Awards & Engraving

July '16

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48 • A&E JULY 2016 Sales & Marketing THE WORLD MARKETPLACE OF TROPHIES & AWARDS Transparency does not mean that you have to share every reason for making a decision with all of your employees, but if you make a consistent effort to include them wherever possible within the frame- work of goals and expectations for the business, you will have a positive team of employees that feel as though they play important roles for the company. The more important that an employee feels, the better that they feel about themselves. This works positively toward company culture improvement. Teamwork is the culmination of trans- parency and consistency. Once you dem- onstrate to your employees that you have a structured, consistent environment, they will respond well together. Employees that feel like they have a definition of purpose in their work feel as though their work has specific importance, which in itself is rewarding. Once you have worked with the team to implement this framework, you will find that they work much better than they ever have as a team. Last but not least comes attitude. In our company, we define this as working with a smile. I stress to everyone that espe- cially when dealing with customers on the phone, it is imperative to work with a smile. Customers can "hear" a frown on the phone. Beyond that, everyone needs to smile when working with the others on their team. Working with a smile is an attitude. This contributes mightily to a positive corporate culture. The steps outlined above will go far toward allowing you to change your cor- porate culture for the better. Never take for granted the fact that your employees look at you to set the tone as well as the direc- tion of your business. To steer the business in the right direction takes a number of elements. A good culture can help lead you in the right direction. Eric Priceman is President of Victory, division of Planter Inc. in Chicago, Illinois. In his over three decades in the awards and engraving industry, he has traveled extensively, both domestically and internationally, visiting cus- tomers and suppliers. He is happy to share his unique perspectives of the industry, both past and present. Please feel free to contact Eric by email at or by phone at 773-637-7777 ext. 228. two things happen: (1) You lay out the expectations that you have for your employees, and (2) You sit down with your employees and find out what their expectations are from the company. The most important step in ensuring that you have a group of employees that is on the same page as you is to make sure that you both understand each other. A harmonious company comes from the ability of management and its employees to work together toward common expectations and goals. Both sides must understand these thoroughly to accomplish this harmony. I work with a mature group of employees and face these challenges. As difficult as these challenges might be, I will not let them block our ability to enact a positive culture, and work relent- lessly toward making things great for all of us. The ultimate goal is to introduce new structure. When I sit down with our employees, we talk about what I expect from them, and I make sure to listen to them when they tell me what they expect from our company. I let them know that their efforts are appreciated and stress to them that their points will be listened to. I talk about four important things that we strive to keep at the company's forefront at all times: consistency, transparency, team- work and attitude. THE FOUR ACTION WORDS THAT DEFINE COMPANY CULTURE Initially when you introduce structure in a corporate environment, there may be some pushback from employees that are unfamiliar with new processes. Eventually, structure becomes a good thing as it cre- ates consistency. In the case of our company, consistency means that there will be rules and pro- cesses for everyone to follow, not just for a few. We will act on issues quickly once we have had time to understand them, and we will do our best to make decisions that are for the long-term good of our company. We don't believe in Band Aids and try to avoid them at all cost. Over time as employees see that we are consistent, they respond better as we make further changes. As long as your staff believes that you are working toward the greater good, they should react positively to new ideas and processes. Transparency means that everyone will have defined roles and be account- able for them, as well as be expected to fill in when others are out or cannot perform their jobs. We try to remove any hidden agendas and justify everything that we do. A&E

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