Character is complex. It is often difficult to define, but we all know it when we see it. Maybe, more importantly, we know when it is lacking.
We can draw a simple comparison to our expertise in flavor development. If someone asked you to identify the taste of a Cheddar or a Swiss, the average person might not be able to describe it, but they’d definitely recognize it. The nuance of the various notes blending together creates a distinct experience. However, if one note is missing or out of balance, the entire profile, and as a result, the product won’t work or reach its potential.
What does this have to do with character? And more specifically, character development.
“To me, when someone says you have good character, that means you can weigh things with a good sense of morals,” says Kami Hunt, Edlong’s Human Resources Manager.
She continues, “For character development, it is about growing in your ability to balance the right choices and ethics. Learning how you are going to do things in the workplace with honor and integrity.”
We sat down with Hunt to learn more about how Edlong’s values serve as a target for nurturing our human resources and unleashing the power of character development.
#1 We are All in This Together
At Edlong, collaboration is part of our DNA. We want to be more than just a preferred flavor supplier but rather a partner committed to your success.
Communication, transparency, and a willingness to understand are at the foundation of how we approach these relationships.
But this isn’t just for our customers; it starts with our own people.
Hunt illustrates this further, “Within our own team dynamics you can see different generations, genders, cultures, and backgrounds all needing to work within the same types of functional teams. A large part of our character development is learning from each other on how to best communicate. Focusing on being patient with other folks communication styles and how to work with teams and approach situations/conflict in a healthy and constructive way.”
She believes that developing authentic communication starts by encouraging employees to find their own voice. “It’s important to make your voice heard. Truly being a part of what we are all working towards is hard if you’ve got great ideas you not expressing or holding things in that can be important.”
Hunt acknowledges that this doesn’t come easily for everyone, which is why we have training courses designed to meet employees where they are so we can get them where they want to be.
#2 Fully Committed to Growth
It’s very easy for a company to say that they are committed to the growth of their employees, but following through on it might be more challenging than expected.
“[Fostering development] can seem difficult because everyone is at a different place in their life and career. That’s why we look to identify areas of development and provide customized training to where they are currently; helping them overcome obstacles to move forward. All of this is with the goal of developing their future.”
She explains how, in addition to current training courses, we are rolling out various leadership development programs to empower employees to take ownership of their careers as leaders.
One program in particular is centered on female leadership. It focuses on equipping women for the unique challenges they face in the workplace and empowering them to own their voice, their authority, and their legacy.
But we aren’t stopping there.
#3 Looking for a Better Way
At Edlong, “innovation” is not just some biz-speak buzzword to be thrown around; it’s a driving force in everything we do.
“We are developing innovations and pushing the envelope for our clients every day. The key to this is the collaboration and the trust we’ve built within our teams,” says Hunt.
She reiterates that this comes from emphasizing an atmosphere of understanding. “I think it’s about having humility, forcing yourself to slow down, take a step back and analyze a situation. This habit helps enable you to identify better solutions.”
It’s this encouragement of free-flowing collaboration and communication that feeds the culture of innovation our customers have come to expect.
Successful innovation might take several iterations to get it just right. This, too, is something that we welcome.
#4 Enjoying Victory & Growing from Defeat
“Experiencing a culture that understands everyone will make mistakes but that also works to turn them into growth opportunities was one of the reasons I was attracted to Edlong,” shares Hunt.
She adds, “No one is going to shame you, we’re going to help you get back up and encourage you.”
This starts at the top of the organization, with the executive leadership team and their willingness to lead by example in making bold decisions.
“I’ve seen Laurette [Edlong CEO & Owner] not be shy to start out a company forum with a story of when she failed, but it’s always immediately followed with what she learned from it.” says Hunt.
It’s this commitment to personal character development, fostered by our culture and values, that puts our employees in a position to enjoy their victories that much more.
And you can bet there will be many more to come.
About the Author: Kami Hunt – Human Resources Manager
I am passionate about supporting employees throughout life stages, difficult times and times of great success and celebration. As an HR professional, I am committed to fostering a workplace that employees love to work at by constantly re-evaluating how my approach can better benefit both employees and the company. Leveraging my knowledge as a certified PHR and SHRM-CP, I live by the mission to treat each day as an opportunity to learn and better care for those around me that may need a helping hand or listening ear. Experienced in various industries, I am comfortable wearing multiple hats, managing multiple projects, and prioritizing initiatives.