Pride in Your Work

Pride in Your Work

by Danny Summers

We have known for years there were countless people who went to work everyday to a job they did not like, maybe even hated. I have often said, "Life's too short not to enjoy what you do." For those our us in the "green industry" I think most of us feel very fortunate to be where we are. We may have had some employers or bosses who we wished were different, but overall, people who work with plants every day have a different outlook on life and it makes this one of the most rewarding places to be!

We have been hearing about "The Great Resignation" going on the past months and it seems to be continuing. Two weeks ago, Jean Seawright talked about this in her blog article "Hiring in the Midst of a Transforming Labor Force". Jean said, "After a period of introspection stemming from the pandemic, many people see the world differently. They recognize that life is fragile and that it doesn’t pay to work in a job that makes them miserable. They’ve thought deeply about the type of work that makes them happy and now want to work for a company that aligns with their personal values. These workers are voluntarily quitting their jobs in record numbers in pursuit of work they find personally fulfilling."

Jean added, "Garden Centers are perfectly positioned to meet this need!  In the midst of tranquil surroundings, garden centers offer employees a job with a sense of purpose, daily interaction with nature and the outdoors, the opportunity to foster human connections, less stress than a corporate environment, and work that encourages mindfulness, creativity, and balance."

In an earlier blog article on September 23rd, I shared a message titled "Find Your Work Zen". This this message I said, "While the title for this message can be for you, I am really presenting this as an idea for our Centers to consider as a message to promote to prospective team members (new-hires) in the coming seasons. Evidence is mounting that Garden Centers can be in a prime position to capture the attention of a large number of Millennials who have discovered over the last 18 months they really do not want to return to their typical work environment. I can see the job listing now...

Find Your Work Zen at (insert your garden center name here)!"

Your Work Zen is a meaningful effort and place of being where you can be proud of what you are doing, hence the idea for the title of this posting (along with an experience at our neighborhood Publix last week... more details below). The most rewarding work maybe different for each person, but overall I think it is one where we are helping people and helping the world around us.

Sydney - A Publix Most-Valuable Team Member

This past week we hosted a birthday party at our home for our niece, Sandy. Karen visited our neighborhood Publix to order a cake. Her experience she shares below is another inspiration for this message today:

"As a business owner and previous manager of many employees, I am always acutely aware of customer service and value good employees. I recently went to our local Publix bakery to order a birthday cake for my niece. Her favorite is carrot cake and I was hoping to order a traditional round layered carrot cake unlike the small rectangular cake with the carrots on top they normally stock.

As I approached the counter I was greeted by a young woman who was busy in the back but told me she would be right with me. Unlike so many employees today that seemingly could care less if you are there or not she quickly made her way to the front counter and introduced herself and asked how she could help me. I described what I was looking for and she said they generally only make the carrot cake in the one layer rectangular loaf but she would be happy to make a round layer cake for me. She was very detailed in her order taking process and asked if I would like 3 or 4 layers and I, of course, opted for four. She asked if I would like buttercream or the traditional cream cheese frosting and I immediately responded with cream cheese – what would a carrot cake be without cream cheese frosting? She then explained that if I wanted any writing on the cake the frosting would need to be smooth and then asked what flowers I would like. I asked about the possibilities and she pulled out a book to show me all of the choices… roses, daisies, mums, and more. I had never seen the mums and decided they would be nice. She commented that the mums were her favorite flower to create. Her final question was about the writing on the cake and what color I would like for the border and flowers. Since my niece’s favorite color is purple I chose purple.

As she wrapped up the order taking process and asked what day and time I would like to pick up the cake she told me she appreciated me choosing Publix bakery to make my special cake.

I walked away thinking what an exceptional young lady Sydney was and Publix was lucky to have her as an employee.

The next day when I went to pick up the cake, as I approached the bakery counter I was greeted again by Sydney as she said right way, “Are you here to pick up Sandy’s cake?” I was surprised she remembered me. She quickly retrieved the cake from the shelf and opened the box for me to see the finished product. It was a beautiful cake, just as I had envisioned and I knew my niece would love it. I was impressed that Sydney seemed so proud of her work and was happy that I was pleased.

That evening I decided to call the store manager to give Sydney credit for her outstanding work and service. When I spoke to the manager she was very happy to hear the comments and said they don’t often have customers take the time to call with compliments. She told me that she would tell Sydney about the call and she would be rewarded with a free sub sandwich for her efforts.

That evening, as we celebrated my niece’s birthday, everyone commented on the beautiful cake. Not only was it a pretty cake, it was also delicious! And as I ate the cake I was reminded of a young lady that enthusiastically exemplifies good employee customer service. I hope Publix recognizes that and rewards her for her talents."

It is difficult to put into words how much it means to have "Pride in Your Work" and level of satisfaction that comes as a result. Karen saw the pride in Sydney's eyes as she delivered the cake she had made. Karen certainly thanked her for the help and complimented her on her work. We also hope the store manager's followup actions can help support a job well done.

There is great pride in helping people and Garden Centers have a wonderful experience to give as you share the Joy of Plants and Gardening. As you prepare for the spring season ahead, help your entire team develop Pride in Your Work, in every GUEST EXPERIENCE... whether by phone or in person!

It can make all the difference!

Sharing is at the heart of The Group and your ideas are very important. If you have any trouble logging into The Group WebSystem, please let me know. Are you and your staff all subscribed to our eLists such as GroupEs, Retail-Grower, Retail-Landscape, Owners-Only, and a number of others such as Tropicals? Need help subscribing? Let me know so I can show you how you can sign up.
Thanks for sharing!

Danny Summers
[email protected]
Tel: 678-909-7770
Cell: 678-761-7145

REMEMBER: Your interaction (by phone and email) with Group Service Providers such as Tim Quebedeaux, Steve Bailey, Sid Raisch, John Kennedy, Jean Seawright, and of course Danny Summers are included in your retainer!


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