and the keepers of the culture,” Rhonda emphasized. Leadership at Benchmark plays a crucial role in demonstrating the desired behaviors and fostering an environment where employees feel valued and included. This top-down approach ensures that the cultural transformation is not just a set of statements on a wall but is lived and breathed daily.

Innovation: Fostering Creativity and Collaboration

Benchmark’s focus on innovation is most evident within its engineering team, where creativity and collaboration are essential. Rhonda shares an example about how the team supports customers when they have an idea for a product, but they’re not really sure how to build it.  

"This is the team of engineers that comes together to ideate and come up with that design and iterate on it, etc. And so creating a great workplace where they want to be and they feel comfortable, I think helps that they can just be themselves and contribute these great ideas to that customer design. And ultimately, we can build a great product from that," she shared.

By creating a supportive workplace environment, Benchmark encourages engineers to contribute their best ideas, leading to innovative solutions for customers.

Continuous Improvement: Engaging Employees in the Process

Benchmark also emphasizes continuous improvement through initiatives like the BEX Olympics, where sites submit projects that yield financial savings and improve work environments. This approach not only drives innovation but also engages employees at all levels in the process of making Benchmark a better place to work.

Defining A Purpose

Rhonda believes defining a clear purpose is a critical next step in Benchmark’s cultural transformation. A campaign was launched to gather employee input to be used to create a purpose statement that connects employees’ daily work to the broader impact Benchmark has on the world.

“Our global purpose campaign invited all 12,000 employees to provide their ideas and input into how do we make the world better,” Rhonda shared. This initiative aims to give employees a sense of purpose and pride in their work, further strengthening the company’s culture.


Benchmark’s cultural transformation, led by Rhonda Buseman and the leadership team, is a testament to the power of purpose-driven leadership, inclusion, and innovation. By redefining core values, fostering a sense of belonging, and encouraging continuous improvement, Benchmark is creating a workplace where employees feel valued and motivated to contribute their best. As Rhonda aptly put it, “It’s culture that leads to people performance, which leads to operational and financial performance.”

For more insights and to hear Rhonda Buseman's full commentary, listen to the Leading a Cultural Transformation podcast from Culture Amplified on Spotify or your favorite podcast platform.

about the author


Benchmark is a global product realization services company with unique capabilities in aerospace, defense, complex industrials, semiconductor capital equipment, next-gen communications, advanced computing, and medical technologies. Our services support your innovative products, from concept through volume production, with design engineering, precision machining, full-system electronic assembly, and lifecycle management.