The Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce celebrated the accomplishments of two local businesses in late April, conferring the BDC Business Person of the Year Award to Mr. Eric MacKeen, General Manager of Tri County Ford, and the Community Credit Union Business Excellence Award to MBW Courier.  Eric MacKeen and Grant Rhodenizer, General Manager of MBW Courier, were each proud to receive the awards, but humbly deflected the attention, extending recognition to the efforts of their staff in achieving the company’s success.  Eric and Grant acknowledged the award as being earned by the team.

The keynote speaker for the award gala, Mr. John Peller, CEO of Andrew Peller Wines, was equally engaged with his local staff.  While John resides in Ontario and employs several hundred staff, he has developed a connection with the local team.

He acknowledged many by their first names, and further engaged many in personal discussion beyond an employee/boss relationship.  John’s openness towards his staff appears to have developed into a team of inspired, engaged and loyal staff, built around a mutual respect for one another.

The executive of the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce has had the privilege to visit a number of the large manufacturers within Colchester over the past six months.  I was amazed by the demographic of employees performing the complex tasks within these facilities, where many were quickly approaching retirement. Senior managers showed enormous pride when explaining the years of service many employees have offered their employer, and further perplexed at how to replace the skills upon retirement.

The generation of individuals entering the workforce now is a group of connected individuals living in a society filled with technological gadgetry. The ability to motivate this generation of employees is different than past generations, while integrating them into an existing workforce built around different principles may present challenges.

Employers channel significant financial and human resources attempting to attract and retain staff.  With a new hire comes a cost of training and reduced productivity, while the screening process for selecting new employees may not always be successful.

In many ways investing in your current staff and building a positive culture, may offer a more valuable return.  Employees tend to show greater loyalty to their employer, extending service and quality because they believe in and share the values of their employer.  This can potentially contribute to lower employee turnover.

Employee recognition can come in many forms, but understanding the personality of individual employees is important. Some welcome public praise, while others may prefer a simple note of thanks.  Recognizing production milestones through a staff barbecue or event can help build team moral.
Even a simple thank you or passing along a positive comment from a customer on an employee’s level of service is rewarding to the staff member.

Employees play an important and vital role in the success of a company.  Those companies that invest and recognize their staff often excel among their peers.

Andrew Lake is the President  of the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce