During a meeting with a group of clients last week another client, Tom McKown, the owner of Industrial Automation, presented on his best practices. Tom concentrated on people and culture. The topic was a huge hit and brought out some of the things my clients do to improve morale.
- Tom Miller, Western Industrial Tooling, shared that right after he bought the company they did a branding exercise and the employees noted that part of the company’s brand was “Bagel Day” every Thursday. One of the most appreciative things he did was get rid of the old coffee machine and replace it with a Keurig. The reaction was incredibly positive.
- Fred Barkman, Spectra Labs, told me that when he upgraded the cheap, canned coffee to coffee from a specialty roaster it was like he walked on water. Fred’s business is in Fife so he gets four season tickets to the Tacoma Rainiers and lets the employees use them. The positive feedback is worth the few thousand dollars. He also puts out a snack assortment (chips, etc.) from Costco every week and the $11 a week returns itself in multiples.
- Finally, Rick Locke with Windows, Doors and More, started holding all-employee monthly meetings after he bought his business and told me the response from the warehouse and similar workers was phenomenal. They had never been included in any company updates or given insights on goals. Rick also keeps soda pop, water and snacks available for free in the lunchroom and, as one might expect, it’s a big hit.
Little things matter (a lot). There is little reason to be cheap when sometimes all it takes is a few dollars to return thousands.
“I’ve never understood why people consider youth a time of freedom and joy. It’s probably because they’ve forgotten their own.” Margaret Atwood