Do you know a good job when you see one?

Several years back my wife and I were sitting in the base lodge of one of Maine’s amazing ski areas, buckling up our boots and getting ready for a day on the slopes.

As we were heading out to ski a woman approached us and introduced herself. She told us she worked for the ski area and wondered if we’d be willing to help with an employee focused program that the company was running. We said “Sure.”

She explained that she wanted us to observe the ski area employees we saw or met during our day of skiing. “If someone is doing an exceptionally good job”, she explained, “I’d like you to give them this envelope. It awards them $100.00, a paid day off and a lunch with the President of the company”. We could choose anyone we thought deserving.

What a great program!  Ask customers to pay attention to the quality of the work that is getting done all around them, and then award one employee a valuable acknowledgement of their efforts.

Of course, this was not as random an exercise as it might have first appeared. Good job performance does not just happen. To have the confidence to run this sort of program, where a company intentionally brings attention to their employees, a company must:

  • Have a vision of what it wants to accomplish through its employees
  • Know how employees will help make the vision happen
  • Organize and create polices for the work that must be done
  • Recruit, screen and hire to get the right people into the right job.
  • Provide initial and on-going training to employees and regular feedback about their performance
  • Pay a fair wage or salary, and offer on-the-job support and leadership to motivate and encourage strong performance
  • Offer perks or benefits befitting the company’s focus on good jobs and employee retainment

It is these issues and others that this new blog will be all about – creating and sustaining good jobs. IT will focus on people at work.

In my posts I’ll offer insights, observations, and more on the creation, leadership and management of good jobs for your employees – the people who help to make you successful.

By the way – my wife and I awarded the recognition to an energetic young ski instructor who in a fun but firm manner managed to organize and maintain the energies and actions of nine very excited 11-13-year-old girls who had just burst into the crowded lodge to warm up and have lunch. Great job!

Bradshaw Swanson is the Center Director and a Maine Certified Master Business Advisor with the Maine Small Business Development Centers at CEI.

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