The 2020 HR Leadership Class Visits DeCrescente Distributing
By: Amanda Warzek

HRL 2020 class pic

Friday, February 7th began a short journey with a long cause. Career development means different things to different professionals, but I can suffice it to say it doesn’t typically include the pleasant surprise of sipping beer at 9:00am on a Friday morning.

I think most of us walked in with an idea, but no real details of what to expect from the CRHRA HR Leadership program. For myself, as a DiSC C style, not having a plan and walking into essentially a room full of strangers, is not in my comfort zone. But growth never comes from staying in your lane.

So back to that 9:00am beer; as I reflect on the activity, the exercise of walking through pairing pilsners, IPAs, ambers, wheats and stouts with different food flavors, both recommended and of our own creativity, was not only a fun activity, but really set the tone for the day and for what I believe is to come from participating in this program.

It’s about self-awareness and reflection (what does this taste like? what might it go well with?), stepping outside your comfort zone (I don’t normally drink IPAs, but let me try it paired with some pineapple salsa and tortilla chips), and making connections and learning from one another (sharing our thoughts and opinions on the different combinations).

As we moved through the day, several DISC activities helped to unite us and prepare us. We worked with our same-style teams to identify (and laugh about) our natural tendencies, strengths and challenges as leaders, and most importantly how to best communicate with each other and those we support in our organizations. We also learned the very entertaining ways in which each style approaches going out to dinner;

D – Hurry up and pick or I’ll just pick for you
I – I'd like one of each appetizer
S – I’ll just have what you’re having
C – I already researched the menu options 2 hours before we got here

A common theme throughout the day, was the ongoing awe of the establishment in which we were so fortunate to be hosted. Aside from the fact we all now have #goals of a pub in our organization, it was clear that DeCrescente was a truly special place as we proceeded on our tour of the distribution center. From towering pallets, to the agility and precision of forklifts zipping by, to our friendly, knowledgeable tour guide, we continued to see how this well-oiled, responsibly built, technologically advanced company was such a success. Organization is an understatement, and as a C, I was in my happy place.

We concluded our afternoon with DeCrescente’s CEO, CJ DeCrescente. His insights on employee engagement rounded out the picture of why his organization has continued to receive accolades year after year. While each company and industry is unique, his notions are inspiring and impactful to all. A few examples include:

-Be transparent
-Communication and visibility promote inclusion and engagement. Take the time to talk to staff.
-Recognition is important, even the smallest gestures can go a long way
-Keep it simple
-Strong managers are key to retention. Train and invest in them.
-Don’t assume; ask your employees what’s important to them.
-The most powerful demonstration of buy-in to company culture is when it self-polices.

As we headed out for the day into a winter weather wonderland, I couldn’t help but think of this quote; “the best beers are those enjoyed among friends”, and I have no doubt after this, I will have ten more of them.

Cheers to the journey ahead.