The Employers' Association

The Employers’ Association (TEA) is a not-for-profit employers’ association, formed in 1939, with offices in Grand Rapids serving the West Michigan employer community. We help more than 600 member companies maximize employee productivity and minimize employer liability through human resources and management advice, training, survey data, and consulting services.

TEA is in the business of helping people. This blog is intended to address human issues, concerns and the things that impact people - be they self-perpetuated or externally imposed. Feel free to respond to the thoughts presented here, for without each other, we are nothing!

Friday, June 11, 2010


America was built upon the belief that individuals can realize unlimited opportunity through hard work and the effective utilization of resources if a superior product or service is produced that appeals (and sells) to a consuming public. Implied within this basic tenant is that while we ARE created equally, we possess different gifts, abilities and competencies so we ARE NOT presumed to be equal in our ability to produce or achieve results. Not everyone can be a professional athlete, a teacher, a counselor, a leader, a writer, or an innovator…or any of a score of other occupations that require specialized skills or unique temperaments. While we all taste success, life is an environment of equitability rather than of equality. Our efforts do not create EQUAL results - they produce results that reflect EQUITABLY against the abilities we have developed, the intelligence we apply, and outcomes we achieve.

It is with sadness that I read of attacks on these basic principles. Schools tend to teach to the middle – spending far too little on creating opportunity for the less gifted and failing to advance the talents and abilities of those towards the top. Labor unions (though far less prevalent within private industry) flourish within government entities by bringing concepts that “everyone is equal” and “pay equality for all based on time in grade” (rather than for performance) into the workplace. Field days are disappearing from elementary schools because some children are not able to compete with others (often due to their own lifestyle choices) and we do not want them to feel “badly” should they not win or taste the same success as others. I recently heard of a competitive soccer league that installed a “five goal difference” rule to eliminate embarrassing losses – but rather than ending the game early (as is traditionally done), a team winning by more than five goals would be declared loser of the contest.

Our country has survived many challenges from outside our borders – as we were able to reflect upon during the recent Memorial Day Holiday. If the greatness of our country is to survive, we must brace ourselves to overcome attacks from within – attacks on an individual’s ability to demonstrate excellence, the opportunity to reap the rewards of individual efforts, and the belief that one is limited ONLY by his or her own shortcomings – by embracing the freedoms and unlimited possibilities we currently share.