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Chester at Pac-West: Let Employees Talk

Chester at Pac-West: Let Employees Talk
September 22
18:52 2022

Before Covid-19, “employers had the upper hand,” Eric Chester told the Pacific-West Fastener Association.  Now employees “are doing the interviewing.”

“Most of your employees know you need them,” noted the author of Fully Staffed.

How does a company remain “fully staffed?”

“Be a great place to work,” Chester offered the obvious answer. Beyond that, “Recruit relentlessly,” he advocated. 

“Stop fishing and start hunting,” Chester said. Hunt your “ex-superstars. Keep in contact.”

Hunt schools and friends as well as groups such as adjacent industries, government workforce centers, ex-offenders, retirees and returning military.

And participate in social media, Chester added.

Chester’s tips for being a great place to work: Ask people consistently, “What do you like about working here?” and “What don’t you like?” Also ask, “If you ran things … “  

“Give them a chance to talk,” Chester advised. “Great leaders know how people think.”

He said Marriott Hotel shifts begin with a five-minute standup meeting. Though many may think meetings “suck time,” Chester said five minutes can be used to ask, “What is working well?” and “What is something you need to do your job better?”

“People stay in a job where they feel like they are listened to,” Chester finds.

A question that can reveal to you and to an employee is: “What is something you need to get better at?”

Employers need to “Listen, respond and engage,” Chester said.

“You have to be a better place to work than competitors,” Chester said. “Be different, unique, better.”

“You don’t have to be Google,” he said of the giant company which is known for employee benefits.

  • Give employees “autonomy.” For example, if your people are “empowered to make choices under $1,000, It will put smiles on their faces,” Chester said.
  • Acknowledge employee success: Chester listed requirements for acknowledging an employee: It should be “personal, pertinent, proportionate, prompt and public.”

“Five dollars today is more than $10 at the end of the month,” he added in reference to “prompt.”

  • Studies show providing training helps keep employees. Too many employers fear training an employee leads to the employee leaving, Chester told the 2022 Pac-West autumn conference.

Chester cited the example of Wegman’s, a mid-Atlantic and Northeastern chain of 100+ grocery stores with 50,000+ employees.

“Everyone grows at Wegman’s,” Chester said.  Managers at the chain “started pushing carts,” Chester explained. Webman’s asks employees, “What would you like to do next?” Web: or

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