As Alexander Pope said in his famous An Essay on Man, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”
I think of that saying every year at the beginning of baseball season. Everybody has hope for their team on Opening Day. Even in Cleveland, where the Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1948, there’s always hope that this might be the year.
One of the things people love about sports is the feedback and the rewards. Work hard, and the team could make the playoffs. Be smart and innovative, and the team can advance past the competition to the championship. Then give it all you’ve got for a seven game series, and you could end up as the best. The next thing you know, it’s champagne, victory parades, and a visit to the White House. (Editor’s Note: Again, in Cleveland all of this is just a rumor. But I digress.)
In business, however, an owner or manager doesn’t have the motivation of the playoffs and World Series. For refrigeration contractors, spring is just another season of trying to keep people motivated, happy, and productive. That can be difficult to do. People are only human. They have good days and bad days. They get tired and feel overwhelmed. And many may just be trying to get to the end of the week, not trying to get to the World Series. Your most valuable asset — your technicians — may not see spring as a new beginning full of hope and promise, but simply as the start of a long, hot summer filled with long hours.
I recently spoke with The NEWS’ 2015 Best Contractors to Work For, to ask them how they keep their people happy and motivated day in and day out. I’ll be putting their comments together for a feature article in an upcoming issue of The NEWS. But FROSTlines readers have a special place in my heart, so I’m going to provide our valued refrigeration contractor readers with a quick sneak-peek into some of the suggestions they shared. I hope you can use them to help keep your people happy and motivated in their work. When your people are happy, playing a good team game, and working toward common goals, the real winners are your customers and your company.
Here are some ideas from our Best Contractors to Work For:
• Treat your people as humans, not machines. Publically show appreciation for a job well done.
• Work to foster a positive company culture that makes people feel good about who they are and what they do. This starts at the top — with you.
• Have a clear vision for your company. Know where you want to go and decide what the next step is to get there. Share this vision with your people so they can see how they are a part of it.
• Don’t be afraid to have a little fun. It doesn’t all have to be work, work, work. (My favorite suggestion along these lines was periodically bringing in a crew from the local Waffle House to cook breakfast for the company. Who doesn’t like a nice Waffle House breakfast?)
I hope you have success applying these insights and please share with me some of the things you do at your company. Refrigeration technicians and office support staff might not have a World Series to strive for, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be the best. And as you know, happy employees create happy customers.