It seems like it was only a few months ago that I was walking my daughter to Kindergarten for the first day of school. She had on a yellow t-shirt and some blue jean shorts with a Strawberry Shortcake backpack that extended well beyond her back and down to her ankles. This morning, I dropped off that same daughter for her first day of high school where she will be walking the halls with guys with facial hair….and probably even some girls with facial hair too!
There’s no doubt that the first day of school causes a reaction from students, parents, and daily commuters alike. That reaction could be excitement, nervousness, anger, sadness, or a myriad of other responses – for commuters, it’s just road rage. Preparation and anticipation have been taking place for weeks – buying new clothes, backpacks, shoes, getting a new hair cut, and planning exactly how the first day would go down. I even spent some time walking the halls with my daughter mapping out where all of the classrooms are so she can find her way from one end of the school to the other end and into class in 4 minutes or less.
I have this curiosity of how businesses would do if they approached today in some of the same ways that schools do? I know…it’s not the same and every business is unique and it would never work as a blanket concept, but maybe they could just make today an extra special day at work for their employees as well. Introduce new ideas or strategies, maybe have the office extra clean or have some surprising new aspects to it, have an orientation time as the day begins to re-energize and re-focus the workforce. Maybe everyone even gets a new title on this day?
The main idea here is that it is important that employers not allow workers or day-to-day responsibilities to become stagnate or stale. The best results come when an employee is motivated, excited, and loves doing their job. Let’s face it, we all have times where if we do the same things long enough, and we feel like we aren’t appreciated or that our work doesn’t matter, that our performance goes down. As a recruiter, a few years ago I worked on a RPO account and I recruited for some of the same positions over and over and over. I asked the same questions to candidates all day long, every day, for months. I had a bluetooth headset that I would wear on these calls, and I got to where I would just walk around and look out the windows because I knew what to ask and I usually knew what the answer was going to be from the candidate. I was bored out of my mind. I needed some variety. I needed something new. I needed a first day of school again!
This afternoon, I’ll go pick up my daughter and she will tell me all about her teachers and the school and new friends and probably about an old friend who didn’t speak to her or something. We’ll go get some ice cream or go bowling or to a movie and dinner – we’ll just talk about everything and focus on what this year will bring. I really look forward to this day every year. I missed it last year and it devastated me. Maybe, if nothing else, you can just spend some time with your employees and see how things are going and focus on what this year will bring. Showing enough interest in your team to just listen to them and show that you care – maybe that’s all they need.