By: Larry Fish, President
Over the last 22 years, GreenSearch has conducted seminars and contributed articles for a number of landscape and green industry oriented trade associations and publications. Rarely do we get an overload of feedback in terms of companies putting actionable effort forth along with a description of the demonstrated results. That is, until this year.
The example I am referring to dealt with mechanics (technicians to be more exact) and whether or not these unsung heroes get enough appreciation from the rest of us who depend so heavily on their expertise and services. Specifically, our article depicted a scenario in which a mechanic had just given his notice. The Superintendent, who now had to replace him, was reflecting on all the things he might have done to prevent this event from ever happening in the first place. The major reason for his leaving was a lack of appreciation and respect for the things he did to keep the organization operating smoothly.
Apparently, many mechanics read the article and several took the time to E-mail their thoughts and comments to me. It appears that the fictional scenario I wrote about is not fiction at all. In fact, according to those who e-mailed me their opinions, appreciation, inclusion, feedback and advice are things many folks in this category are not used to receiving or providing. The only time many seem to get noticed is when a vehicle or piece of equipment is unavailable for service. When this happens, look out, here it comes and it’s moving fast.
I know that many companies do not operate this way when it comes to showing appreciation to those folks who show up every day, do their jobs very well and, by doing so, often ensure that their achievements are taken for granted. You know the kind of folks I am referring to. You hired them to perform those routine, but important tasks. Usually, the tasks are deadline driven and, if they are not done, there’s a ripple effect throughout many other departments and customers as well. When they foul up, complaints start coming in from everywhere. A mechanic’s job is one of them, but there are many others as well.
Smart owners and managers value the input and opinions of people in these types of positions. They never let too much time go by before they sit down with them over a cup of coffee and see how things are going. They show them a unique type of appreciation by listening and learning from them.
One CEO I know who runs a large company is very good at this. He keeps records of company anniversary dates of employees, and as that date approached, the employee receives a brief note of congratulations on achieving that level of tenure. It is all tracked on a simple computer program, and is extremely effective in making people feel that they are appreciated and noticed by the boss.
Others used different means to make people feel appreciated and part of the team. Dropping someone a brief, unexpected, hand-written note for a job well done is a big favorite. How about a “dinner for two” for an employee who has been working long hours to bring in an important project to completion? Now and then, some paid time off pays huge dividends when used in the right situation. The key is to take action before the employee feels compelled to ask for something. Timing is everything.
Today, many companies in our industry deal with very similar cost structures, product and services and available employment pools. The difference between an employee leaving and staying with a company is not always tied to additional income but rather to additional appreciation.
To reinforce this notion, here is a quote from an e-mail I received on the article mentioned: “I appreciate the article you wrote, and identify with all of it. I have been in the industry for 13 years now… People like you make my job not seem so bad at the end of the day.”
It doesn’t take much – – all I did was write an article.
We at GreenSearch wish everyone a Merry Christmas and productive 2018!!
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