Kay Bates Profile

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Kay Rial Bates serves as President of the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce.

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Honoring Staff

As Chamber President, I have been strong in some areas, but other areas need work. One of my strengths is the value I place on good, loyal employees.

When hiring, one of my most important criteria, is “does the one being interviewed really want the job.”

This is easily determined by body language, eagerness and words expressed. After this feat is accomplished, my next thought is what is the best way to care for this employee. What is important to each new hire?

I have enjoyed longevity among employees and believe it is not because of the paycheck they receive from this non profit but because of the care and respect he or she receives from staff as well as an affirming board of directors. Not everyone is motivated by dollars and cents. Some are motivated by work-life balance; time off when needed for orthodontist appointments, child illnesses, birthday parties, plays, or preparing for a special anniversary date with a spouse. Others are interested in gaining more responsibility. Taking on new tasks that are of interest to him or her.

In this matter, letting go and letting staff handle a greater role in an organization is definitely a risk. You may end up with a failure affecting the bottom line or you may, just may, end up with a success that changes your company. Some desire recognition and honor. It is important for every boss not to be tempted to take the “glory” away from a subordinate. Managers must be confident enough to give credit publicly for employee work well done and praise staff while encouraging others to do likewise. Then there are other employees that are motivated financially and view this as primary importance.

The chamber instituted a bonus system based on end of the year results. This allows for a very conservative budget and low or no annual salary increases. The bonus system rewards employees based on their contribution to the success of the chamber in achieving end of the year surpluses. I find this a great team builder among employees as all work toward good end of the year results.

As Gary Vaynerchuk, founder of Vayner Media, which supplies digital and social media marketing to the Fortune 500 says, “Your employees are important because it is their skills that keep your machine running.” Treat them as you would like to be treated and they will work harder for you and treat your customers well.

  • Natural Therapy Wellness Center
  • Mercy Health
  • Northwestern Medicine

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