Before you think this is a post about Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, it really takes a different twist (even though I’m a devout Python fan !!)
There has been a recent trend in blog posts that came to life at work for me this week. I first came across Susan David‘s fabulous post on Harvard Business Review on engagement and meeting employee’s needs. Secondly, I read one of my faves Paul Hebert on Symbolist and his take on finding out what employees want. If you take nothing else from this post, make sure you connect with these great folks and resources !!
This all came to life for me through one of my favorite Team Members. Greg has been with us for over 30 years and he started when he was 16. Greg is fantastic because he has always done the work that most people look down upon or consider below them. Greg started with us as a dishwasher taking care of all of the various dishes from our guests as well as the kitchen equipment. It really is one of the key positions in our pizzerias !! A little over a year ago we asked Greg to try something new and clean the parking lot for our anchor store as well as the parking lot for the Corporate Office.
Greg has always taken great pride in his work, and he welcomed the new opportunity. A few weeks ago he asked me for a new bucket. I didn’t think much of it because he had a bucket, but something seemed wrong. He seemed out of sorts which doesn’t happen that often. When Greg saw me, he’d check in and see if I had found a bucket yet. I asked Greg what kind of bucket he wanted and he said, “Something big and colorful.”
I took Greg’s request to heart and found a beautiful, blue bucket at Lowe’s. I walked it over to the pizzeria and asked the GM to get Greg and have him meet me at the restaurant. He thought something was wrong, but his eyes lit up when he saw me with the new bucket !!
He explained to me that someone had ruined his last bucket and it was great to have something new !!
You need to know something fantastic about Greg !! He is a Special Needs Team Member who is flat awesome. In fact, when we had a group of sixth graders visiting us, Greg asked if he could speak to the class. He was absolutely captivating because he spoke from his heart about how much he loved working for us, and he encouraged all of the kids to make sure to apply to work for us when they turned 16 just like he did !!
A bucket. Something that seems to be insignificant and simple to most, changed Greg’s day. I can see him now across the street as his blue bucket bops up and down as he walks joyfully through the lots.
What’s something that’s staring you in the face which may mean little to you, but would change an employee’s life ?? We make HR so layered and difficult, and miss people’s needs that are right in front of us.
This week, strip off the layers and look for those “bottom shelf” needs that you have been missing. Recognize that it’s important to someone else and then fill their bucket !!