Just say it

September 8, 2015 -  By

palmieriAttend enough conferences about the landscape industry (or write enough stories about it) and you begin to hear many pieces of business wisdom repeated over and over.

Much of it’s good and galvanizing when you hear it the first time. Some of it, though, starts to sound trite when you hear it repeatedly. That said, there’s one idea I’ve heard many times over that rings true every time: “The way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers.”

When you’re the customer, can’t you just tell when you’re dealing with a company that lives by this concept compared to one that doesn’t?

As a consumer, I’m satisfied when I know the person I’m buying from appreciates my business—when he or she is thankful I’m there and doesn’t act irritated to assist me.

Maybe some workers just have poor attitudes. But most of the time, it’s a management problem. It’s quite likely the employees are undertrained and underappreciated, and it shows through to the customers. No one takes a vested interest in the team’s growth, and no one tells them “thanks for what you do.” Ultimately, it hurts the company’s brand.

A new book, “The Gratitude Diaries,” which was recently excerpted in The Wall Street Journal, outlines much of the research that’s been done on thankfulness in the workplace. The consensus is feeling appreciated on the job is a greater motivator than money.

Even when we know this to be true, we don’t necessarily practice it, according to a survey of 2,000 Americans conducted by the John Templeton Foundation in 2012.

About 80 percent of respondents agreed that receiving gratitude makes them work harder, but only 10 percent managed to express gratitude to others every day. And nearly everyone agrees (94 percent of women and 96 percent of men) that a grateful boss is more likely to be successful.

“It is surprising (and unfortunate) that expressions of gratitude in the workplace are so limited when they could have such strong effects,” the survey’s report says. “For example, people were eager to have a boss who showed appreciation for the work they did, saying it would make them happier and more fulfilled.”

How does your company stack up? Have you showed appreciation to your team lately? And no, giving them a paycheck every two weeks doesn’t count, the experts say, unless maybe you hand it to them with a handshake and a thank you. Gratitude needs to be personal and genuine.

The nature of the green industry doesn’t provide everyone at every level with high pay and a Cadillac benefits plan. But there’s a simple, free perk you can provide employees that your competitors likely aren’t: a sincere “thank you.”

Tell employees you’re grateful for them, and they’ll act that way toward your customers.

Marisa Palmieri

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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