Start Up Blog

Everyone cares

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on April 24, 2010

How to make a Hungry Jacks (Burger King) Whopper:

  1. Take the top of the bun and swipe mayonnaise across it twice starting in the middle of the bun and swiping out ways
  2. Sprinkle lettuce onto mayo base just enough so the white of the mayo shows through the lettuce.
  3. Add two slices of tomato on top of the lettuce at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock.
  4. Put the meat patty into the base of the bun.
  5. Spread 4 pickles in a dice configuration while using the squeeze ketchup bottle in opposite hand to spread the pickles.
  6. Squirt 3.5 circles of ketchup on the beef patty starting at the outside of the circumference.
  7. Lightly sprinkle onion onto the ketchup at 50% of the thickness of the lettuce.
  8. Place both thumbs onto the tomatoes of the bun top and flip onto the base.

Serve hot!

The reason I’m sharing this with you is, that I learned how to make a whopper over 20 years ago, at a wage of $3.00 per hour and I still remember exactly how to make it. It was and probably still is, the lowest paid job available in the economy.

And yet a business colleague recently told me his his employees didn’t care about their job or the brand of his company because they were Uni students, and part time workers. What a crock. I took particular pride in making fast, well formed whoppers. Even thought it was a menial wage. At the time I was in year 9 at school and had zero intention of going to University or finishing school for that matter, yet I still cared. I cared because I had good managers, encouragement and there was a culture of doing your best, maybe even a little healthy competition to make the fastest and best burgers. It’s my strong belief that the vast majority of people take pride in what they do, no matter how menial it happens to be. So when I hear people saying their employees don’t care about their job, because it is part time, or low paid, I tell them this story. The story that all people no matter what they do have pride in their job, so long as one ingredient is in place:

They know we value what they do, and we treat all employee efforts with respect, regardless of where they stand in the hierarchy.

Startup Blog says: Employees will respond to how we treat them. We must respect them in the first instance. When we do this and we’ll get results reflective of human nature, not the hourly pay rate.

8 Responses

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  1. Craig said, on April 24, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Hi Steve,

    Great point.

    Just recently I’ve come across Dan Pink and his book Drive, where he looks at what motivates people. His book, and blog has been really interesting and worth a look. He also has a TED presentation that’s available on the TED site.

    Anyway, he thinks that the three things that are needed to motivate employees are-
    1) Autonomy – the urge to direct our own lives
    2) Mastery – the desire to get better and better at something that matters, and
    3) Purpose – the yearning to do what we do at the service of something larger than ourselves.

    It’s fascinating, that the thing that is consistently used to motivate people – money/bonuses doesn’t work as well as the above.

    Thanks for your post and other great content.

    • Steve Sammartino said, on April 24, 2010 at 6:01 pm

      Thanks for the great comment Craig.

      I’ve read Dan Pink’s book ‘A whole new mind’ which is really great. But I’ve not yet seen his TED talk, which gives a nerd like me something to do on a Saturday night.

      Cheers,
      Steve.

      • Craig said, on April 24, 2010 at 7:02 pm

        It is a bit sad isn’t it that we are reading blogs, commenting on blogs and watching TED talks on a Saturday night…. :)

  2. Judith said, on April 24, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    The question is: Is it “low wage” or is it “low everything”? If you pay your employees way less than you could – sure they aren’t motivated. If you treat them like idiots, they will behave like idiots. And if you don’t put the maximum of your own power into your company, don’t expect your employees to do so.
    I know a gym where the Group Fitness trainers worked a few hours a week _for free_ for several months to help the gym owner over a rough patch. They made it, as a team, and it would not have been possible without all of them pulling on one end of the rope. Today, some of them even work there full-time, they get a good wage, and most important: Their boss will never forget what they did for him. They truly are _a team_. In the end, it even caused a highly increasing number of customers – because people just love the family atmosphere there.
    Treat your employees like your best friends – it will pay off.

    • Steve Sammartino said, on April 24, 2010 at 7:01 pm

      Great addition to the post & comments. I love that gym story. Any idea of the actual gym? Who? Where? Contact details? I’d love to write about them some more…

      Steve.

      • Judith said, on April 24, 2010 at 7:23 pm

        Hi Steve, I asked the owner for a permission to tell their story on my blog months ago, but unfortunately they don’t want this to be published. I think they are afraid to admit they went trough a really hard time – this industry is -unfortunately- very “pretend to be”. All I can say it is located in the south-west of Germany. I did some consulting for them last year, and I was told the story first hand, met the people involved and witnessed the results myself. After I finished the project, I even got a huge bouquet sent to my door on their behalf – that is how nice they treat the people working for them. :)

  3. Steve Sammartino said, on April 24, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    Thanks for letting me know Judith.
    Steve.

  4. Josh Moore said, on April 27, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    As a university student I can say that money counts to an extent… but only enough to pay your expenses (a couple of hundred dollars a week max).

    I’ve slaved away for anywhere between $5-$22 over the last 5 years as an employee (not including perks such as shares I’ve picked up along the way). I can honestly say I worked harder on a lower salary than I did for a higher one though.

    Why? Two reasons. I was surrounded by similar people at the time. We were all on low money trying to make ends meet and had similar lifestyles (students). We were all competing for higher positions which caused us to work harder for a little extra pay while attempting to learn all that we could.

    The second reason is the culture. In an environment where people are working hard, receive recognition and have communication flowing well, results re sure to occur. I have found in some jobs that there is a severe lack of communication across the whole team. Upper management expects results that are unrealistic because they are not close enough to the ground level of the business.

    Good thoughts here Steve.
    :-)


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