A modern-day recipe for a modern-day workforce

April 27, 2016

By: John DiLorenzo, Chief Entertainment Officer (CEO), Michigan Planners

The proof is in the pudding…and there are new flavors in town! No more plain vanilla 9-5 workdays, 30-minute lunches or once-a-year company outings. Companies have introduced new corporate tastes involving flexible work hours, extended lunch breaks, frequent team-building moments and optional nap time.

Employers are getting creative when it comes to motivating and developing their staff.

Ann Arbor-based Zingerman’s, which conducts various training programs for the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce throughout the year, takes a different approach in managing its people and culture.

Fred Frye, Zingerman’s Director of Department for People (D4P), explained the company’s philosophy: “Our entire D4P team views our role as being servants to our employees’ growth, contributing as individuals and helping to empower them.”

When you invest in people and the formation of company culture, you are also investing in the formation of creative concepts, new products, process transformations and effective marketing strategy.

Organizations across a spectrum of industries have gone so far as to build employee gyms, enforce casual dress codes and institute dry cleaning services, in addition to continuing to offer the traditional corporate training and professional development. The cultivation of exceptional employee experiences leads to exceptional client experiences, which leads to exceptional client retention.

However, this unique style of culture development presents some challenges. Changes in the marketplace involving new technology, immediate access to information, regulations and social issues have led to human resources departments being more open-minded, yet cautious and aware as they consider how to rollout and manage unprecedented employee programs.

The American Society of Employers (ASE) is a not-for-profit employer association serving Michigan’s Human Resource business community. ASE CEO Mary E. Corrado said the role of HR is evolving, demanding a broader, more strategic approach to human resources management.

“More than ever, corporate leaders and boards are looking to HR departments to address and resolve the challenging issues presented by the modern workplace, while also going beyond the traditional nuts and bolts of HR to tie in people strategies to overall organizational objectives,” Corrado said.

The amount of regulations within the world of HR makes coming up with creative ways to manage and engage employees challenging, but not impossible! Companies are encouraged to begin thinking outside of the box to enhance productivity and achieve superior results.