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!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


America was built upon the concept that great individual effort can result in unprecedented personal reward - that individuals can realize unlimited opportunity through hard work and the effective utilization of their abilities and resources.  It is also a country born of rebellion seeking a place to exhibit religious freedom.  We strive to leverage our potential to achieve endless possibilities yet our “roots” establish within each of us a morale and ethical duty to provide for all.  We are created equally BUT, having different gifts, interests, abilities talents and capabilities, should not expect nor feel we are entitled to receive EQUAL REWARDS unless we invest equally to create results.  While we all taste success, life is a reflection 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, the effort we put forth and the outcomes we achieve.  Rather than expecting to receive equally because we were blessed to live within this great country we should be thankful we can receive proportionately to the efforts we put forth – that the American Dream of becoming whatever we wish to be can become a reality in the lives of those willing to invest their time, talents, abilities and resources.

Thanksgiving recognizes the sacrifice made by many AND the relationships developed within a new land in celebrating the sweat equity invested to make the harvest possible.   Some farmed, some hunted, some cooked, some served – but all shared in the feast they helped prepare.  We possess different gifts, abilities and competencies so we ARE NOT presumed to be equal in our ability to produce or achieve results.  There are many contributors to the harvest.  If all hunted – or all farmed – there would be very little variety on our thanksgiving tables.  Our Thanksgiving Holiday – one of two truly American Holidays – epitomizes sharing, celebrates the harvest and focuses on giving thanks for the bounty our great country provides.

Our country has survived many challenges from outside its borders.  We have overcome adversity, established ourselves as world leaders in almost every endeavor we choose to pursue, and shared our riches (and resources) with many having less.  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 have available to us.  

As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, consider not only the harvest but also the work that went into preparing for it.   Hold tightly to the freedoms we enjoy while striving to provide similar opportunities to those less fortunate RATHER THAN diminishing our own rewards in an effort to minimize the gap between those who “have” and those who “have not.”  Celebrate the effort and be thankful for our abilities rather than focusing upon the rewards the efforts produced during this Holiday season.  Recognize the sacrifice that allowed us to live as we do and the ongoing commitment needed to maintain our abundance.  Maximize our potential by leveraging the gifts and resources we have been given to provide appropriate rewards (that can be shared freely and willingly with others) rather than attempting to tax or restrict the fruits of those that labor so that the rewards can be distributed equally to those unwilling to invest in their own futures.  Be thankful for the investor as much as you are for the return on his or her investment.   

Do not allow football, “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday” to overshadow Thanksgiving.  Enjoy time with family and friends, holding dear the hard work that brought the dreams of those who came before us to fruition.  Pray our efforts can help fulfill the dreams we hold dear while establishing new possibilities for those who will follow as we celebrate the unique opportunities our great and free country provides.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving this year, focusing upon the many blessings you have received (rather than worrying about the things you have not yet achieved) and the bountiful harvest we enjoy.