Building staff morale

In order for your staff to be motivated, they need to have a relationship with their leader. It is easy to forget just how important this detail is, but your staff needs to see you occasionally if they are going to feel good about working at your company.

Capelouto Pest Control is one of the best managed firms in Tallahassee, and I have written many columns about their excellent approach to business. About three weeks ago, I had breakfast with the firm’s co-owner, Grant Capelouto, and his brother, Raymond. While we were eating and discussing the business, Grant mentioned Honeybun Monday. I did a double take because I had no clue what he was talking about.

After explaining that on Honeybun Monday the owners serve honeybuns, juice and energy bars to all the service technicians as they are leaving to start their rounds, Grant asked me if I would like to come see how it worked. I jumped at the opportunity even though I had to be there at 7 a.m. We agreed that the next Monday I would come and experience Honeybun Monday.

When I arrived at Capelouto Pest Control the next Monday morning, both Grant and Raymond were out setting up the food table. As the technicians left the yard in their trucks, either Grant or Raymond walked up to each vehicle and asked the driver what they would like. As they walked back to the table, they engaged each technician in small talk about their family or some other non-business topic.

It was clear to see how much the technicians enjoyed being served by the owners of the business. They all left with a giant smile on their faces.

It takes Grant and Raymond Capelouto less than 20 minutes to commit to Honeybun Monday every week, and it costs less than $25 to implement. The benefits they receive in terms of morale and motivation far outweigh these costs.

When I was doing a lot of traveling for work, I made it a point to call and speak with each of my direct reports at least once a week. I just knew they needed to hear from me.

It is vital that entrepreneurs and managers get out of their offices and interact with their staff on a regular basis. Being too busy is not a valid excuse. Taking a few minutes to talk and joke with your staff is important because it reinforces why they are working for you.

Now go out and make sure you have a plan in place to stay connected with your staff.

You can do this!

Dr. Osteryoung is the director of outreach for the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship in the College of Business at The Florida State University. He can be reached by e-mail at jerry.osteryoung@gmail.com.

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