Ward Lumber, based in tiny Jay, New York, and operating stores in Jay and Malone, NY, is a lumber manufacturing and building supply company. A family business for over 130 years, they transitioned to a worker-owned cooperative of approximately 50 owners of their 60 employees in 2021.
Becoming a “workplace of choice” is no longer optional for success. Ward Lumber, like virtually every other business, needed to find ways to reduce turnover on their team and attract new hires to their business. Solving these problems would also reduce the burden felt by all employees of being short-staffed. Ward Lumber believed that providing prospective managers with management skills training would ensure they had a shared management vocabulary and allow them to employ best practices that would improve the work experience for all.
The trainer really had excellent information in a very digestible form that the managers were able to take in and put to work right away. We are seeing better people skills resulting in better retention.
CITEC, part of the New York MEP and the MEP National Network™, delivered its custom 6-week (24-hour total) Management Development Essentials training program to twelve managers of Ward Lumber. Topics covered included The Fundamentals of Managing Others, Improved Communication Skills, Coaching and Motivating, Managing Conflict, Basic Employment Laws, and Performance Management. Additionally, four senior-level managers attended CITEC’s Leadership Development Essentials program, which covered topics including Leadership and Influence, Emotional Intelligence, Attracting, Developing and Retaining Employees, The Multi-Generational Workforce, Team Building, and Developing Organizational Culture. The training is consistent with current best practices, and attendees were able to implement the skills learned right away. Ward Lumber has seen improved people skills in the employees who attended and is on track to reduce turnover by 50 percent.
Originally published on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) website with the help of New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NY MEP)