The Little Things Mean A Lot…

My husband has a saying that he hears often at his company, “Let’s not try to boil the ocean!” We often try, and fail, to do too much. We often try, while attempting to reach our goals, to focus on doing everything right. In reality, that is just not possible or wise. Focusing on two or three things and doing them extraordinarily well is often the best way to solve any problem.

We just had our annual super bowl party at our house. As I was listening to all my friends I heard a common theme: we are tired and have too much on our plates. In speaking with candidates, they feel the same way. There is too much work to do and not enough time in the day to accomplish what we have to do at work, let alone our personal lives. This has a negative impact on morale and production within the workplace.

That got me thinking about the little things companies could do to make life easier for their employees. I have several clients in NYC, and when I walk into one of their kitchens, it is like walking into Dean and Deluca. They provide their staff with a stocked kitchen, anything you could think of, from soda to fruit to snack items. How cool is that? You do not have to worry about having a roll of quarters in your desk when you need your sugar fix.

Other companies have cafeterias built into their complexes so employees do not have to worry about bringing their lunch every day. I know that last thing I have time for in the morning with trying to get my two kids and myself out the door in time for the bus, that dreaded 8:28 am time slot, is pack myself a lunch.

In reading this month’s Fast Company article about “Find a Bright Spot and Clone it,” the author mentions how Google’s employee loyalty increased when they built the Googleplex – which is basically a fun center at their Corporate Headquarters that offers their employees lots of different services, from dry cleaning to recreation. (Check out this video from Google.)

By just saying thank you in different ways, by having soda or lunch available or even a place to drop off your dry cleaning, you are letting your employees know “Hey, we understand we ask a lot of you – but here is a little thank you for all that you do.” The little things will add up and employee morale will improve and productivity will improve. It could even keep you from have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a huge consulting engagement to address and solve for any of these issues. We all know that consultants love to boil the ocean!


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