Please accept my apology for the vulgar nature of the topic but after much thought I just can’t think of an alternative phrase that conveys the thought.
As defined by urbandictionary.com, “giveashi**er – That metaphysical mechanical device inside most of us that enables us to care enough about a task or circumstance such that we put forth effective effort to accomplish the task or effect the circumstance. The giveashi**er is not infinite, but instead is subject to performance drops due to relative emptiness.”
My vice president of field operations first introduced me to this “giveashi**er” concept while discussing whether or not a particular employee was ready to be promoted to a foreman position. “His “giveashi**er” is not where it needed to be in order to assume the role of foreman,” were his exact words. I knew immediately what he meant. This employee just didn’t have the gumption, the attention to overall detail, the do the right thing for the customer and by the company attitude and mentality that we expect a foreman to have in order to keep installation problems at a minimum and maintain our companies stellar reputation.
Last month upon returning from an all expense paid annual company trip that I provide for employees and their immediate families to the Outer Banks I realized that all of the attending employee’s respective “giveashi**ers” had seemingly been lifted. For example, an employee alerted me that a truck needed preventative maintenance when I know he normally just wouldn’t do so until it was broken. I now recognize that everyone in the company has a “giveashi**er” that needs to be maintained and influenced in the right direction on a regular basis and that it is crucial to the success of the company to consciously do so.
As owners and managers we prioritize all kinds of issues. Marketing and material costs, installation complications, hitting projected sales numbers, accounts receivable, equipment maintenance, traffic violations, employee turnover, are just a few that I have dealt with over the past couple of weeks. I have added maintaining the “giveashi**er” of my employees to that priority list. It is easy to forget how important it is to take the time to sincerely ask employees and subordinates how their weekend was, what is new with their family, etc.. By asking these questions and creating environments for employees to interact with one another on a personal level an employee’s “giveash**er” can be maintained and heightened. On the other hand, neglecting to take time out and pay attention to maintaining your employees “giveashi**er” can be very detrimental to the overall health of your business, increase owner and management stress, increase turnover and negatively impact your companies reputation.
So the question becomes how do we as owners and managers maintain this so called employee “giveashi**er”.
Here are a few of the ways that I have found that work.
• Sincere, “How was your weekend, What’s new with you, How’s the family”questions
• One-on-One lunch meetings between owners/managers and subordinates.
• Spontaneous nice weather team lunch meetings during slow demand.
• Company outings including family at professional sporting events.
• Holiday parties that include family members.
• Summer family appreciation picnics.
• Annual company trips that include family.
The employee “giveashi**er” needs to be maintained just like the truck my employee so graciously alerted me about. Sincere conversation and family must be included in sincere conversations and company sponsored events. I try to keep shop talk at a minimum and only congratulatory were possible. If family is in attendance I always thank family members for being supportive of the employee especially during times of high precipitation when I call on employees to go above and beyond. In doing this the employee and their family should truly feel that the company cares about them resulting in an increase in their “giveashi**er.” I appreciate it when my employees show that they care and I know that they appreciate it when I show the same. These events and the personal conversations that happen at them fill the “emptiness” outlined in the urbandictionary.com definition outlined above.
James Ketterer is the president of ValueDry, LLC, Savage, MD.
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