The Best Job on Earth!
So here’s the skinny, you do the same job every year, work tonnes of overtime, deal with billions of clients, have huge manufacturing flows, wear a funny uniform, live at a freezing work camp, your boss gets all the credit, the nearest Starbucks is a thousand miles away, and you have the strictest delivery timetable in the world. Sound like a dream job? Well, for Santa’s 13 elves, there’s no better job on earth! Legend has it that over a thousand years ago under extreme persecution a group of elves left their homeland in Scandinavia to work for their distant relative at the North Pole. Today those same 13 elves, under the direction of their jolly old leader, continue to meet the tight deadline every time, and have the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the industry.
So with all the current challenges facing HR departments across the globe, how does Santa manage to retain his staff for hundreds of years? Santa remembers what too many of us forget, our first customer is our staff. Think about it, the average employee spends around 40 to 60% of their waking life at work, so once you get past the functional benefit of salary, what’s left to work for? And why should they do it for you? Things like self worth, making a difference, being a part of the big picture; pride and fulfillment come into play. Is your company effectively communicating these brand benefits? Again, looking to Santa, we see his external delivery of the brand promise of Hope, is being balanced by his internal motivation to every elf, that they play an integral part in fulfilling that promise – extending Hope. Just ask an elf what they do and they will instantly repeat the mantra, “I make toys for good little girls and boys, so that children around the world can have a Merry Christmas!” How powerful is that!
One of my favorite historical examples of this, though it may be an urban legend, is the story of an unannounced visit by President John F. Kennedy to the space center at Cape Canaveral in the mid 1960’s. Kennedy toured the complex and met a janitor mopping the floors. “What do you do here?” he asked. A big smile came across the face of the janitor, who replied, “Mr. President, I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”
Most of us will not be making toys for all the good little girls and boys or putting a man on the moon this Christmas, however, make the time to inspire your staff, your first customer, and while you’re at it, a little Christmas cheer never hurts.