Posts Tagged ‘Safeway’

We All Scream for Ice Cream

July 11, 2012

Summer is here!  Much of the country is sizzling in record high temperatures.  image

Even here in often gloomy Seattle, the sun is shining.  That means the lakes are speckled with stand-up paddle boarders, the hiking trails resemble I-405 traffic and yet, we still need to do business!

You may find it challenging to keep your team focused on the business at hand – and getting more new business – when it’s hot out, or in the case of Seattle, when the summer makes a brief appearance.  Still, times are tough for small businesses  and giving everyone a day off to enjoy the sun is just not feasible for very many companies.

So what can you do to enjoy a little “summer” in your office and why should you?

Hawaiian shirt day.  Declare Wednesday of next week “Hawaiian shirt day”.  Let everyone wear their wild, tropical prints or their classic Tommy Bahama style shirts with khakis.  If you are so inclined, make a contest for the craziest shirt, let everyone vote secretly throughout the day and give a gift card for a Starbucks Mocha Coconut Frappuccino to the winner.

Total investment:  $5 for the gift card

Take a “Friday the 13th” group break at the Starbucks in your building or nearby.  This Friday from Noon-3 you can try their new “Refreshers” beverages FREE!  Yes, you read that right!  Two flavors and they are giving out FREE 12 oz “tall” sizes just so you can try it.  (No purchase needed – 1 per person so everyone has to go in person to order their own drink).  Call the Starbucks nearest you to be sure they are participating then take your team there for an afternoon break and toast to summer.

Total investment:  a phone call to be sure your location is participating!

Bring in ice cream.  Over the years I’ve heard of companies arranging for an ice cream truck to come by their building and the manager picking up the tab for everyone’s selection.  Other companies have had the CEO serving ice cream from one of those frozen treat carts they rented.  Some teams will bring in the makings for ice cream sundaes to the lunch room.  All of that can get pricey and takes time – both in coordinating and consumption and it’s critical that we keep a sharp eye on the bottom line both in costs and productivity.


As a result, I’m in favor of just stopping by your neighborhood Albertsons, Safeway or QFC for an assortment of individual serving size ice cream cups (no drips!).  My personal favorite are the Haagen-Dazs single serving (3.6oz) cups.  There are a wide variety of flavors, a spoon is tucked inside the lid and can often be found on sale at the grocery store for 10/$10.  Even the “regular” price is only about $1.50/each.

Pick an assortment, hide them in a brown paper bag sealed shut in the freezer, then in the afternoon, have everyone pull their chairs together in the middle of the room for a “quick meeting”.  Arrange the cups on a table and let everyone choose a flavor, then take a few minutes to tell them how much you appreciate their hard work, dedication and loyalty while they enjoy their unexpected treat.

Total investment:  $1 – $1.50 per employee

These are VERY inexpensive ways to show your appreciation for your team.  By acknowledging how hard it is to come to work and focus when the weather is so beautiful out, you will reduce the amount of “sick” days this summer.  You will also build loyalty and a sense of community within your business that translates to reduced turnover, greater productivity and an improved customer experience.

Winning the Home Team

June 16, 2010

In my last post, I suggested sales contests where everyone could win, even something small such as a gift card.  Several people emailed me to ask “Why not just give them cash?”

Think about it for a minute, if I were to hand you $100 in cash, what would you do with it?  Put it in your wallet?  Spend it?  Would your “significant other” even know you got it?  A month from now, would you be able to tell me what you spent it on?

However, if I give you the same amount in a restaurant gift card you are most likely to go home and show it off.  “Honey, can your mom watch the kids on Friday night?  We’re going out to dinner!”   You can buy restaurant cards from a variety of sources, the actual restaurant or their website, your neighborhood Safeway, even Costco offers some – at a discount!

The same amount from a family restaurant such as Applebee’s or Olive Garden lets the whole family enjoy an evening out.

A movie gift card in a lesser amount would let a family go see the latest summer blockbuster like the latest Shrek or Toy Story movie.

The benefits: First and foremost, the “home teams” plays a large supporting role in the success of your peak performers.  They pick up the slack for all the chores and events your employee misses while working those extra hours, evenings or weekends.  This shared experience thanks the family for their support and contribution to the employee’s success.

Next, it adds to the quality of life.  That is really why people are working – the paycheck is just the means by which they are able to improve their quality of life.  These experiences add to their quality of life far beyond the dollar value of the award.

In the current recession, a lot of families have given up restaurant dinners, movies and other non-essential spending.  Your award now becomes a “special occasion” and therefore is more memorable.

Lastly, while using the gift card, the employee gets to be the hero in the eyes of those she/he cares about.  This recognition from the home team inspires motivation to win another prize which translates to increased sales for your business!

Employee turnover is also greatly influenced by the home team.  People can and are encouraged to leave – or stay – at a job by those they care about. Winning over the home team can do a lot to keep your workplace team together and playing well together for many successful seasons.

The Right Hand of “god”

April 21, 2010

I started my career as a secretary long before they became known as Administrative Professionals.  For many years, I was proud and happy to be the “right hand of god” and was fortunate enough to have great bosses.  It only seems fitting today to focus on these often unsung heroes of our businesses.

Most executives readily admit they would be lost without their assistants yet many don’t realize it’s National Administrative Professionals Week.  You count on your “right hand” to remind you of important dates, but this would be akin to your spouse reminding you of your anniversary or their birthday – it loses a lot of the luster if they have to tell you – so they won’t.

Consider this your “reminder” so you don’t spend the next couple of weeks in the “office doghouse”.

Flowers, cards, chocolates, lunch are all fine.  Want to do a little more?  A gift card for a massage from a local spa, a dinner gift card in an amount to cover dinner for 2 or gift card at a bookstore for a reader, iTunes for a music lover or coffee card for a caffeine junkie.  Most can be purchased on line or from an expansive display at your neighborhood Safeway store.

These are people who know your personal preferences in everything from restaurants to airline seats; show them you have noticed something about them with your thank you gift.

Beyond acknowledgement of their hard work and dedication during this national recognition week, consider some ways to add fulfillment to this important job all year long. IAAP is the International Association of Administrative Professionals.  They have Chapters all over the world, including several in most major cities.  The group is focused on continuing to build skills and the investment of a membership for your assistant could be money well spent.

Does your assistant have skills and talents beyond the requirements of their job?  If so, is there a way to tap into them in a business capacity? I’ve always been a bit of a hobby photographer.  One of my bosses gave me the opportunity to serve as photographer for the company’s customer golf tournament.  This day out of the office allowed me to make a contribution to the overall success of the event and meet face-to-face clients I had always spoken to on the phone.  Decades later, I still have fond memories and appreciate my boss who saw me as “more than a secretary”.

Take the time to give appropriate recognition and genuine gratitude for your own “right hand” person today.

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