by Steve Erb, Senior Consultant, True Edge Performance Solutions
On April 7th, the Lancaster Chamber and True Edge Performance Solutions co-sponsored an event at Spooky Nook Sports to focus on the topic of dignity in our workplaces. Bryant Ambelang, CEO-Silver Ventures, was the keynote speaker, and is recognized for leading NatureSweet as the groundbreaking leader of the fresh produce industry driven through unleashing the power of people. A fantastic executive panel from local companies – Genise Wade (CHRO-Wenger Group), Jason Hollinger (President/CEO, Four Seasons), and Joshua Funk (President/CEO, TFB Hospitality) and moderated by Rob Skacel, CEO, True Edge Performance Solutions – shared their perspectives as well as answered questions.
Bryant started his presentation by sharing a letter that his father’s companys’ CEO sent him when he was a week old; a powerful example of caring and showing dignity to his father.
Dignity is defined as, “that which has no price.”. At NatureSweet, Bryant was challenged with increasing productivity under very difficult conditions – high employee turnover and high absenteeism. Bryant engaged his employees to provide them the opportunity to earn more money. How much? Enough to buy their own house. By unleashing the power of his people, NatureSweet was able to increase their productivity by 300%, and their employees and community benefitted. Bryant challenged their employees with productivity goals and rewarded them. They weren’t given the money; they earned it!
Bryant went on to share his learnings in the pursuit of dignity in the workplace:
- “The purpose of business is to create a customer” -Peter Drucker
- Bryant stated that the first customer is the person standing right next to me. Let’s treat our employees well with dignity.
- Work is a form of creative expression, and we are all called to create.
- Finding efficiencies is a form of creativity
- There is no such thing as a company. There are individuals who form a society we call a company and take ownership for decisions.
- Leaders need to prioritize setting the tone of organizational culture
- The only real asset of a company (or society) are its people
- Profit is a measure of sustainability – it is not a purpose. Profit is a means, but not the end goal.
- Listen to each individual’s request seriously – especially on compensation.
- Do not aim at doing the right thing – aim at becoming the kind of people who naturally and with ease do the right thing.
- Character is what I do without thinking … Culture is what an organization does without thinking
- Celebration is to companies what holidays are to societies.
- Don’t tolerate Leadership that doesn’t celebrate
- Let employee’s figure out how best to celebrate
Our local panel weighed in with these key nuggets of wisdom:
- Employees are emphasizing different benefits:
- More flexibility / work-life balance
- Demonstrated growth and development; Promote from within
- Are we valuing our employees by making them wait for medical benefits?
- What factors do employees love about your company:
- Belief in Leadership
- Connection to each other and something bigger than themselves
- Feeling Empowered and involved in decision-making
- Key indicators of good leadership include:
- Focus on long-term outcomes
- Truly care for the organization
- Humility and curiosity to continue to grow and develop
- You need to value and have a relationship with all levels of employees
- Continue to develop yourself as a leader and focus on developing others in your organization
- Make Communication a Priority across your organization
This article was first printed in our August Summer 2022 Edition of Thriving Magazine, you can read more here in our digital issue: Thriving Summer 2022