Although most of us likely think of Labor Day as the unofficial end of summer, its initial intent was to celebrate the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country. We especially appreciate our employees’ willingness to accommodate alternative work schedules over this holiday weekend in order to meet client commitments.
I was also thinking about our employees in terms of a fascinating article in Fast Company by Bill Catlette and Richard Hadden entitled, “How To Foster Outrageously Awesome Employee Engagement.” Written by the co-authors of “Contented Cows Still Give Better Milk,” they argue that businesses must consider their employees to be their most important competitive advantage. In order to engage employees and harness their power, leadership must establish a core set of principles and understand what motivates them.
One of the aspects of the article that relates strongly to our employees is the Rule of Selective Membership. Working at IWCO Direct isn’t for everyone, but for those who find it to be a good fit, it’s exhilarating. We have high standards and expectations, which requires the energy and flexibility to keep pace with the changes in our industry. There’s no doubt our employees are our competitive advantage.
While we may not do everything the authors suggest, we wanted to touch on a few key ways we work to engage all of the staff at IWCO Direct:
We are committed to honest, direct communication. Through in-person Town Hall meetings and our employee newsletter, our executive team not only recognizes our successes but addresses any challenges we’re facing as a company and what steps will be taken to overcome them.
Our Lean initiatives are predicated on input from everyone. If you’ve been reading our Lean Journey articles, you know our production teams are encouraged and empowered to always think of ways to improve our workflow. Lean focuses on putting systematic processes in place and it demands input and creativity from all employees in order to achieve the desired results.
We encourage charitable works. Whether through toy collections during the holidays, back-to-school drives, raising money for various causes or sending supplies to our troops overseas, our employees regularly take it upon themselves to think beyond our walls and benefit others.
In the spirit of Labor Day, we’re reminded of how integral our employees are to the success of IWCO Direct and our customers’ direct marketing programs. We challenge them, encourage them, hold them accountable, and they never let us down. And for that, we extend a huge thank you to our entire team.
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