Category Members

Culture is the most important aspect of a company and is the very foundation of the organization itself. The common values and beliefs that make up this foundation help dictate not only how a company operates, but also how its employees interact with one another. There are several factors that can create cracks in the foundation, but one factor, in particular, can cause lasting damage: unresolved conflict.

According to a comprehensive workplace conflict study by publisher CPP, Inc., 85% of employees experience conflict in some form at work. While conflict may not be avoidable, embracing conflict and working toward resolving it within your company saves the culture in three ways.

Builds Employee Loyalty and Retention

In a tight labour market, employee retention is not only important to remain successful, but it is crucial to maintain a strong culture. If culture is comprised of the shared values of an organization, then your employees are the ones who live out the culture every day.

Without your employees assimilating and maintaining shared values, your culture fades. And turnover can be even more detrimental. This means building employee loyalty and retention should be a company’s main focus. However, unresolved conflict can cause culture-maintaining employees to quit. Author David Cottrell stated, “people quit people before they quit companies.” Resolving conflict builds stronger ties between employees, causing loyalty between team members and higher retention levels.

Improves Productivity

According to the CPP study, employees spend an average of 2.8 hours a week dealing with workplace conflict. Over the course of a month, the average employee wastes a full day of productivity spent in conflict, amounting to 2.5 weeks of lost productivity annually. Moreover, 25% of employees have seen conflict result in workplace absence and 9% say that conflict has caused a project to fail.

With the outlaying tax on time and productivity, conflict can derail your company’s ability to grow. If leaders acknowledge conflict and deal with it accordingly, they can maintain not only a competitive edge in their market but also a cultural edge within their organization.

Deepens Core Values

Not every company has “People” listed as one of their core values, but most leaders would say they want a culture that embraces the value of others. When a company shows it cares about the wellbeing of their employees, it helps engrain and deepen the company’s values within their organization.

Offering training to help team members work together is one way to do this. However, according to CPP, 60% of employees haven’t received basic conflict management training. And of those who have, 95% claim the training helped mitigate workplace conflict and achieve a mutually beneficial resolution. Not only does the training show value to its employees, but it also helps deepen the working relationship between employees.

By avoiding conflict, you could allow cracks in the foundation of your company. However, investing time and energy into corporate conflict resolution techniques can save your culture by building employee loyalty and retention, improving productivity, and deepening core values.

Read more here:

https://shop.themyersbriggs.com/Pdfs/CPP_Global_Human_Capital_Report_Workplace_Conflict.pdf

https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/employee-relations/pages/viewpoint-the-art-and-science-of-conflict-management.aspx

https://pollackpeacebuilding.com/workplace-conflict-statistics/

Bruce Hein is the franchise owner/operator of Express Employment Professionals in Sarnia.

Read More

For a membership centred organization like the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, taking the pulse of those who call the organization “home” represents an ongoing opportunity to advance its mission and no one knows that better than President & CEO Shirley de Silva.

“It’s really part of our DNA,” said de Silva, with particular reference to a timely pair of surveys that the organization is currently undertaking.

One is around a specific reference to issues that members see of interest around Advocacy issues relevant to their business.

“The Chamber has earned, over the years, a reputation for being the prime connection that leaders at every level of government turn to first to gauge the interest of those who create policy,” said de Silva. “With that in mind, it makes even more sense for us to turn to our members to make sure we’re covering the issues that affect our members more than any others.”

With Advocacy continuing to represent one of the key responsibilities of the Chamber, the ability to engage with policymakers and others ahead of any changes that may follow is a key Chamber strategy, added de Silva.

“The relationship between government and business is one where there is mutual respect when it comes to the impact on the business when it comes to regulation, and the Chamber plays a leading role in making sure the interests of business are considered, ideally before any changes are made,” she said.

The online Advocacy survey, which can be accessed HERE, will assist Chamber leadership as it maps out policy initiatives designed to stay on top of issues that matter to members.

In addition,  the Chamber has a keen interest in understanding issues of key importance to its members, excluding advocacy, which is why we’ve prepared a second survey—which can be accessed HERE—as a tool to help plan out future events and initiatives. 

 

 

 

 

Read More

With the holiday gift-giving “season” well upon us, options for amazing those on our lists may have become a little easier with an opportunity presented by the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

A sponsored gift book project—”Discoveries that Matter: Sarnia Lambton”—published last year became something of a hit with those who saw an opportunity to spread the word about the community that those who have made it their home love to show off to others.

A limited number of those books remains available for purchase through the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce offices, says Shirley de Silva, president and CEO.

“We are very pleased to make these available to those interested in bringing a little piece of Sarnia-Lambton into the homes of friends and family,” said de Silva, who invites those who are interested to contact her directly at (519) 336-2400, extension 1, or email her by clicking HERE.

“We had great joy in preparing this special gift book, especially given the fact that a hometown hero, retired Canadian astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield generously wrote the foreword to the gift book. Plus the ‘timeless’ nature of this book means that it’s a gift that will be cherished for years to come.”

Read More

An organization with its very roots in the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is being recognized as “Member of the Month” for December.

Tourism Sarnia-Lambton, the organization that stretches the length and breadth of Lambton County, serves as the lead advocate for promoting opportunities to visit the place we’ve come to love.

In fact, it was in 1999 that the Chamber created the organization that later became Tourism Sarnia-Lambton, according to a history of the Chamber that was published by the Sarnia Historical Society.

“Tourism Sarnia-Lambton is a proud partner and member of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce,” said Mark Perrin, executive director. “Our relationship has always been a mutually beneficial one and we enjoy working together to create a greater tourism economic impact and growth for Sarnia-Lambton businesses to thrive on. With Tourism Sarnia-Lambton being selected as the ‘Member of the Month’ we are humbled and thrilled to receive this recognition for our efforts and accomplishments this year.”

Shirley de Silva, Chamber CEO and president, echoed Perrin’s sentiments.

“We’re pleased to recognize the very significant and mutually beneficial relationship that continues to exist between the Chamber and Tourism Sarnia-Lambton,” she said. “For years now, and for years to come, we expect to work very closely in helping to fulfill the goals of both organizations for the betterment of our entire community,”

Pictured at the “Member of the Year” presentation are TSL staff members (from left) Shelley Ambroise, Beverley Horodyski, Vicky Praill, Leona Allen, Mark Perrin, and Adam Veen.

 

 

 

 

Read More

In a recent survey by Daysmart Software, 54% of small business owners admitted to being worried about making enough money. Making money is a common concern because not only does it factor in bringing in enough clients or customers but also ensuring your products or services are priced right and negotiating any cash flow problems.

Small business owners have lots of stressors as they follow their dreams. It might surprise you just how much the Chamber can help with these concerns.

According to the study, small business owners report they are most concerned about:

—Making enough money

—Controlling costs

—Finding new customers

—Marketing to prospective an/or current customers

—Managing time

The Chamber and Chamber membership can help address all of these common concerns and challenges.

Put the Chamber to Work for Your Business

If you’re like most small business owners, you can likely identify with these common business concerns but what you may not realize is how effectively a Chamber membership can help you solve these problems. The solutions may take you getting involved and participating but Chamber membership can act like a business “gym” that you need to become stronger and begin making healthier choices for your business.

Making Enough Money

In the beginning of your business, it might not be about becoming a millionaire as much as it is simply making enough money to stay in operation. Making enough money means you’re factoring in what’s coming in and what’s going out. The Chamber can help your efforts in making enough money in the following ways.

Controlling Costs

While a Chamber membership is an initial outlay of money, you can derive a lot of value from it. It can even help you control costs by introducing you to other business people who may be able to provide you with goods and services.

In addition to meeting new business contacts that could save you money, check with your Chamber to find out if they have a Chamber “hot deals” program. These programs offer discounts from Chamber members for Chamber members. They can provide considerable cost savings to members.

The exchange between members may also reveal how other small business owners manage their costs. While you can research that on the internet, sometimes having local advice can be invaluable.

You can also get more for less by attending some of your Chamber’s lunch and learn programs. Maybe you’ve been wondering how to incorporate Instagram into your business but don’t have the money to pay someone to teach you or do it for you. Many learning exchanges are free at the Chamber and it’s likely they have a topic that interests you and can help you learn something new for your business without having to pay for it. Plus, Chamber membership means any of your employees may attend.

Finding New Customers

The Chamber is an excellent source for finding new customers. Through networking, hosting an event, sponsorship, cash mobs, thought leadership seminars or a host of other ways, the Chamber can help you connect more deeply with your community.

Many people think of the Chamber as a group similar to the better business bureau and they put a great amount of trust in a business that is a member of the Chamber.

Chamber membership can also provide greater visibility for your business with opportunities to serve the greater community. While you may not feel like you have time for that as a small business owner, the Chamber has opportunities for all levels of engagement. From serving on the board to volunteering at check-in for an event.

Membership is a great way to meet people and people buy from those they know, like, and trust.

Marketing to Future and Current Customers

Many small business owners lack marketing skills. If you can’t hire it out, you may be happy to know the Chamber likely has creative marketing opportunities that can help you get your name out into the community.

The Chamber also talks about its members on social media, which helps you leverage their large audience. They can host a ribbon-cutting for you if you’re a new business or help you celebrate a key milestone.

They also likely have people on staff who can help you brainstorm ways to reach your ideal audience and make suggestions such as mailers, learning sessions, and social media assistance.

Managing Time

It comes as no surprise that with all these other stresses, small business owners are concerned about not having enough time. The Chamber can help here too. Not only can they help introduce you to the “hidden” job market of people who aren’t actively looking for positions but have strong interests in the community, they also have lunch and learn sessions on a variety of topics that could help you streamline your operations.

Learning is one way the Chamber can help but it also helps as a partial partner in your marketing. The Chamber supports getting the word out about your business and their efforts can save you time in your own marketing.

Chamber membership provides a large amount of value for the small business owner if they know how to use it. Paying dues won’t help allay your fears about your business but getting involved in the Chamber and the community can help you reach more people, elevate your business reputation, and improve your marketing. These ideas will help you grow and improve your revenue stream.

 

 

 

Read More

The Christmas/Holiday season is always a special one for the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and its Business After 5, this year taking place on Wednesday, December 11, will be no exception.

With CIBC’s London Road branch opening its doors for this special event, Chamber members (FREE to attend) and non-members alike ($30) are sure to enjoy the great conversation.

And as mentioned elsewhere, those who are looking for ongoing opportunities to “step it up” as members of the Business After 5 committee are particularly welcome to check out just how much fun this volunteer experience can be for extending relationships—perhaps even beyond your comfort zone.

We look forward to catching up on Wednesday, December 11 at CIBC’s London Rd. branch, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Read More

As the voice of business in the area, the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to seeing our economy grow and prosper.

One of the key opportunities for that to happen is right now, as the traditional shopping season begins.

As people look for amazing gifts and items, we encourage everyone to look right here at home.   This is what growing your community is all about and shopping local means investing in our future in one of the most meaningful ways possible.

Your Chamber of Commerce believes in the future of Sarnia-Lambton and our members are here to serve your interests throughout the year, so think about them as you begin your shopping list.

Have fun. Be safe. And support the local enterprises right here at home. It’s worth it!

 

Read More

While this originally was meant to be a networking article, becoming more interesting is something that can benefit every area of your life, from striking up a random conversation with strangers to trying out for Dos Equis next Most Interesting Man in the World.

Interesting Is in the Eyes of the Audience

First, someone’s “interesting” may not be your interesting. There’s no special pill to take or drink to consume to become more interesting because it’s not a universal application. But you can become more interesting to a particular audience in these ways:

Do Your Research

Establish who it is you want to become more interesting to and do your research. This could be an individual, like wanting to meet and talk to a particular head of industry at a Chamber event or it could be a group of people you want to impress, like marketing to millennials.

Whether a person or group, use social media and the internet to do research on their interests, concerns, things they’ve published or curated, and other personal information. But not too personal. If we’re talking about a person and not a demographic, stop just short of bringing up personal things you know about them and their family thanks to the fact that they don’t know how to use security features on Facebook.

Read

If you’re trying to expand your views, reading is one of the best ways to do that. It provides insight into thoughts, cultures, and history with perspective. If you’re not a reader, try audiobooks or TED Talks. The point is to expand your mind and you don’t do that by listening only to yourself and your circle of like-minded friends.

Ask Questions

If you focus the conversation on the person you’re trying to impress and ask worthwhile questions of them, they will most likely think the conversation (and thus you) was very interesting, because you were talking about them.

Explore Difference

Make time to be with people whose views vary from your own. Put the debating aside and try to understand why they feel the way they do about the issues they support and the ones they don’t. Experience these topics removed from the emotion of how you feel about them.

For instance, if you have an acquaintance who supports a different political candidate than you do, ask them probing questions about why they do. Don’t make this about proving them wrong. Suspend your opinion and only listen to theirs. Try to understand what drives it the way a psychologist may dissect someone’s motives.

Surround Yourself with Smarter People

Whether you’re hiring, dining, or playing racquetball, spend at least some of your time with people who are smarter than you or more well-traveled than you. Ask them about their experiences. When they speak, listen, even if it’s not directed your way.

Take Up a New Hobby or Learn Something New

Attack your bucket list with wild abandon or simply try an online class or a new hobby.

Travel

Experience foreign cultures and explore alone. Take time to listen to what’s going on around you. Talk to strangers. Everyone has a story. Learning theirs will make yours more interesting too.

Accept that Learning as an Adult Is Different

Many people refuse to read or take online classes because they associate learning with the drudgery of school and rote memorization and boring curriculum, but when you are master of your own ship and can steer the course (of your courses), learning becomes much more enjoyable. Give it a chance. Note of caution: while you may enjoy it more, it may also take more repetition for the ideas to sink in.

Embrace a Cause

You’ll meet new people and do some good.

Look for Connections

As you absorb these new experiences and learning, don’t place them in boxes in your head as if you were organizing the garage. Instead, look for applications for your new knowledge and experiences and connections to others and ideas.

Be Generous

Be generous for no reason and fight the temptation to post it on social media. Let it be a secret you share with the person who benefited.

Don’t Ever Try to Be the Most Interesting Person in the Room

If you are, there’s nothing to gain.

A Final Word on Becoming More Interesting

There are numerous books written about becoming a better conversationalist, and while some of that is technique, some of it is also derived from personal growth and a desire to never stagnate. The internet has placed near-limitless learning opportunities in front of us that are available all day every day. Using this knowledge availability as a stepping stone to expand our horizons and become life-long learners will not only make us more interesting but help our businesses remain relevant during times when “staying the course” isn’t advisable.

Read More

For business owners who are looking for a robust benefits package (for themselves or for their employees) but might be thinking they’re “just too small,” the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, through its Chambers Plan, may be the answer.

Starting with a “no minimum firm size” (meaning your company is eligible to apply even if it’s a one-person operation), the Chambers Plan was designed specifically to protect small businesses, from those that are home-based to growing companies (up to 50 employees).

The Chambers Plan is also geared to grow and evolve with the needs of a company.

And because there are no industry restrictions with the Chambers Plan, as long as you’re a member of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, you’re eligible. In short, based on the specific needs of your business and employees, there’s a plan that’s right for you.

The Chambers Plan has a guaranteed approval feature (there are no health questions or medical exams to separate you from a benefits program) and renewal of coverage is also guaranteed as long as you pay your premium and maintain your Chamber membership.

Stable rates are made possible by the bundling with thousands of similar firms and a “partial pooling” concept on health and dental benefits. That means small fluctuations in a firm’s claims do not automatically factor into the rates, giving firms greater rate stability over the long term.

The Chambers Plan operates under the direction of the not-for-profit Chambers of Commerce Insurance Corporation of Canada, with volunteer directors who are also Chamber members.

What all this means is that your interests as a Chamber member are front and centre. All surpluses are reinvested in the Plan to help control premiums.  This is why 850 Chambers of Commerce (including the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce) actively endorse Chambers Plan.

There are additional features that make the Chambers Plan worth looking into, including connections with professional accounting, counselling, legal, and human resources experts who understand the challenges faced by small business.

The process of applying is simple and fast: most health and dental claims are processed within 48 hours and health options include on-the-spot processing of prescription drug claims using the Assure Card.

One more thing: the Chambers Plan Service Centre works in concert with a local Chambers Plan advisor to give you answers to all your questions.

Locally, that advisor is Selectpath Benefits & Financial, formerly LBM Consulting.

Interested in learning more? Connect with us today by calling (519) 336-2400 or by emailing sdesilva@slchamber.ca, to get started.

Read More

Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce is pleased to welcome two new members to its ranks. Please take the time to reach out to the following;

—Watmec Limited, Corunna. As one of Canada’s most innovative providers of customized training and development solutions, Waterloo Management Education Centre (WATMEC) designs skill-building programs to meet any organization’s performance objectives. Aligning learning outcomes with organizational strategies and key business drivers has made the organization a top choice of decision-makers in the public and private sectors.

Being one of the oldest training firms in the industry has given WATMEC the experience and the background to evolve its training methodology over the years. During this process, WATMEC has become the only training provider to put its own trainers through the Accelerated Learning training module and scrutiny to ensure that the level of learning they provide your employees is of the highest quality.

—National Hose and Equipment Ltd. – a Canadian owned and operated wholesale warehousing distributor supplying a complete range of industrial, chemical and hydraulic hose and fittings. It also supplies sandblasting pressure pots & cabinets, casters, and hose reels.

The firm has considerable experience in the export market, offering excellent freight rates, competitive prices, and a value-added service, which is second to none.

Read More

Partners and Sponsors