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Milford candle company embraces conscious leadership

Union Leader Correspondent

July 15. 2018 10:03PM
Rod Harl, president of Alene Candles in Milford, speaks with the production team recently where the workforce has completed a new conscious leadership program. (COURTESY)

MILFORD — A local candle manufacturer is embracing a philosophy designed to help its employees improve relationships and reduce conflict.

Alene Candles of Milford has enhanced its workforce culture after implementing a conscious leadership program — one of the first companies in the Granite State to adopt the ideology.

The candle company has been working with The Conscious Leadership Group to train its employees on conflict resolution, how to take responsibility for actions, speaking candidly and more.

Rod Harl, president of Alene Candles, recently teamed up with Diana Chapman, a founding partner with The Conscious Leadership Group, to help improve company culture and leadership.

Alene Candles is the first manufacturer to attempt the philosophy on the production floor.

“There was no roadmap for us when this started,” said Harl.

However, Harl said the mindfulness principles have since made employees aware of their emotional states. Harl said they now notice triggers that could anger them or make them anxious and are provided with the tools to relax, de-stress and have a clear mind to make positive choices.

He said some workers were skeptical about the conscious leadership efforts, but but that he continues to hear enthusiasm about the program — not only on the production floor, but also in the home.

“Now that we are doing it, we believe this is a competitive advantage to attracting staff,” he added.

Harl stressed the importance of creating a workforce environment where employees are engaged, valued and appreciated. Management added more supervisors to help solve problems, and the company is focusing on the 15 commitments to improve company culture that is a part of the conscious leadership program, including responsibility, integrity and appreciation.

“We are still early in our journey. We have a lot of work still to do,” Harl said.

Since implementing the program, Harl said workers have less stress, are leaving their shifts less tired and can make more thorough and conscious choices. Worker interactions are more relaxed and pleasant, according to Harl, who said he is pleased with the progress. Alene Candles is one of the state’s largest seasonal employers. Year-round it employs 200 workers at its New Hampshire location, but will reach about 500 employees during its peak holiday season.

Alene Candles is a contract and private-label manufacturer of candles for the gift, cosmetic and retail markets. The company fills tens of thousands of custom-designed, fragranced candles for cosmetic brands and retailers, according to a release.

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