Michael J. Black | National Marker Co. owner and president
If I can point to one reason for the success of National Marker Co., it is our associates.
We spend a significant part of our time involving and rewarding staff. The truth is, the best answers come from them.
The leap to that approach is not by chance, however. It takes a focused effort and very specific steps.
First, we hire for heart and passion, and once associates are hired, we do our best to engage them directly.
One quote that people have heard often from me: “People do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
For instance, managers are required to introduce all associates to me. I go out of my way to meet them in person, as well as in town hall meetings. You won’t get buy-in unless you make the effort to engage them as full members of the team.
Both managers and peers reward associates through programs designed to recognize out-of-the-box thinking or support of company values.
One other point: If you want to get the best ideas out of your associates, they need to know about as much of the operation as possible, so we require all associates to learn more than one job.
And finally, when monthly goals are met, company executives make lunch for all the associates. It is a way to celebrate our wins but also to emphasize how we got there in the first place – by the passion and engagement of everyone in the company.