I have held a decent number of jobs in my working career.
Let’s see. I’ve worked concession stands, bagged groceries, run a cash register, delivered furniture, made ID’s, hung fliers, worked on campus, worked for a stock broker, worked at a book store, been a telemarketer, worked for an electronics store, been an auditor, sold real estate, sold insurance, worked in a call center, been an accountant, taught school, cut grass, worked on cars, and I feel I’m missing a few, but you get my point.
I’ve seen a decent number of jobs and the environments those jobs are carried out in.
And in the majority of those fields people were unhappy with their job and or their company. The reasons were as varied as the people.
Some of the organizations could care less what employees thought at any given time. I’ve also worked for a company that spent more than a million dollars annually to try and make its employees happy and feel good about the company.
Regardless of the company’s efforts morale rarely changed significantly. Sure, a cook out made some employees feel appreciated for a few days, but inevitably morale would return to “normal” in a couple weeks. A nice Christmas party followed by leaving work early would be a great hit the first year, but if it wasn’t there the second year the employees would be furious and feel cheated.
However, in my various jobs I have come across an action that actually boosted morale for the long term. It took a decent amount of effort on the front end, but after a few months even other employees began participating. It cost the organization nothing, but the return from the employees and coworkers was increased productivity and reduced customer complaints.
Some of you won’t believe me when I tell you what was done. Some will ignore it because it’s too simple. Some, however, will recognize it’s power and implement it at their work and in their businesses.
What is it?
I have seen the power of a smile take a potential hostile situation and turn it around into a positive customer interaction. I have seen a consistent, honest, heart felt display of a smile day in and day out turn a department from people who hated coming to work and were rude to customers to people that smiled and joked with each other and began to appreciate their customers. I have seen a smile brighten the blackest of days for a coworker. And I have seen a smile sooth tension between people.
Before you completely discount the power of a smile, try it. For one week make every effort to smile (when appropriate). Smile when you’re seeing someone for the first time each day. Smile before you pick up the phone. Smile while typing your email. Smile when talking to a customer.
And the most important time to smile? When you LEAST feel like. Smile then and you’ll REALLY see the power of a smile.
So next time someone asks how to improve morale, SMILE, and tell them you know a better way.