PEMBROKE, Mass. — It is not easy being a drycleaning employee.
The work is repetitive. The pay is not great. In the summer, it’s stifling hot.
As an owner or operator, when you hire someone, you negotiate a salary and other terms, and the prospect accepts. So you say to yourself that you’ve provided a job.
But perhaps that’s not sufficient. Perhaps you have to provide motivation beyond the salary.
To your employees, say: “To complete a shift and to satisfy 99.8% of the people, to interact well with the staff, is an accomplishment. You can go home proud. Take pride in the work itself.”
WORTH OF WORK
What you are saying to these people is that developing an inner “worth of work” in itself is important.
Approach the route delivery person, and advocate the gospel of work.
Say: “Sam, you’re doing a fine job keeping customers happy and bringing in new accounts. I really like those three accounts on Thatcher Street you won over.
“I know that you don’t have it easy out there. I hope you take satisfaction in the work and in doing the little things that keep customers happy, such as follow-through necessary to track orders processed; new-prospect pitches, which aren’t easy; constant driving all over town; and dealing with all sorts of people and adjusting your personality to meet theirs.
“Develop an inner pride in your work because you are out there doing the best job you can. Day after day. You’re the key. We appreciate what you are doing.”
Say to your drop-store manager: “Lois, this is a hard job. But you do it with calmness and dignity. I hope you appreciate the effort you put forth. I hope you appreciate that the work you do is its own reward.
“Sure, it is easy for me to say this, but you must realize that if you didn’t have work, you would lose so much satisfaction. You wouldn’t have your daily victories. You would lose that self-confidence that you’ve built up for doing a good job.”
Occasionally, have company meetings. After talking about the purpose of the meeting, say something like: “You know, I appreciate each and every one of you. But it’s up to you to derive satisfaction from the work itself. So walk with pride every day you leave here because you’re a hero to yourself.”
Put up several signs in the plant that read, "Be a hero to yourself.” When you talk to the staffer, point to the area sign, reminding the person that they are a hero in your estimation, too.
Regularly stop at each staffer’s workstation. After thanking them for doing a good day’s work, say something about taking pleasure in the work itself. Say something like: “I hope you are deriving satisfaction in the work itself. It is important to take pride.”
Some might call your advocating self-serving. Acknowledge that the more your staffers concentrate on the work, the more profit. Address that concern.
When the company does well, be generous. Provide raises. Give profit bonuses. Be charitable during holidays. When staffers come through on a particularly difficult day, go around to each, handing out $20 bills.
Be a proselytizer of the gospel of work, and you will increase your staff’s productivity. Even more important, you will make them more contented employees.
To read Part 1, go HERE.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected] .