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Motivated employees help companies achieve excellence
Written by John Szozda   
Thursday, 18 March 2010 15:52

What is the correlation between business excellence and motivated employees?

They go hand in hand, according to the nominees for the 17th Annual Prism Awards, a local program which honors excellence in businesses and organizations serving the Eastern Maumee Bay communities.

Prism judges consider nine criteria before making their decision. They are: teamwork, product quality, customer service, creating opportunity, community involvement, job creation, innovation, safety and probably the most important, employee benefits.

Employee benefits goes beyond the expected competitive salary, health insurance and vacation. Other benefits can help one team capture more of the market than another team. These include profit sharing and recognition and rewards programs.

Over the past 17 years I’ve reviewed all Prism applications in my role as a volunteer for the sponsoring organization, the Eastern Maumee Bay Chamber of Commerce. Many of the 109 Prism winners provide the obvious employee benefits but they also have something else in common regarding their employees. They tend to foster open communication systems to generate employee input into decision-making, they tend to share success and they tend to imbue the workplace with a sense of fun. The way they do these things vary. Here are 10 such ways from this year’s nominees:

Apathy and time-worn threat could win levy for Toledo Public Schools
Written by John Szozda   
Thursday, 11 March 2010 16:48

Toledo Public Schools are banking apathy and the time-worn strategy of eliminating sports will get an income tax levy passed May 4.
While eliminating sports failed miserably at suburban Lake, it could work at an inner-city system like Toledo.
It’s a game of numbers.
Let’s start with Lake.
Voters turned down seven levy requests from 2004 to 2006. The district instituted pay-to-play, eliminated tennis and hockey and, finally, threatened to eliminate all sports. The uncertainty motivated parents to move or transfer their student-athletes to schools with open enrollment.

Produce growing system shows promise for a healthier poor
Written by John Szozda   
Monday, 08 March 2010 09:28

It’s ironic that Americans with the least look like those who can afford to eat the most.

That’s not because the poor have too much food, it’s because they tend to eat the wrong kinds of food, claims Tana Schiewer, executive director of Food For Thought, an Oregon-based food pantry.

“It’s interesting that the hallmark of poverty now is obesity rather than being too skinny. That is because the food we have available, mostly through pantries, are manufactured foods, not actually food-foods. They don’t normally provide a lot of nutrition but they do provide lots of fat and empty calories,” she explained.

This should concern all of us as we bear the health care costs associated with obesity—high blood pressure, Type II Diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer.

To better serve this area’s poor, Food for Thought, as well as seven other organizations, are experimenting with a high-density, vertical growing system which provides pantries with fresh vegetables.

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