So it’s Thanksgiving Day. You’ve watched the parade with your kids, stuffed yourself at the annual family feast and are now settling down to watch a little football to cap off the day on which we are all supposed to give thanks for the abundance and blessings in our lives.
You’ve done that, too. But one blessing you might have omitted from your list, says the author of a new book, is your staff. And that could cost you—because remembering to be grateful for, and to, the people who keep your business running smoothly can pay off in ways you might not anticipate, all without costing you a dime.
Todd Patkin isn’t your ordinary everyday businessman. As the former head of 18 stores for Autopart International, a family auto parts business—which was later sold to Advance Auto Parts, leaving him free to pursue philanthropic goals and spend more time with his family—Patkin says he discovered something radical.
That is that people crave three things more than money from their jobs: appreciation, respect, and—gasp!—love. Yes, you read that correctly. Says Patkin, “Starting this Thanksgiving, if you really begin to live out the holiday’s spirit, you’ll also find that happy, engaged employees are the single best way to impact your company’s bottom line.”
Author of the book Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and—Finally—Let the Sunshine In (StepWise Press, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-9658261-9-8, $19.95), Patkin says that when working in his family’s business, he always put his employees first. “As a leader,” says Patkin, “I quickly found that if my team was content and their work environment was a positive one, they would be more engaged and motivated, and they would also treat our customers better. Plus, it was even more rewarding for me to see that my employees were happy—and often even ecstatic—than it was for me that we were making money.”
He adds, “It’s more important now than ever before to show your employees love and appreciation, because we’re in the midst of an economic downturn, so you probably won’t have the money to give big raises and holiday bonuses that you once did.”
Stressed-out employees, Patkin points out, are less motivated and more disengaged; the business suffers as they do only what they must to get by. And unhappy employees will be the first to jump ship once the economy improves. But happy ones will go more than the extra mile.