“Not Long Enough”

On a recent trip to Hawaii, we visited Kualoa Ranch.  The tour guide/vehicle driver for our “Jungle Expedition” was Brandon.  No, this isn’t a post intended for my Travel Queen blog, this is really for all my business readers.  I typically chat with the staff at most places we visit.  My most common questions are the two I asked Brandon which inspired this blog.
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Sunny:  “So Brandon, how long have you lived in Oahu?”
Brandon:  “All my life.”
Sunny:  “How long have you worked here at Kualoa Ranch?”
Brandon:  “Not long enough.”

Wow.  If I asked that second question of YOUR staff, what would the answer be?  Sure, some people would say the length of time whether it was a few months or many years.   Often long term employees will state the years with a tone of appropriate pride.  Sometimes the answer – in words or tone – is simply, “Too long”.

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Sure, you might think it’s easy to love a job that lets you drive around in a cool, rugged vehicle through the rugged terrain or past famous movie sites.  You might say “I’d love any job that let me live in Hawaii” but in truth, that’s just not the case.
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Too many employees don’t love their jobs or don’t love the companies where they work. These apathetic workers – even worse, disgruntled workers – cost us business every day.  Even if they are never asked point blank as I asked Brandon, customers can tell when employees are unhappy or even just disengaged.

So how do you get more Brandons on your team?  Of course, it starts with hiring people who display a genuine enthusiasm for the work and your company.  Did the applicant do any homework on your business before applying for a position or are they doing the “shotgun application process”?  Ask why they want to work specifically for your company.  If they can’t give you a good, thoughtful answer, look for someone who can.

With your existing team, you can do a lot to build morale by providing frequent, appropriate recognition.  Giving team members an opportunity to contribute in terms of feedback will help foster a sense of ownership even among hourly workers.  Lastly, make a regular habit of saying out loud to your team when you have group meetings that well beyond the tasks each carries out, they serve a much greater role in the organization.  That is the role of “Good Will Ambassador” for your business both with customers and in the community at large.

When you hire someone, you have put the reputation of your business in their hands.  Make sure both you – and they – take that responsibility seriously.  In the case of Brandon and Kualoa Ranch – job well done on every front!

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