Employee’s Wild Ride: From Lowly Frog to Appreciated Prince

Teacups ride at Disney World

Employees aren’t the only ones to feel the effects of good or bad management. As many families can surely attest, a rotten day at work doesn’t end when the clock strikes 5 o’clock. Those negative feelings are likely to carry over to home life, and often the employee’s families bear the brunt of this burden.

What many companies might not consider is that this vicious cycle continues to go round. That unsatisfied, unhappy, under-appreciated employee will be less loyal and less productive at work than his happy counterpart at another company.

According to a recent New York Times article, “Employees are far more likely to have new ideas on days when they feel happier … when people don’t care about their jobs or their employers, they don’t show up consistently, they produce less, or their work quality suffers.”

LeeAnne Hanks had a front-row seat to an employee working under extremely poor and disheartening management, then had the pleasure of watching how appreciative and generous management changed life for her husband and her family when he found a job that supported, valued, and rewarded his hard work:

A few years ago, my husband, Jeff, left a job at an awful web solutions company that (surprise surprise) no longer exists.

The way they “motivated” their sales team was borderline emotional abuse. The entire sales team was being screamed at all day long. “Get back on the phones! You’re in the red!”

They were also called into the manager’s office and subjected to a game-show-type “flip the paper over to see if you’re ‘safe’ or ‘fired’” experience. Some staff members actually had to seek counseling and take anti-anxiety meds just to come to work every day.

When my husband left that job, we found out through a friend about a company called TestOut Corporation that was looking to hire. The way Jeff described his first months there was like a mistreated child who was finally placed in a new loving home, but still waiting for something bad to happen.

When we were expecting a baby, Jeff asked if he could attend the ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby. Based on his experience, he expected to get a lecture and a guilt trip about missing work. To his surprise, the response was instead, “You’d better be there! Call us as soon as you find out!”

When our son was born, the company sent us a diaper bag full of baby items. TestOut is a very family-friendly workplace, which in turn makes those families very loyal to the company.

They often tell Jeff how much they appreciate his hard work. The CEO of the company, Noel Vallejo, is the most generous man I have ever met. He makes sure to involve his employees in community service, sponsors family activities such as buying the children a new book at Barnes & Noble, takes the company to the local amusement park, holds prize drawings, and hosts a yearly Halloween pizza party where the kids trick-or-treat in the office.

But that’s  just the tip of the iceberg. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of TestOut, Noel surprised the company at the Christmas Party by announcing we were going on a Mediterranean cruise. After that trip, he felt it was unfair that the adults got to go on a vacation and the kids didn’t, so this last June he treated us to three days in Disney World and a Disney Cruise!

Noel does these things because he is generous, and truly cares about the happiness of his employees and their families. Because of his generosity, he has our unwavering loyalty. I’m not saying that a boss has to spend millions on his employees to make them work hard and be loyal. It’s the spirit of inclusion and care that truly matters. If you want to be a boss that motivates the right way, show your employees that they are appreciated and that you care about their family life.

 

5 Steps to Employee Loyalty

While LeeAnne’s family was lucky to benefit from a generous company, she stressed that it was the appreciation, acknowledgment, and care that improved employee loyalty and productivity. Need some ideas to motivate if Disney World’s out of reach? Here are five family-friendly rewards that won’t ruin your budget:

1. Fiesta! Order a taco truck. Margaritas for the adults and churros for all.

2. Parenting seminars. Not as much fun as a party, but many working parents can use support on how to “do it all.”

3.  Ice-cream social. I don’t know many people who don’t get happy when they see a sundae bar.

4. Child-centered events after work or on weekends. A magician or clown can amuse the kids, while employees with families have relaxed time to bond.

5. Restaurant gift cards. The employee of the month or winner of a spot award might enjoy a restaurant that caters to families. Pass the unlimited bread sticks!