Reaching employees

Q. How do you communicate to employees your respect for them?

The main thing is just show-ing them that you do care for them. That you care about them as an individual and that their family is important. Try to make sure that you listen. You listen to what their needs are.

It’s a two-way street out there. You can’t just go out and strong-arm somebody; you have to go out and listen to what their problems are.

When there is a problem, you need to get right in there and correct the problems that they made or mistakes. You have to keep your pulse on your employees.

It’s hard to get around to everybody, so you rely on your lead people out there to keep a pulse. Try to get with them at weekly meetings and say, ‘Where’s the problem?’

It’s the communication. Listen to what’s going on out there. What caused this situation to happen?

You just have to sit down with them and take a little time. Take time, listen, communicate with them, come to an understanding and move forward.

Q. What are the keys to listening to employees?

When you’re listening to them, that means that there’s usually a problem or they’re letting us know of changes or whatnot. It’s very important to document down what they’re saying, and the follow-up is very important.

(There) has to be a follow-up on a concern to make sure you’re answering their question properly.

Q. How do you make time to reach out to employees and listen to their needs?

The schedule is very important. You have to schedule your time.

I’m on the boards of different organizations, and that comes with a price. You can’t be everywhere. I’ll get a call, and they’ll say you have to be at this meeting today at 2 o’clock. Obviously, I had other things scheduled.

You really have to pick your battles; you have to know what’s important for your business. You have to have your business in your mind. You have to take that personality out a little bit. What’s going to be the best for my business?

How to reach: West Electric Inc., (765) 643-6444 or