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Distributor's Link Magazine Fall 2020 / Vol 43 No 4


120 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK EARNEST MACHINE SHAKING UP THE STATUS QUO from page 40 “We want to make sure we are a fit for our candidates, not just that they are a fit for us,” says Elise Bastian, Director of Culture and Talent Development. “Everyone is respected for the value they bring no matter the position. Our core values lay the foundation for a great employee experience and we fully embrace these values by highlighting them every chance we get.” At the interview, you may find it strange to be asked about your favorite childhood cereal. That finally makes sense when on your first day there’s a meet and greet in the kitchen to enjoy that cereal and get to know your new peers. Then on Monday, you’ll attend your first companywide “huddle” which always kicks off with – you guessed it – the core values. “We constantly talk about and really live the core values,” says Bastian. “When we talk about people’s wins and achievements, we always relate them back to our core values. Conversely, I’ve also seen coworkers respectfully say, ‘Hey you’re not aligning with the core values.’ That’s such a great way to rectify and build good relationships. It’s those good relationships that influence the success of our company.” Trust, Respect and Hugging the Cactus Earnest’s success has much to do with how fervently they trust and respect their employees. “Our leadership team makes decisions based upon employee well-being. We approach this the same way we pledge to put the customer first,” says Bastian. New employees are always surprised to learn that they won’t have to use vacation time for anything other than, well, vacation. “We trust our employees to handle balancing their work with their personal lives and not feel punished for needing an hour or two off to take the car to the shop, visit the doctor or attend a child’s sports game,” says Zehnder. “What we put into our employee experience we feel we gain back in retention and loyalty.” In that same spirit, employees are empowered to do what they need to do to create the best customer experience. This often involves what Zehnder likes to call “hugging the cactus.” If someone makes a mistake, they own it, make it right with the customer and then focus on fixing what went wrong. There’s no blame game. Mistakes are reframed as opportunities to improve and acknowledging mistakes is praised. Sure, owning up can be a little prickly, and there’s still accountability, of course. “When employees try harder, without fear of mistakes, we achieve more wins, learn new things and in turn, create a greater experience for our customers,” says Zehnder. Dealing with mistakes in a positive way is one way of truly living the core values of “We treat customers and each other with respect” and “We embrace change.” Beyond Basic Benefits Earnest also embraces a holistic approach to helping employees grow. “We understand that development is not restricted to promotions, new projects, or simply gaining a new skill. Development starts from personal growth and self-realization,” says Bastian. That’s why Bastian created the Earnest Machine 20/20 Whole Health plan which has “Healthier, Wealthier and Wiser” components. CONTINUED ON PAGE 156


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