Show Me a Sign

While in Kansas City last week, I met longtime friends for dinner and margaritas at On The Border, a Mexican food franchise.  On my way into the restaurant, I noticed a couple of reserved parking spots for their “Employee of the Month”.

In situations where parking is at a premium, employees are typically required to park in out of the way locations to leave spots open for customers.  At Nintendo in Kirkland, WA employees have to park in remote lots and ride a shuttle bus into the facility.  These scenarios require the employee to factor in the additional time needed to get from their vehicle to the time clock to insure they are not “late for work”.  Add in potential wet, cold or blustery weather and you can quickly see how an “up front” parking spot could be a powerful incentive and a welcome perk.

A sign is an inexpensive way to give recognition to your valued employees.  The perk of a close parking spot is a daily reminder of how much their contributions are appreciated.  The actual sign can be purchased on line for under $20.  If you have a wall where it can be posted, a tube of adhesive from Home Depot and you are good to go!  If you need to put it on a post, the costs are a little more but are still a one time investment that pays off month after month.

Note I saw these signs at a restaurant so there were actually 2 signs, one for the “Front of the House” and the other for the kitchen staff.  In particular, what caught my eye and prompted this post was not just the sign, but the wording of the sign for the kitchen staff.  You might expect it to read “Back of the House” since the other one read “Front of the House”.  No, it read “Heart of the House”.

Think about this for a moment, the “front of the house” gets all sorts of recognition – usually in the form of tips from diners.  What does the kitchen staff get in terms of recognition?  The wording of this sign elevates what they do to it’s appropriate status – after all, what restaurant would you regularly visit if the food weren’t good?

A sign with wording such as this doesn’t just give recognition to the actual employee who gets the privilege of parking there on any given month.  It pays homage to ALL the team members.   I suspect it helps to influence the culture of the restaurant as well.  When the manager or owner refers to the kitchen staff as the “Heart” of the house, it sets the tone for the other team members.

If you have a challenging situation for parking at your business, consider designating a spot for your “Employee of the Month” – even if it means giving up YOUR spot to do so.  This small gesture will do a lot to earn respect and long-term loyalty while giving well-deserved recognition to your valued team.

 

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