Volume 45, Issue 9 - November/December  2006

AMD Headlines

In Search Of …
Good Employees To Help Company Prosper
by Dan Barber

To say there’s a lot of “change in the world” seems to be an understatement. The blur of the past year has seemed like the last 20 all in one. 

Last year, what began as just another tropical storm warning ended as a major natural catastrophe of the largest magnitude. The events that followed last year’s hurricanes have changed our lives like nothing we’ve previously known. The direct physical impact to our area (southwest Alabama) was in no way as severe as to the communities to our west, (namely the Mississippi coast and Louisiana) where the impact has been great.

Although our business was closed only for a week due to a power outage, the recovery began slowly. The biggest challenge turned out to be one we all face daily and encountered even before the storm: getting our employees—administrative staff, production workers, maintenance workers, warehouse workers, drivers, sales staff and customer service workers—back to work.

No Magic Answer
As you know, without a complete workforce, we are limited as to our capacity of operation. This major event only heightened a problem many of us were and are facing. 

Our company is like many others: we value our employees as the best asset we have. They make us successful and allow us to grow. We have processes for hiring good people and training them, we strive to compensate them fairly, provide the needed benefits and accommodate their needs as best we can. This we must do, and we must remain viable in a very competitive industry. 

The Golden Rule
How do we accomplish this? We must return to a basic tenant of humanity: we must treat our employees as we would like to be treated. Does that sound familiar? It is something many of us have heard all of our lives. 

To accomplish this, we must take time and reflect on what motivates us, what encourages us, what provides us with the securities we naturally seek? We must identify our expectations for ourselves personally and within our work arena. Then we must take this attitude to our employees and sincerely treat them as we would like to be treated.

Put Your Listening Ears On
One of the best ways to motivate and encourage those who work with us is by listening. Yes, listening. If you really stop and think about it, listening is hard for most of us. We are usually in a mode of telling others what we want and how we want it done. 

We must listen. We need to do it more too. Listening provides us with fresh ideas (something we are willing to pay for at seminars all over the country), but most of all, it will unlock the best asset we have: our employees. When we listen and involve our employees, they become a vital part of the team, and valued employees will attract others who want to be a part of something successful. 

These team members, both present and future, are what I started out saying we all need and probably the hardest to source. Employees and good employees will allow our companies to grow and prosper. They are a resource we all need more of, so let’s all stop and listen.

Dan Barber is the vice president of finance and administration for Barnett Millworks Inc., an AMD board member and AMD treasurer.

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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.