The Moral of Morale: Part One – by Christie Smith, Long & McQuade

Christie Smith of Long & McQuade
Christie Smith of Long & McQuade

People are powerful. There are no limits to what a motivated and inspired and appreciated person can accomplish. Their work ethic, product knowledge, and great relationships with customers are a tremendous asset to your company. So, how do we find and keep the perfect super-worker? Maybe we don’t find them at all. MAYBE they are already within the walls of our stores and we haven’t tapped into their potential. I firmly believe this is the case. I have done the research, and after 26 years of working in this industry, I have the personal experience to back it up. Right now, more than at any other time in history, employees are leaving their jobs at a startling rate. According to the US Department of Statistics, the average employee stays in their jobs only 1.5 years. Unbelievable! The good news is that research has shown that money is not the leading motivator for staying in our jobs… not by a long shot. Don’t believe for one minute that times have changed so much that young people today don’t want to fall in love with their companies – that they would never consider dedicating themselves to an industry like ours, or view it as a serious career choice. I think that in many cases, if we’re honest, we would discover that bad leadership or ill-conceived policies are what is holding the door open for them to leave! The truth is, changing a bad environment is not as hard you think. One of the biggest reasons people leave their jobs is because they feel overworked and underappreciated. This kind of attitude can be devastating to your company. It’s more essential than ever that we learn how to take care of the people who are our greatest asset. I have discovered dozens of ideas that can totally change a negative work environment and dramatically improve your bottom line, and many of these ideas don’t have to cost you much at all. Here are a few inexpensive, but effective examples.

  • The gift of time. Reward a good idea or hard work by letting the employee off an hour early or giving them an extended lunch.
  • Replace the normal coffee in your lunch room with some gourmet coffees.
  • Take a good salesperson on a tour of a manufacturer.
  • Or, quite simply, bring them CAKE!!!
  • Here’s a powerful one… let your best worker give up their least favorite task that day and you do it yourself.

These things might not seem like much, but they can completely alter the perspective of someone who is feeling on the verge of leaving. One last thought I would like to leave you with: never under-estimate the power of the words “Thank you”, and the more specific you are about what you are thankful for, the better. I’ve known bosses whose attitudes are, “Why should I say thank you when I am paying them to do their job?” In response to this, I would just like to ask you one thing, I wonder how long our relationships would last if we never thanked our partners for a home-cooked meal? Or if we never told them they looked good or showed gratitude for some personal effort they’d made on our behalf. Money is no substitute for appreciation, and you can take that straight to the bank! Coming Soon: Moral of Morale – Part 2 Making sure your staff feels appreciated is certainly one of the most important ways to retain and inspire your staff, but equally important to an ambitious employee is making sure they are regularly challenged and empowered. We all need to know that we are contributing something important to our company, that we are a genuine part of its success and that there is always somewhere to go and grow. We want opportunities to build a career, not just a salary. Find out more about this and other ways to grow and retain your outstanding staff members in the next issue! Christie Smith is the Events, Advertising & Sponsorship Coordinator for Long & McQuade of Vancouver BC Canada. She is currently serving as Vice P/Secretary for RPMDA.