Canadian Rental Service

Features Business Intelligence
Editorial: December 2009

In his farewell message on page 30, Chris Skalkos makes the point that, although this business is about tools and equipment, it is also about people. This is a fact that we forget at our peril.


November 25, 2009
By Mike Davey

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In his farewell message on page 30, Chris Skalkos makes the point that, although this business is about tools and equipment, it is also about people. This is a fact that we forget at our peril.

It would be tough to find a business owner in any industry who doesn’t believe that customers are important. They certainly are, but your staff members are important as well. You can’t do everything yourself. Strong employees are the key to moving your business forward.

One of the best ways to find and keep strong staff members is to build a culture of gratitude. Are your employees grateful? I’m not referring to the fearful “You had better be grateful to have a job in this economy” way, but to the “Wow! I am so glad I work here!” way. I hate to say it, but way too few companies actively encourage this sort of mindset.

According to a recent Gallup poll, about 65 per cent of people say they don’t feel appreciated at work. Some people just have a bad attitude, but when the numbers start to get that high, it’s probably time for a shift in culture.

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Some of those respondents are probably feeling underappreciated in terms of pay. However, survey after survey after survey has shown us that things like job satisfaction and feeling appreciated tend to outrank compensation.

That’s not to say you can start cutting back on wages and substituting heartfelt notes in your employees’ pay packets. Let me know how it goes if you do, but please be aware that I am not covering your medical bills.

However, there is one really simple thing you can do that will start your business toward an attitude of gratitude.

Say thanks. This is so simple that we tend to forget it, but we really shouldn’t. Gratitude encourages repeat performances, and encourages those who see it to try harder. 

Don’t wait for exceptional performance to hand out accolades. Start thanking people every time they do their job well, and exceptional performance will come on its own.

Here’s an idea: Take 15 minutes today and write a letter to your staff. Tell them how much you appreciate what they do to help you and your business. Be as flowery and over-the-top as you can. Don’t worry. You don’t have to actually send it. The main idea is to remind yourself of what your employees can do when they’ve got the proper motivation.

Here’s another idea that you should find the time to try. Take at least 15 minutes and write a letter to yourself about the rental business. Concentrate on the positive aspects of our industry, and you’ve got an instant pick-me-up that you can carry in your back pocket for those days when your passion for what you do starts to flag.

We need to take the time to motivate our staff. But too many of us forget that motivation starts at the very top. Encourage the attitude of gratitude in yourself, and the rest will follow.