Mentoring Our Peers
As an industry veteran, Sunnyland acknowledges the importance of mentorship, industry associations, industry round-table discussions and continuing education for employees.
Over the years, Sunnyland has partnered with the workforce commission to offer continuing education classes to employees. With a special grant program, Sunnyland employees receive grants, and at no charge, they can take classes to improve their work skills. Employees have taken classes in Microsoft Office, Customer Relations and Adobe Suite.
As part of the continuing education program, Sunnyland and the Dallas County Community College created a custom curriculum for Sunnyland employees. The course included customer service and business education training. The instructor commended Sunnyland employees on their customer service knowledge. Sunnyland continues to encourage employees to take classes for the betterment of themselves and the company.
The University Of Texas at Dallas Jindal School Of Business partnered with Sunnyland to give grad students real-world experience. The school encouraged students to work in a small business environment, giving them a more realistic perspective of their job function after graduation.
The students spent months working with Sunnyland employees. The outcome was for Sunnyland, an unbiased view of internal business practices and a five-year business plan drafted by the students and for the students, a project that gave them experience and insight into business dealings. The Sunnyland employees attended the student’s presentation at the University of Texas Dallas campus and took part in open discussions about the projects conclusions.
Sunnyland also has met with competitors locally and nationally to discuss the software and the programs it uses. This is to help other businesses in their decision making process when investing in a new system.
David has met with competitors to discuss ideas that benefit employees and overall business goals. This included topics like healthcare for employees, point-of-sale systems, operating systems, inventory software and buying methods. Sunnyland is friendly with and has an open relationship with its local competitors.
Sunnyland has also partnered with the International Casual Furnishings Association and created Shoplocaldfw.com to promote small businesses in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
The owner David and his son Brad both participate in conferences and round tables for the International Casual Furnishings Association to teach and learn from others in the industry. David was once the president of the Casual Furniture Retailers Association (the predecessor to ICFA) and both him and his son Brad currently resides on the board at ICFA.
Shoplocaldfw.com is an initiative to help small businesses in Dallas. It has brought together owners of a variety of small businesses to discuss legislative issues, technological innovations and customer relation practices. Shoplocaldfw.com holds networking functions to promote small businesses.
As an aspiring industry thought leader, Sunnyland values the relationships and communications it has with others in the industry and knows the importance of industry associations. It will continue to reach out to others in the industry and to keep an open line of communication with other businesses.
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