The day has finally come. I was set to attend one of our manager meetings here at the Witten Farm. As the season is (sadly) coming to an end, it is time for the management to come together to reflect on the season behind us as well as look ahead to the exciting things to come next season. I was able, through the amazing powers of zoom, to be a fly-on-the wall and get a behind the scenes look at how our management team works together at Witten’s.
As an employee who has worked at Witten’s for four years, I have always admired and appreciated the work culture that Witten’s creates. I remember the first time I stepped into my interview at Witten’s. I was fifteen years old, and it was my first job. I got out of my mom’s van and walked timidly into the farm office, where the the interview was held. I was excited, but I was also nervous. As I started talking to my soon-to-be managers, however, I realized I had nothing to be nervous about. I felt immediately welcome in the interview room, and later on as a new hire. It was a kind of welcome that goes beyond the workplace-I also felt like I was a part of a team and a family. Four years later, as I grow during my time here, I realize that a lot of this sense of community and family is a direct result of the work and care that our management puts into their jobs.
When I entered the zoom for the manager meeting. I was met by the smiling faces of the managers from our twenty-two locations. I immediately noticed how light-hearted everyone was despite the business-like atmosphere. There was a lot of talk of business and what it is like to be a manager, but it was about a lot more than that. I noticed discussion of our overarching values as a company-honesty, kindness, teamwork, and hard work. Through their discussions, it was apparent how hard the managers work, and how easy it is to take their work for granted. It’s all about balance: Our managers balance cultivating a sense of kindness and approachability while also holding their employees accountable. They enhance the team’s strengths while also improving upon their weaknesses. This is no easy task-but as an employee, I was always amazed at how effortless my managers have made the job look. There’s a lot to juggle, but our managers do it all with a smile on their faces.
Listening in on the meeting, one thing was made clear: we have outstanding managers, which was made clear from the detailed conversations ranging from communication between employees as well as management, to how to further improve our customer service. Everything was discussed with such care to make sure each manager’s employee has the best work experience possible here at Witten’s.
My manager of three years, Kyler Bandy, is the perfect example of this. Kyler helped me grow not only as an employee, but also a team member. I asked Kyler about his experience as a manager here at Witten Farm, as well as his thoughts on the manager meeting that took place. Kyler reflected on the end-of-season manager meeting, saying “The end of the season manager meetings are a time for us to discuss how we can improve ourselves for the following season as well as cultivate that friendly and welcoming environment surrounding the staff and family at the Witten Farm Market.” He also reflected on his own experience creating the work culture at Witten’s, saying “This culture we have created around the farm is something special; the staff and managers I’m fortunate to work with have made my experience as a manager enriching.” Kyler, as well as all of the other managers and leadership team at Witten’s are a huge part of the reason why myself, along with our several other “veteran” employees return each year for another great season. In fact, Kyler, along with a lot of the other managers in attendance have been employees themselves before becoming managers here. If you ask me, that’s pretty awesome.
Witnessing the energy in the room at the meeting made it apparent: without great managers, we would not have the amazing employees that we do. At the end of the day, I don’t remember everything that was said at the meeting, but I do remember the environment that was created there. So, if you are reading this right now, the next time you shop at the market and are greeted by the smiles of our wonderful employees, know that it is a direct result of the training, careful attention to detail, and teamwork from our leadership team. Today’s glimpse into the world of management during the manager meeting was a great reminder of that.