A blog about reputation, marketing and employee morale.

How do you make your employees feel appreciated? Just ask them

Posted by Janet Smith on May 1, 2008

I recently met a very impressive woman, Michelle Lockhart, who owns a cleaning company in Kansas City called The Cleaning Girl. She started out doing residential cleaning, but is going big-time into commercial cleaning. Michelle told me that she and her sister (they run the company together) have 50 employees who clean for them. Then Michelle told me how their policy is to go way beyond what typical cleaning people do for their customers…including LAUNDRY!! (Sign me up!) In fact, their motto is “Just ask! We won’t say no.”

You might be thinking, “Wow, here’s a company that really puts the customer first!” And you’re wrong. Because Michelle and her sister know how to treat their employees…and that means their employees are number one. (Here at The Power of Goodwill, you know what we say: The customer is not number one.) After meeting Michelle, I received the following email from her, commenting on my philosophy of Morale-Based Marketing:

“I feel like I am a very complimentary boss, and try to focus on the positive, even when it is difficult to find. I think it is important to discover on a case-by-case basis what makes an employee feel appreciated and valued. I generally ask people interviewing for a job with us, ‘What makes you feel most appreciated?’ Some people say money, some say gifts, some say a letter, but the point is finding what works so you can tap into their psychology and motivate them or encourage them when they are not performing at their best…or when, of course, they are a total rock star and deserve recognition. I agree that you have to meet them on their terms. Just this week I stopped in on a few houses our people were cleaning, just to tell them, in person, what a great job this particular group of employees was doing. They got really giddy and smiled brightly. Win-win, right?!”

This is an example of a rock star boss! Michelle knows that it doesn’t matter what makes her feel appreciated and special and valued and important. What matters is what makes each employee feel that way. And the only way to find out is to ask.

So ask.

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