At FHI, we have been entrusted to serve some of the most well-respected companies and vendors in the supply chain industry. Being a service provider, we believe that our success begins and ends with two of our core values: integrity and people. That’s simple, but it isn’t easy.
Let’s start by defining our terms:
Integrity: We commit to practice behaviors that promote honesty, trust, and long-term relationships
People: We commit to creating opportunity for our most valuable resources: our associates.
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Company loyalty has become increasingly rare. The job market is competitive so you must connect with your employees early and often or they will be gone. In a time where the supply chain employment gap is growing larger, FHI has had great success ensuring its employees remain loyal by encouraging growth from within. Here are a few strategies that have worked for us.
#1 Remember that your employees are human beings
In many organizations, you see people getting lost in the shuffle, seen only as an employee number. Often, organizations fail to recognize employees for the uniqueness that every person brings to the table. At FHI, we look at and treat our associates like they are more than a number, understanding they are human beings not human doings. We recognize people have feelings and ideas that make them unique. We value the gifts and talents that each person brings to work every day and look for ways to nurture and develop their growth personally and professionally. Our focus is always about the person first, then the associate. We feel if we can help our team be better fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and positive role models in the communities they serve in, this will translate into a better more dedicated associate when they are at work. It’s amazing the return you see to the organization by truly valuing people!
Our team members also have ideas, thoughts, and feelings that we capture through regular associate satisfaction surveys. We don’t do these to check a box or go through the motions but, rather, to see what we can do better to serve our most valuable resource: our associates. Once we hear the voice and heartbeat of our associates, we appoint frontline leaders throughout the company to evaluate what’s been said and then make recommendations to the executive team to act on improving the workplace. Are you looking at your employees as a means to make another dollar or to make a difference?
#2 Reward & recognize
We love to reward and recognize our associates when they live out our purpose and behave in line with our values, not just on an annual basis when a performance review is completed. We encourage understanding that it is not about us competing with but rather completing one another. One of the ways we honor extraordinary service is to share ‘bright spots’ — people who have made a memorable and measurable difference. We understand that praise and recognition is the fuel that ignites a person’s fire to do even more to serve others internally and our customers externally. Remember: people need encouragement and acknowledgement when they are breathing, not once a year at an annual review! What ways do you recognize and reward your employees, beyond annually?
#3 Invest in your associates
Understanding that we don’t manufacture or sell goods, we take seriously the importance of investing in our people. Our commitment is to create opportunity for our most valuable resources: our associates. This has helped us train and retain our top talent over the years, that has the expertise, knowledge, and company culture running through their veins. A few ways that we invest in our associates are corporate training and leadership development programs, service excellence training, life and leadership skill sessions, relationship workshops, utilization of a corporate resource library, online training platforms, and cost-covered technical skills training. We believe the personal and professional development of each associate is a priority to ensuring employee loyalty. How are you investing in your associates?
#4 Structure a leadership model focused on service
Often, people use their promotion for the salary increase, perks, and 401K plans. Our mentality, though, is that of a servant leader where with every promotion comes a greater responsibility to positively influence the lives of those they’ve been entrusted to serve. We have been very successful with promoting from within, which is crucial to maintaining a healthy culture and a connection point with every associate who a leader encounters. The advancement opportunities available to our associates leads to an engaged and dedicated workforce. Over 90% of our leadership team at every level began their career at FHI in an entry level position with the average years of service at 12.25. This empowers associates, ensuring loyalty to the leader and ultimately the organization. This model has served us well. It has been said (and we believe) that everything rises and falls on leadership! Is your business thriving or just surviving with its leadership model?
An organization is only as good as the integrity and performance of their people. We hope these few things bring illumination on the areas where you can focus to ensure a more loyal and engaged workforce. Happy Labor Day!