JEFF MOWATT: SMALL BUSINESS MADE BETTER
Jeff Mowatt is an award-winning speaker and the
author of Becoming a
Service Icon in 90 Minutes
a Month. For more business-building ideas or to book
Jeff for your team, visit
jeffmowatt.com or call
FAR TOO MANY managers figure the only way to
gain staff loyalty is to buy it. Of course money is
important, but there is another way to gain
employee loyalty that doesn’t cost a thing:
According to studies in employee motivation by
Dr. Kenneth Kovach at George Mason University, the
second-biggest motivator for employees is
recognition. (Number one is interesting work.)
Employee recognition is relatively cheap, yet it
has a tremendously high payoff in terms of morale,
reduction in staff turnover and, most important,
customer satisfaction. Part of the problem is that it’s
hard to find creative ways to recognize employees.
Plus, managers tend to make employee recognition
a scattering of random events rather than an
ongoing process. Fortunately, there is a systematic
EMPLOYERS KNOW that the law
requires them to display state
and federal labor law posters,
but many businesses have lost
money to poster scam artists.
Ashley Kaplan, compliance attorney for Poster Guard
Compliance Protection, explains
how the con works. “A scam
artist visits a business posing
as a government agent, or mails
an official-looking solicitation
to a business. Business owners
are led to believe that the labor
law posters they are displaying
are not in compliance with current regulations and are then
strong-armed into paying excessive fees for outdated or unnecessary posters.”
Kaplan offers these tips
for business owners to know
they are dealing with a legitimate provider.
1. When choosing a provider,
ongoing process for recognizing employees
that goes far beyond an isolated slap on the
back: customer service team meeting.
A customer service team meeting is a
monthly, 90-minute in-house forum where
managers and employees discuss how to
enhance the customer experience. Of five
elements that are covered in a meeting,
one of the most motivating is what I call
service legends. At this point in the
meeting, managers point out specific
incidents where certain employees have provided
exceptional service. The employees are asked
individually by the manager to share the details of
the incident with everyone and why they did what
they did. Then the whole group joins in a round of
applause for the person.
That’s recognition based on service, not
seniority. And the approval doesn’t just come from
the employees’ supervisors, but from their peers.
Most important, the stories that emerge become
your own in-house parables that serve as wonderful
learning examples for everyone. In other words,
the meeting’s service legends component transforms recognition into part of your ongoing
education process that people learn from.
Everyone wants to do well, and be recognized
for doing so. You’ll warm the hearts and win the
loyalty of your team members when you take
the time—and have a process—to recognize
actions that merit talking about. It doesn’t cost a
thing, and in this marketplace it just may make you
the employer of choice. C
Avoiding poster scams
check with the Better Business
Bureau to verify the seller’s quality and service standards.
2. Choose a provider that
understands both state and federal laws, employs labor law
attorneys to interpret regulatory
changes and guarantees unlimited protection from fines.
3. Ask for written assurance
that the posters meet exact
agency specifications for font
size, poster size, color and layout.
4. Be suspicious of misleading poster offers that appear to
be from the government.
5. If you are visited by someone posing as a government
agent, ask to see credentials.
6. Be sure to report fraudulent incidents to the state attorney general.
To obtain posters or for more
information about poster requirements or other compliance assis-
tance matters, contact the U.S.
Department of Labor by telephone
at 1-888-9-SBREFA [972-7332], by
e-mail at email@example.com
or by visiting www.dol.gov/osbp/
Note: Several of these posters
are available at Costco Business
Centers and at the Business
Center on costco.com. C
MORE PEOPLE are working
from home, either as independent small business operators
or by special arrangement with
their employer. The positives are
plentiful, but there can be one
major drawback: isolation.
Costco member Amit Gupta,
founder of photography newsletter Photojojo.com, discovered
“a lot of people jumped on the
‘working-from-home’ bandwagon. But after two or three
months, they found it had its
Rather than work in a
vacuum, Gupta and roommate
Luke Crawford created Jelly
( www.workatjelly.com) in 2006.
As opposed to social and business Internet networking sites
that bring people together virtually (Facebook, Linked In), Jelly
brings them together in real life
for “casual coworking.”
The Web site is minimalist.
Each group makes its own rules.
As of this writing, a link to a
wiki page shows almost 50
groups around the world, up
from a handful weeks earlier.
Participating groups include
Internet types, musicians, cooks,
sound designers, tea sommeliers,
product designers, photographers, writers and more—anyone
with common work interests.
There are no charges or fees,
but someone has to get things
started. Here are some basic
guidelines for what’s needed:
A place with chairs, sofas
and tables where people can
relax, work and discuss openly
An open mind and a
Gupta admits the question
arises as to whether any work
gets done. His simple answer:
“Some really interesting
ideas have come out of these