There was a time that I looked for talent in my new employees without worrying about them having a good attitude. I believed it was worth the trade off. Work is work, right? It doesn’t have to be a happy place. It is called work for a reason. The clients didn’t complain. The work got finished.
To be honest, it was terrible. I was fundamentally unhappy, but I thought I was successful. The thing about a bad attitude at a company is that it seeps deep into your roots and spreads throughout the land. It takes a toll on everyone. I didn’t realize this until the situation was better, and I could look back and learn from my mistakes.
We only get one shot at life; there are no do-overs. So why be miserable? In the great words of Gandhi, “Be the change.” The culture starts from the top. If the boss is a grump, then it will spread. Countless studies have been done that show happier employees are more productive.
Shawn Archor, author of The Happiness Advantage: Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, analyzed research from the last decade in his book about the connection between happy employees and their impact in the workplace. He determined that “a happy workforce raises sales by 37 percent, productivity by 31 percent, and accuracy on tasks by 19 percent.”
Wow! How do you like those apples?
Are your employees happy? Let’s take a little test. What happens when…
Parts are missing — When we sell a job, the first thing we do is start pulling the equipment. What is not in stock is ordered. As it comes in it will go on the client “pile.” When everything is pulled, the list (which has been checked off) goes with the work order for the project. This works surprisingly well. But sometimes a part is missing. What is the company’s reaction?
b.The boss/project manager/ front-of-house person gets excited to bring the part out and see the job
c.Installer(s) leave the job to be rescheduled for another day.
When a client is upset — Maybe you had to push a client job back because the truck broke, or the TV didn’t come in. Even the best-laid plans don’t always work out, and this could create a frustrated client. How does your company react?
a.Refund the clients’ money
b.Talk it through with the client. Explain the situation. Listen.
When the system crashes — It is always the day the client is having a party, or ten minutes before a home show opens that a system will crash. Years ago as the doors opened at a home show the control system we had just finished installing started to smoke. What happens?
a.Walk away and come back another day
b.Macgyver it! Stay until it works for the event. Come back and make sure the next day.
If you answered “B” to situations above, your company seems to be doing okay. Although I think there is always room for more “happy.” If you picked some “A” and “B” answers, then you have some work to do.
Here are three quick tips to improve morale.
Do something fun. This seems simple, but we get so stuck in the rut of “the every day,” that we forget to laugh and have fun. Plan something that will get a few laughs. Think Laser Tag, paint ball, or maybe a great action movie—something that will get everyone to stop taking life so seriously and remember that they like each other and where they work.
Say "good job." It is amazing how often we forget to say this. Of course it is expected that an employee does their job. Yet, when they go above and beyond, let them know you appreciate it. A gift certificate to their favorite restaurant won’t hurt either.
Remember the “Why.” Why does your company exist? Do your employees know that answer? Having the boss or management show their passion, their drive will get others on board to do the same. You might be surprised at what you’ll see.
I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again, what we get to do for a living is cool. There is no need to be miserable in this industry. Make sure you’re good, and make sure you’re people are good. You’ll look back and be oh so happy you did.
Remember, “People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” —Abraham Lincoln