Guest blog by Demetra Brown
Program Coordinator, Generation
Generation is a youth employment nonprofit with a dual mission to empower young people to build thriving, sustainable careers and to provide employers the highly skilled, motivated talent they need. More than 17,000 young people have graduated from programs in India, Kenya, Mexico, Spain, and the US, and Generation is launching in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Pakistan to start 2018.
It was my first holiday season as an assistant manager and the pressure was mounting to staff our $34 million retail store for a 2 a.m. opening on Black Friday. One of my first hires of the season was Lisa, a soft-spoken, young adult, with an infectious smile. She was filling one of the more than 50 vacancies the holiday season demanded.
Within a few weeks on the floor, Lisa showcased her attention to detail and her amazing work ethic. She stood out from the other seasonal employees, who appeared less motivated to invest in a temporary position. Lisa was different — always on time and always going above and beyond for the guest.
As we approached Christmas Day, I knew I wanted to recognize Lisa for her outstanding work on the floor. So, later that week, I shared with Lisa that I would like to keep her on past the holiday season and promote her to a brand specialist in the shoe department. She was excited about being a permanent employee and accepted the role.
As January came to an end, the frequency of guests visiting the return desk and redeeming gift cards began to wane, along with shifts for employees. I found myself making difficult decisions around whose hours to cut. I had employees averaging 32-40 hours per week during the holiday season, now down to 20 hours per week.
Around that time, I noticed changes in Lisa. She began arriving to work late and the shoe department looked haphazardly maintained. I coached Lisa on her tardiness and shared my expectations of her. Lisa took the coaching without a change in demeanor and didn’t offer any insight into her decrease in performance.
Within that same week, Lisa showed up an hour late to her closing shift. I met with her again and discussed how this behavior seemed out of character. Lisa shared with me she had taken on another job working as a home care helper to make up for the decrease in hours at our store. I offered to give her extra hours to split the difference but Lisa was now committed to another organization and wasn’t willing to take fewer hours there. Lisa resigned shortly after our conversation.
Unfortunately, Lisa’s story is not uncommon among retail store managers. According to a survey by the Center for Popular Democracy of 1,100 retail front-line employees, 47 percent of the surveyed employees are part-time. Many of the employees in this study were involuntary part-time workers—meaning they desired full-time hours but could only find part-time work. In fact, 45 percent of the employees on staff wanted an increase in hours reported by one employer in the study. Like Lisa, 31 percent of employees worked more than one job. Furthermore, 25 percent reported having economic hardships to due to their part-time income.
Moreover, in a study conducted by FSG in 2016, the U.S. retail sector lost $9 billion due to entry-level involuntary turnover. One of the strategies FSG presented is investing in people-centered management. A study on frontline managers and flexibility practices by Drs. Susan Lambert and Julia Henly at the University of Chicago stated that “stores where frontline managers took employee scheduling preferences into account had a 23 percent lower turnover and 7 percent higher retention than stores where frontline managers did not.”
I was a rookie manager when I worked with Lisa as a retail assistant manager. However, my challenges with her proved to be a valuable experience for my career growth. As I continued to understand the needs of my employees, I made it a practice to know each of my employee’s preferences and scheduling needs. I learned about their preferences and was able to retain top talent throughout my management career. This consistent and personal approach proved valuable, for me as a scheduling manager, for the company, and most importantly, the employee.
Now, my work with Generation Dallas, a nonprofit training and skills preparation program, gets to the root of the problem. We’re tackling underemployment for incumbent retail employees and giving them the coaching and mentoring they need to become top performers while giving them pathways to sustainable customer service careers. And on May 22, we’re hosting Tackling Turnover: Engaging Young Adults to Boot Retention in the Workplace. The event brings together managers, experts, and community leaders to the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) Convening Center to discuss turnover, together with the Dallas business community, and giving employees like Lisa more possibilities for growth and advancement.
For more information, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Guenther, Regional Vice President of Sales, tells us about Echo Global Logistics, a transportation management provider.
Tell us about your organization and its work in the Dallas Region.
From the shoes you wear to the food you buy at the grocery story, everything you own was once transported on a truck. Transportation is a huge part of the US economy — and for businesses, being able to ship their products efficiently and cost-effectively is crucial.
That’s where Echo comes in. Echo Global Logistics is a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, which means we connect businesses that need to ship products with a huge network of carriers that transport them. Employing nearly 2,500 people nationwide and more than 100 in Dallas, Echo provides transportation management services to more than 200 companies in the Dallas Region and many more nationally.
How does your company help other businesses become more effective through digital solutions?
Our purpose is to simplify transportation management for our clients. We do this through proprietary technology, which not only helps us match the ideal carrier to each shipment (based on a variety of criteria) but also allows our logistics professionals to pinpoint inefficiencies in our clients’ supply chains. We then help them implement improvements on a continual basis. We also handle crucial tasks so our clients can focus on what they do best, meaning we take complicated or time-consuming logistics tasks off their hands and allow them to focus on their business.
What differentiates Echo from other companies in your industry?
What differentiates Echo is our service. We pride ourselves on being an easy company to do business with, and we make communication our priority. Between traffic, weather and loading/unloading delays, not every shipment goes smoothly — but Echo representatives are empowered to make decisions and act quickly. We proactively communicate with clients and offer solutions to any issues.
Our multimodal services are also a big differentiator. We have extensive sourcing capabilities that ensure our clients always have the capacity they need. This, combined with our proprietary technology and real-time tracking, has made Echo the premier 3PL. We were voted the No. 1 3PL in 2017 by readers of Inbound Logistics magazine.
What do you enjoy most about doing business in Dallas?
Dallas fosters an extensive network of industry-leading companies, which offers partnership opportunities for a B2B company such as Echo to come in, help large companies find efficiencies in their supply chain, and receive the kind of service and communication they may not be able to find elsewhere. There is also a lot of potential in Dallas, and we really enjoy using our expertise and technology to help small to midsize companies grow their business and become leaders in their industries.
We are also impressed by how Dallas attracts diverse talent from across the country as well as grows it locally. It’s a unique marketplace, and the future looks bright in terms of growth.
Why did you decide to become a DRC member?
We joined the DRC to increase awareness with our fellow Dallas companies that Echo can help simplify their transportation management, make their supply chains more efficient, and turn transportation from a cost-center into a competitive advantage. We also want to ensure Echo is one of the best companies to both do business with and work for in Dallas.
How has your business changed in the last five years?
Over the past five years, our business has grown significantly and our staff has doubled in size. That’s due to our culture, commitment to service, multimodal offering and the strength of our technology. Dallas has been a huge part of our growth. We’ve never been more connected to the community, and we’re excited to be a part of Dallas’ future.
A four-year process, the Institute for Organization Management, a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, hosts one week-long session each year. University professors, industry experts and leading practitioners deliver the professional development curriculum across a wide range of topics including leadership, community and economic development, best practices and governance.
“In addition to bettering my personal and professional development, this program has elevated my understanding of how to best achieve excellence for my community,” said Rivas-Smith. “I now have thought leaders from across the world that I can lean on for ideas and support. I truly appreciate the DRC’s support throughout this program, and I look forward to advancing the DRC’s mission to make the Dallas Region the best place in the United States to live, work and do business.”
Institute is a leading program for chamber and association professionals. With Rivas-Smith’s certification, the Dallas Regional Chamber team has three professionals who have earned the IOM designation.
Rivas-Smith began her training in 2014 and graduated from the program Saturday, January 6, 2018.
About the Dallas Regional Chamber
The Dallas Regional Chamber is one of the most established business organizations in the nation and serves as the voice of business and the champion of economic development and growth in the Dallas Region. We work with our 1,200 member companies and regional partners to strengthen our business community by advocating for pro-growth public policies, improving our educational system, attracting talented workers from around the world, and enhancing the quality of life for all. Our goal is to make Dallas the best place in America to live, work, and do business. For more information, please contact the Dallas Regional Chamber at 214.746.6600 or visit www.dallaschamber.org.
Mike Gonzales, President of Armstrong Relocation’s Dallas office, gives us an inside look at Armstrong Relocation, a moving company that is celebrating its 60th anniversary.
Briefly tell us about your organization and its work in the Dallas Region.
Armstrong Relocation is a family business that was founded in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1957. We have been helping individuals and their families successfully relocate their household goods for more than 60 years. We work closely with our corporate clients in the Dallas Region, assisting them with relocation services for their employees, as well as with any office moving or warehousing needs that they may have.
What differentiates your company from others in your industry?
We like to start with our “why.” We pride ourselves in knowing why we enjoy helping our customers reach their next destination — by making that transition as easy for them as possible. We are here to hold their hands when they have questions and provide them with a seamless relocation by utilizing the largest moving fleet operated by any agent in the United States.
How long have you been a DRC member and why did you decide to join?
Our Dallas office opened in 1975, and we have been a DRC member for more than 30 years. We joined the DRC because we feel that every local corporate citizen has a responsibility to be part of an organization that helps to not only bring our region together, but also reach new heights by convincing companies to relocate here to become part of our vibrant metropolitan area.
What do you enjoy most about doing business in the Dallas Region?
I enjoy the Dallas (and Texas!) business-friendly, can-do attitude, which has helped our city and state become one of the most dynamic areas in the entire country.
How has your business changed over the past 60 years?
We have enjoyed tremendous success and expansion during the past six decades, having grown from a single location to currently operating in 29 cities from coast-to-coast. Additionally, we have become considerably more aggressive in seeking out written customer feedback, with the goal of continuously looking for ways to improve our performance. And like all successful companies, we have also changed with the times by applying the advances in technology to our business approach.
What do you hope for your company and the Dallas business community over the next 60 years?
I hope that our company and the Dallas business community both continue to grow in a positive way — by making this a place that everyone can be proud of and one that will maintain its current standing as a wonderful locale in which to raise a family and have a successful career.
Is there anything else you’d like to include about your company or its 60th anniversary celebration?
We look forward to continuing to grow and improve in this next decade and beyond, with the goal of being the premier relocation services company in the Dallas Region, the state of Texas, and the entire country.
Guest blog by Julie Pittman MD PhD
Nexus Recovery Center
It would be hard to argue that there is any issue more pressing in the public health arena than the opioid crisis. It has reached epidemic proportions and now costs the U.S. more than $78.4 billion per year in healthcare treatment costs, criminal justice costs and lost productivity.
The U.S. consumes more opioid pain medication than any other country on Earth, and drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death in Americans under 50. Drug overdose deaths have outpaced motor vehicle accidents and gun homicides combined, killing Americans at a faster pace than the HIV epidemic did at its peak. These statistics have spurred multiple governmental entities to name this the DEFINING EPIDEMIC OF OUR GENERATION.
The roots of the opioid crisis lie in the overprescription of pain medication that started in the 1990s with the campaign to advocate for the more effective treatment of pain. Physicians were targeted in the pharmaceutical marketing of pain medications as safe and effective. Pain was made the “fifth vital sign” in hospitals and clinics, and the numbers of prescriptions written for narcotics soared.
Recent efforts to curtail prescriptions for opioids have led to a leveling off of prescription drug overdoses. As addicts make the switch to heroin, however, the death toll has accelerated markedly secondary to the arrival of fentanyl in the heroin supply. Starting in 2014, there was noted to be a 250 percent increase in fentanyl seizures in drugs coming over the Mexican border. The numbers are sobering: 140 American die each day of opioid overdose.
Nexus is unique in the community as we provide women only treatment to low-income women with their unique health risks. We care for adult and adolescent women, pregnant and post partum women, and provide a safe place to seek treatment for women who do not want to be away from their children. We have withdrawal stabilization services for clients as well as long-term residential care and outpatient services for continued care after discharge back into the community. We partner with Parkland Hospital System to provide care for the unique health issues that arise in our indigent population. We also partner in research and education activities with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in their involvement in the Clinical Trials Network. As the Nexus Medical Director, I am board certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry and completed my residency at Harvard Medical School.
The history of drug treatment in the U.S. has been based on psychosocial treatment alone, which has been shown to be relatively ineffective for opioid users. There is a 94% relapse rate without additional medical intervention. At Nexus, we are looking to be on the cutting edge of evidence-based medicine in order to improve outcomes for our vulnerable patient population. We are expanding to include medication-assisted therapies for opioid users to optimize the ability of the clients to build productive lives from the ruins of their addiction. Their stories and successes make every struggle worthwhile. It is a privilege to be in a position to help these amazing women and I consider myself fortunate to be the Medical Director at such an amazing institution.
We welcome your questions and comments. To request more information about area businesses or to share an idea, contact us: