InTents April/May 2022 - 45

employees don't understand where the
company its into the supply chain. This
type of education can lead to a great discussion
on where the company adds value
to the market.
Once your team members feel like they
are part of the bigger picture, you can
turn the discussion to their individual
contributions. Where do they it into the
bigger scheme? This is where I like to
introduce the concept of an internal customer.
When we talk about the term customer,
most of our employees will think
of someone located outside of our four
walls. In sales, we are critically focused
on the external customer. In operations,
the focus shifts to an internal customer.
The internal customer is the next person
in line during a process. For example, the
internal customer of the person who puts
stock on the shelf is the order picker. The
way the shelf stocker performs his or her
role has a direct impact on the picker's
ability to complete his or her task eficiently.
An interest in personal development
occurs when employees know how
their actions affect the whole.
In order to create a development program,
we irst need to determine the
path. Many companies have a challenge
recruiting good employees because they
can't sell the organization as a career opportunity.
Most of the companies I have
worked with would prefer to develop
their own people and promote from
within as it can be very challenging to integrate
outside talent at higher levels in
the organization. They may have all the
experience in the world, but they just
don't it the culture. Good organizations
have a deined progression for their employees
to advance in the organization,
but most organizations have a loose
career path that is primarily deined in
the six inches between someone's ears.
Unfortunately, it is very hard to create a
program based on a loose idea. It's time
to get it down on paper.
As a leadership team, take the time to
write out the basic progression in the company.
Perhaps it goes something like this:
warehouse, counter, inside sales to outside
sales. That is a basic framework. Then you
can add in deviations required in your
company, such as purchasing or branch
management. Next, break down each
functional area into components, such as
will call counter, front counter or counter
lead. The idea here is to take each of these
individual jobs and deine a set of skills associated
with the function. This will help
you develop a list of skills the employee
must master to be eligible for promotion.
This step might take some time and coordinated
effort to complete, but it will really
help your younger managers get their
arms around employee development.
As we roll out the program to our employees,
we must be sensitive to how it is
communicated. When presenting training
and development opportunities to an
employee, many managers are surprised
when the offer is met with resistance.
The employee could become defensive
and hurt, wrongly perceiving the offer
of education as a direct attack on his or
her ability to do the job. This conlict of
perception can lead to a breakdown in
the program.
To alleviate this potential misunderstanding,
we should present educational
offerings from an employee beneit perspective.
How will the opportunity advance
their career? What speciic needs
does this offering address?
Employee development is a perpetual
activity. We don't have the luxury of the occasional
dabble. Push yourself to see your
employees as a Theory Y leader would.
They want to improve. They want to be
part of something greater. They want to be
successful and have their talent rewarded.
It is up to you to provide the opportunity.
Jason Bader is the managing partner at
The Distribution Team in Portland, Ore.
The responsibility
of a manager, or
a good leader,
is to prepare
employees for the
challenges ahead.
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InTents April/May 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of InTents April/May 2022

InTents April/May 2022 - Cover1
InTents April/May 2022 - Cover2
InTents April/May 2022 - 1
InTents April/May 2022 - 2
InTents April/May 2022 - 3
InTents April/May 2022 - 4
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