Laura thinks about how the small things we do can have a big impact…
Whilst walking to work this morning, I was met by a group of library workers who are on strike due to conflicts over pay. I feel sorry for them; to feel so undervalued that you choose to display your discontent in such a public manner must make your working day really difficult.
But this isn’t a post about politics, nor is it about pay. It’s about the small things we do that make employees and customers alike feel valued and appreciated.
Here at Quark, there are a few traditions which really add to the family atmosphere of the office. One example is the weekly Friday afternoon drinks and nibbles, where we finish what we’re doing around 4-4.30pm and stroll into Hans (the MD)’s office for a bit of relaxation and a chance to chat and unwind together. It’s a really nice opportunity to get to know people on a social level and has certainly been a benefit to me in particular as a newbie in the office.
Then there’s the coffee machine. A small addition, it’s really not much and can’t have been too much of an investment for the office either, but everyone loves taking advantage of the array of different coffees, teas and hot chocolates it makes – and it’s so much quicker than waiting around for the kettle to boil!
We also have a good supply of fruit and a regular supply of treats that everyone in the office gets to share. There’s really nothing nicer on a nice sunny day than getting the office wide email telling us strawberries and fruit bread are waiting for us in the kitchen and it gives a real boost to the day. And with my body struggling to cope with the changing temperatures here in Toronto, I’m loving the fact that there are Kleenex issues supplied for every employee!
All of these things are only very small and don’t require a big investment from the business. Though Quark is a business doing well, it seems to me that there is no reason that even businesses struggling in the current climate can’t set aside a small pot each week to provide these little things for their employees that can really make a big difference. If we can provide small treats that make people feel special and encourage relaxation and chatting at an appropriate time, I believe we can create a nicer working atmosphere and a culture of communication and collaboration which can only help the business in the long run. Add this to the regular team meetings held at Quark and, in my opinion, you’ve got a recipe for a really satisfied workforce.
And it’s not just employees who benefit from small additions. I know from speaking to fellow grad Ben Cook that TCS Starquest offer small add ons for their customers on luxury trips, including pre-paid postcards at every destination and ‘spending money’ in the local currency. By adding these little treats and bringing an element of personalisation to the experience, I believe we can really add a lot of value for the customer without a great deal of investment on our part.
The experiences we have are not all about the money. They’re about the little things that make us feel extra special. I really hope I can carry that philosophy throughout my career and hopefully encourage the use of some of Quark’s little treats in the other placements I undertake.