Here at CMOE we always have plenty of work to go around. I’m sure many of you can relate to this. On occasion, when we get overloaded during our busy seasons and we often bring in “temporary” people to help with a number of tasks. These workers help to reorganize the stock room and do landscaping beyond our normal service, or help with random projects that often involve significant physical labor.
On one occasion, we had the pleasure of working with a great individual who was helping to clean up after some remodeling. Benny was dependable, worked very hard and focused on the projects he was assigned to. Because of his dedication, we specifically requested his assistance from the temporary labor agency we were working with to assign him to us.
Background On Benny
One morning I was asked to pickup Benny on my way into work. During our drive to the office, Benny talked about his personal life. He was barely making ends meet it life and had some health issues. If I had to guess, he was in his late 50’s but looked much older. Benny had spent most of his life working on labor intensive jobs permanently in construction. While he liked this type of work, it was not very rewarding. Too many of the individuals he had worked with throughout his life were very autocratic and dictatorial and having spent some time in this industry myself, I knew the type he was referring to.
The Job Site
Benny worked on multiple job sites for us. One day a few of us decided to jump in and help Benny load some broken concrete into a dumpster. This would help get the next phase of this particular project a jump start and give Benny some much needed help and a bit of motivation to the backbreaking work.
After the dumpster was fully loaded, we took a break from the searing heat and dust. As we were sitting in the shade, someone said to him “Benny, you have been great! You’re such a hard worker and I appreciate your effort and attention to detail. I don’t know where we would be without you this week.” After the rest of us confirmed this comment, there was a pause for a few seconds. Benny responded with a quiver in his voice, “I really try to work hard and do a good job, but no one has ever told me that. Thank you. You guys have been good to me.”
When Benny made this comment, you could see he felt undervalued for much of his life. I thought to myself, how unfortunate it is that no one has ever told Benny he does a good job. A simple “JOB WELL DONE” can go much further than we might ever think.
The Lesson – Talent Retention
As I think back on this, I wonder how many managers and organizations lost out on Benny? The concept of providing appreciation to employees is nothing new, but if it is not being communicated or taught to leaders and managers, organizations ARE and will lose great talent. It is not uncommon to hear that employees leave their managers and not their jobs. We can change this by providing some simple appreciation and recognition.
Today, celebrate a success with your team.