Meet Barb Taylor, Payroll and Benefits Administrator for Nature’s Fare Markets. She shopped there for many years and loved the company so much that she wanted to work there, and has been for 3 years. Although her background was in HR when they advertised a payroll and benefits position, she applied because she wanted to work there. Here’s her story.
Right now because of a leave of absence, I’m responsible for both the Payroll and HR functions at Nature’s Fare. I love working here because Nature’s Fare’s values align perfectly with mine – they are givers more so than anywhere I’ve worked!
Besides working, I enjoy camping, time with my 6 grandkids, painting and I love to exercise– Zumba and Barre are my favourite!
Q: What makes you a People Management Superhero?
Well I hope that our team would say I respond quickly to their needs and that they feel heard and valued when they talk with me. I believe that whether you are the CEO or the janitor you deserve the same respect.
Q: How does Avanti help you take care of your employees?
Implementing a solution with a Self-Service portal is huge for us. It has improved communications and the sharing of information at Nature’s Fare. Employees now have access to answers at their fingertips.
Q: Is there something you can now provide to your managers or employees that you couldn’t before implementing Avanti?
Reporting! Now I have the ability to provide things like vacation entitlements, wage cost reports, wage to revenue reports, our team now has better information.
Q: As you look ahead to the next year, do you have any new initiatives that involve Avanti?
We didn’t have Avanti’s onboarding and recruiting up and running before our new store opening but we have just started using it and it is going to be so helpful.
Q: What is the single most important thing that you do to make a difference to your employees?
Communication is huge, when people know the what, why and how of any changes / decisions then they will embrace it because they understand it.
Having an automated onboarding process is a huge improvement for new employees.
Using Avanti’s Career Connector means no more manual posting of jobs which is a time saver …I have 25 jobs up right now between our 8 locations.
Q: What tip would you give to other professionals who struggle with employee management?
I would encourage them to make sure they are really listening to their employees, it’s important for employees to know that they have been heard and to have that validated.
I would also tell companies to make sure they have strong core values that their employees can be excited about. At Nature’s Fare incentives such as quarterly bonuses and celebrations of milestone anniversaries are two programs that have led to long tenured employees – which as a result has also created lots of loyal, long term customers.
I think trust between the employer and employees is very important.
Q: How does Nature’s Fare set itself apart from other employers?
Nature’s Fare provides great programs beyond just compensation and benefits. We offer a financial advisor that comes in to teach employees about their finances and a registered holistic nutritionist who teaches employees about living and eating healthy and we have lunch and learns with special guests that speak on different topics.
Q: What is at the heart of making Nature’s Fare a great place to work?
We really do live our values every day.
Q: How do you make your people feel engaged, appreciated and help them thrive at Nature’s Fare?
Let me share a great example of just one of our initiatives, we call it our core values competition and it is all about engagement with customers and other employees.
For example, an employee might offer to help in another department, or strive to learn our customers’ names, or remember what a customer was looking for (i.e. customer wasn’t sleeping well so they asked for some advice) so the next time they see them they can initiate a conversation (is that supplement helping you sleep any better?)
Points are awarded for each activity, employees simply enter what they did to live our core values on cards and submit them (this is where trust comes in, no manager has to sign off on these, it’s all based on the honour system). All of the cards go into a draw for great prizes like Apple Watches, Apple TV’s etc.
Beyond that there is also a store competition based on participation percentage. Each store gets assigned a dollar value for their participation %, based on their participation that money is used to sponsor families at the Salvation Army. Their incentive is to increase participation so they can help more families in their community. Last year we had stores that sponsored anywhere from 3 to 11 families! To make sure they feel involved the employees actually get the money and do all the shopping for the families they sponsor.
We feel this helps teach employees how they can make a difference when they give their time and effort to shop for those families.
Look at Barb’s super transformation in The Little Book of People Management Superheroes: Volume 2.