How to Create a Culture of Service

April 6, 2018

For business owners, employees are just as much customers as, well, customers are.

In this month’s Smart Series, Kristy Kay, business developer of Express Employment Services, encouraged Chamber members to think critically about the best ways to serve a staff and create a “culture of service.”

“Teach your employees that they are not expendable, and your company will flourish,” said Kay, who has worked in hiring and management for the past ten years with companies such as AT&T and Hartsfield Jackson International Airport. “If you don’t surround yourself with workers who can share the burden, your company will burn out fast.”

At Express Employment, Kay connects with local employers to understand Asheville’s hiring challenges and opportunities. This line of work has taught Kay that if a business wants the stability that comes with a low turnover rate, they must pursue a culture of trust, purpose and motivation.

“If employees don’t trust their managers, they won’t want to work there. If employers don’t trust their employees, they will be unable to delegate tasks and quickly become overwhelmed,” Kay said.

The trust between employers and employees dictates much of the work environment. Its presence can enable communication, empowerment and transparency, while its deficiency spurs negativity, confusion and apathy.

While Kay admits there’s no perfect formula for trust, she encourages a generous dose.

“Give your employees a task and walk away,” she said. “By allowing them to figure it out themselves, you are pushing them into a more independent role, which in turn, allows you as a business owner to expand your vision and reach.”

Kay made special mention of Start With Why, Simon Sinek’s award-winning book on business leadership, contending that behind every successful company is “the why.”

For Susy Chandler, the Center Affairs Coordinator of Lenoir-Rhyne University, this sense of purpose goes hand in hand with motivation.

“Knowing our why, which is educating and developing innovative leaders, propels us all forward,” Chandler said. “There’s a powerful chain reaction when we are all on the same team, rowing towards the same shoreline.”

With Buncombe County touting one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state, and more than 10,000 unfilled openings recorded in the Asheville area, the stakes for workplace motivation are higher than ever, Kay says.

“Ask yourself the last time you motivated an employee. Set a goal and decide how you are going to make your staff feel satisfied and encouraged,” said Kay. “More than ever, it’s vital for companies to strengthen and preserve their employee relationships.”

Our Smart Series features some of Asheville’s finest business people sharing their expertise with fellow Chamber members. Held monthly September-June. Check our calendar for upcoming events.