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, May 27, 2011


Memorial Day has become the long weekend that kicks off summer. Children look forward to school ending soon so they can explore new horizons outdoors (hopefully) rather than inside a classroom (though some are already looking forward to returning in the fall to see friends they might not otherwise see). Some (though not all) parents see the weekend as “the beginning of the end” as they must scramble to find qualified caregivers to watch over their children whom are so looking forward to their time off.

Some employees are beginning to plan vacations – time away from both the job and the home – in an effort to “refresh and recharge.” Others are planning their escape from the tight economic times that have surrounded them – seeking a place of sanity (or at least where they can “leave it all behind”). What the private sector has lived through (and from which it is beginning to emerge), the public sector is just now beginning to experience.

The weekend has become a time to do lawn work, spend time on the golf course, swim in a lake – to simply enjoy time off (which began for many at least a day early if you look at the traffic!). With predictions of high temperatures and only light rain, what could be missing from this holiday weekend? ONLY, perhaps, why the Holiday exists!

During your time away this weekend, enjoy your gifts and blessings but make time to thank those who sacrificed much so that we could have what we so often take for granted. Take a moment to honor those who gave their time, their freedom – even their lives – so that we might have a “daily life” from which to escape. Thank someone who lost a loved one so that you might continue to live in this great country or actively support someone currently fighting for the concept of freedom – whether it be through a note or within a prayer.

This weekend, even if just for a moment, be a living memorial to those that have passed before AND those now sacrificing for us. Let us all rightly and appropriately recognize them for all they have given. Reflect upon all that our country stands for – all that you have ONLY because someone else considered it valuable enough to defend.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


One can only become what he or she perceives as being achievable. If one “dreams big,” great things can happen. If one chooses to live within their present abilities, he or she may never realize the fullness of their potential. When we stretch our goals – reaching for fruit from the highest branches rather than accepting only low hanging fruit – we will taste success far beyond that shared by the masses.

I would guess that few individuals could have imagined the impact a river could have on the landscape prior to the Grand Canyon’s formation. Who would have imagined that the Wright Brother’s first flight could have taken us to where we are today? So many conveniences in life began as a dream but materialized because someone had faith their idea could become reality. If we can work towards a cure for cancer, why do so many find it impossible to find fulfillment in their life’s work?

I have spoken to several individuals recently about career changes – about becoming something they wish to be rather than what they are. The conversation typically focuses on things they do not like about their present job RATHER THAN around those aspects they enjoy. They speak of things they would “rather do” instead of building upon the things they do well. They seek to avoid their weaknesses rather than maximizing their strengths. Should they choose to “run away” from a current situation RATHER THAN running towards a better one, will they ever be truly happy?

Use the talents you were given – leveraging your strengths as you strengthen your weaknesses – and you will never work a day in your life. Dream big – the seemingly insignificant streams that course through your life may take on the power of waterfalls (if only you believe)!