What is an employee of the month recognition?
Something I learned while photographing members of the produce department at The Common Market Co-op in Frederick Maryland was that a recognition program can be good for business, the wellbeing of its people, and can create a regenerative process that enables two-way conversations with customers.
Pictured here is Tito, employee of the month for September 2016. Employees recognized as employee of the month have an opportunity to give their voice to their own unique contributions to and about the work that they all do.
I think it’s a courageous endeavor of The Common Market to create two-way conversation between the organization, its customers, and its supply chain. I think that this really humanizes the whole thing and puts human hearts at the center of the frame.
The employee of the month is not a photograph on the wall in the employee lounge kind of thing that is so inconspicuous that no one notices. It’s not done haphazardly, rather it evolved over time in conjunction with the organization’s mission, as part of its mission. The program is an ongoing process and as the business evolves and the employees evolve in their own growth and education the whole thing just keeps going. Of course, they bring their growing customer base right along with them, as co-partners. Not just jargon or shop talk, but as a function of the business.
Tito told me that he loves interacting with the customers and he especially loves people coming into the store for the first couple times unsure about what certain vegetables or fruits are and how to use them. He values the opportunity to know only help them learn about the food but also where it comes from. He said that he loves that his job allows him to make a small difference in an individual or family’s life as they look for ways to address health concerns or needs. Wow! So how cool is that? What do you do for a living? Oh I help people understand food that’s available to them locally and I get to help them eat more healthfully while educating them slowly over time to better understand what their nutritional needs are. All of this while supporting local sustainable food production. Amen!
Thanks Tito, and keep up the good work!
The Common Market and Tito can be found here:
5728 Buckeystown Pike Frederick, MD 21704