By Ryan Carter
RISMEDIA, Dec. 6, 2008-(MCT)-In a battered economy, Jerry Brascia is struggling like many other small-business owners.
A victim of those struggles this year is his company’s holiday dinner, which probably won’t happen. But that won’t stop him from putting a little extra cash in some envelopes and giving them to employees at his Golden West Army/Navy Surplus store in Monrovia, California.
“I usually try to give a little something,” he said. “It just shows your appreciation and your gratitude for them all year long. They do a good job.”
Brascia’s gesture might be modest, but that kind of “thank-you” has become increasingly important as the economy sinks and many businesses withhold bonuses, pay raises and other traditional perks.
It’s vital not only on a human level, but as a business strategy, said Jay Forte, an employee performance consultant who speaks to businesses on the subject.
“Command and control is out,” he said. “Inspire and engage is in. Managers that know how to do that … captivate and activate employees’ sense of loyalty and the employee’s humanity. It’s that humanity that connects with customers.”
In tough times, the least expensive way to do that is a simple thank-you, Forte said.
They should come all year around, but particularly during the holidays, he added.
In the more industrial age of the past, emotions were actively kept out of the job, because in a manufacturing economy, machines and the assembly line drove performance.
Emotions were actively kept out of the workplace, so an employee’s happiness was not as much of a consideration as it is now, Forte said.
But in a service economy, in which performance is driven by ideas, managers must connect emotionally and intellectually with employees, he said.
A thank-you can strengthen that connection and go a long way with workers, he said.
“It’s a different world in the way emotions drive performance,” Forte said.
Copyright © 2008, San Bernardino County Sun, Calif.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.