It’s All About The Workers…. Isn’t It?

August 1, 2022Doug Peters, President & CEO

Let me start this morning’s article with another edition of “stuff Doug’s dad said.”

I remember one particularly tense situation as a youngster. With my dad. He was obviously stressed, and being the inquisitive one in the household, I felt it was my duty to find out why.

So, I asked him, “what’s wrong?”

Without even thinking about it, and with his head still in his hands, he said “son, if it weren’t for the customers and employees, I’d love my business.”

I quickly slid out of the room.

What? My ten year old mind didn’t know what to make of that, let alone how to help.

Over the years, I’ve come to understand. I get the challenges of managing people, but fortunately I’m blessed with an incredible team here at the Chamber. And our customers – or “members,” as we call them, are the best I’ve ever worked with.

But I do get the worker challenge. Big time. It’s by far the number one issue that I work on daily. It has defined workplaces all over America and likely beyond. When I ask our members what keeps them up at night, they tell me. And it always reminds me of that quote by my dad.

The workforce challenges facing America, and our own communities, aren’t necessarily new or unexpected.  American Demographics magazine warned us about aging Baby Boomers decades ago, and the pressure it would put on employers.

But what we were warned about then and what we face today as a nation is somewhat different, and the pandemic certainly didn’t help the situation. Today’s worker wants more than a paycheck.

You know your Chamber and our affiliates are focused on helping to build a community that is good for business, and one that compels people to invest their lives and their businesses here. From our focus on livability and quality of place to strategies that help tell our unique and powerful story as a community, your Chamber is all-in. It’s up to all of us to work together, individually and collectively, to enhance the saleability of our great city. We know it’s an amazing place, full of amazing people. But what does the rest of the world think about when they hear “Abilene, Texas?”

That’s the single-largest reason we’ve launched a new initiative – the Best Workplace Awards – to help your business showcase why people would want to work for you. And we didn’t have to look far to find a partner who embodies the outstanding workplace – and has the hardware to prove it.

We’re grateful that Hendrick Health has stepped up and agreed to help us recognize the best workplaces in our area. Afterall, Hendrick – like so many others around us – get it. Hendrick has been recognized at all levels as a top workplace. We knew they set the standard for outstanding workplaces. We’re thrilled to have them alongside us as we recognize others for the same reason.

Our community is full of great employers who have created great workplaces. The Best Workplace Awards will help each of them to tell their story. And what stories they have to tell. Honestly, we’ve been overwhelmed with the sheer number of nominations we received, all with compelling stories about why they deserve consideration.

We believe that by helping employers to tell their stories, potential workers will better understand the opportunities that exist in their businesses. That’s the short of it – we have absolutely first-rate workplaces in our great city and the community and everyone else needs to know it.

We hope you join us at this inaugural event as we announce the first-ever Big Country Best Workplaces on Aug. 11 at The Modern (3rd floor of the Motis Building above Grain Theory). You can set a reminder on your calendar here. The evening will begin with cocktail hour at 5:00 pm and the program will begin at 5:45 pm. Of course, the evening wouldn’t be possible without our sponsors who have amazing workforce stories to tell as well such as First Financial Bank, Holland Hearing Center, Cedar Gap Wealth Management Allied Employer Group HR & Benefit Solutions, Ben E. Keith Beverages and KTAB/KRBC News.

As I mentioned earlier, today’s worker seeks more than a paycheck. They want a workplace experience. A compelling reason to invest themselves in an effort. They want to contribute, but they need to believe in what they’re contributing to.

And while the Best Workplace Awards help us to broadcast the reasons why someone might want to work for you, our efforts don’t stop there. Not even close. From strategic partnerships with our education partners; helping our subject matter experts address childcare challenges; our work to support the largest young professionals network in West Texas (I’d argue anywhere in Texas); working closely with those positioned to help tell the Abilene story nationwide, we will never stop. Regardless of vocation.

If you were nominated for this year’s Best Workplaces recognition, congratulations. That’s an outstanding achievement all by itself. To be recognized will be even more spectacular.

I hope you’ll join us on Aug. 11 as we celebrate.




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