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Do You Wish Your Employees Happy Birthday?

By Dr Paul E Adams |

"A man does not live by bread alone. He needs buttering up once in a while." Robert Henry

Running a business is described by some as a high wire act, testing your sense of balance in holding the wolf at bay while keeping your hands on the wheel driving your business to your chosen destination. So who has time for employee chit-chat or holding hands to comfort hurt feelings? Besides, you may think your employees are lucky to be working- as these are tough times. All well and good, but working and making meaningful contributions to your business are not the same. If your employees lack interest, lack loyalty, or have attitude problems perhaps you are part of the problem.

If you have only a handful of employees, you know them well. And if you have been successful you have created a team, not partnerships. Because if the relationships have grown to best friends, that can be a problem. You will discover if you can t meet the expectations of such "friendships" with raises, promotions, or other perks, employee disappointment can turn to anger and attitude problems.

If your business has grown and you manage many employees, it is easy to lose the once personal contact you enjoyed with each member of your labor force. If you have 50 or more people working for you, do they know you? Do you know them? As you spend your precious cash paying Mr. Smith or Miss Jones to ship orders, invoice customers, order merchandise, make deliveries, or clean the office- are they doing their best for you? Or are they treading water paycheck to paycheck?

While you can not motivate everyone, as some people live with a chip on their shoulder, most employees do respond to positive stimuli, But you must remember, your business is -outside of your family- the most important thing in your life- it consumes you everyday- while to your employees, it is a place to work.

Too many employers take their employees for granted. Don't! Create the reputation of your business as being the place to work. Reader s Digest did. When the founders ran the company they created a family environment. The company sponsored bowling leagues, softball teams, offered a modest profit sharing program, pushed educational programs, ran a company cafeteria, and published a weekly employee newsletter loaded with praise and baby announcements. Employees felt at home. The longevity was incredible. Few left. But Reader s Digest insisted on standards and performance, and they got it.

You can do the same. I am not suggesting you open a cafeteria but there are many things you can do- at little expense. We all thrive on recognition. Who does not like to have their birthday remembered? So send a card with a small gift if you have few employees- such as a gift certificate to a local reasonably priced restaurant- or a pair of movie tickets. Celebrate your employee s anniversary with your company-praise and make a fuss over longevity. Such small efforts can work wonders for morale, loyalty, and productivity. Put yourself in the place of one of your hourly workers, would you not like a little fussing over?

Educational benefits are important to the more ambitious members of your company. You don t have to underwrite the hefty tuition bills of private universities, but you can cover a portion or all of the tuition for study at your local community college. Business research has proven many times the benefits to the employer of a better informed, and better educated employee. Such benefits work wonders to retain those who make money for your company.

And if your business is having a rough go of it in these troubled times, and you dare not spend you dollars on anything but the absolute necessities - at least say hello to your staff-say happy birthday. Let your employees know you care-and you know how important they are to you. Your attitude and attention will be appreciated by those who strive to do their best, and those that complain and blame the world for their problems-who needs them!

It is wise to remember that the success of your business begins with your skill in hiring those that are going to make a difference. Bargain employees who are willing to work "cheap" are like distress merchandise, there is a problem or two! Who you hire and how you cultivate loyalty and dedication is critical to the success of any business-yours included!

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