We just returned from our annual vacation to a resort in Mexico that we have visited for the past 11 years in a row (we did lose one year from Covid, but we don’t count that!). We have met many other couples over the years, and we schedule our vacations around the same time so we can meet and share our past year. It’s become a tradition for all of us and we’re so thankful to experience it.
What does this have to do with business you ask? Well, I have a story.
Our friends from the Netherlands are usually the first to arrive (to get rid of their jet lag) before those of us who have shorter flights make our way to the resort. My friend Ron informed me of bad news he learned upon his arrival. One of our favorite bartenders, Humberto, was relieved of his duty this past year. Humberto has worked at this resort for the last 23 years. A colleague of Humberto named Felix, whom Ron spoke with, is celebrating his 22nd year at the resort this year and Ron said Felix was visibly shaken when he spoke of Humberto, and voiced the question, “Could I be next?”
It makes me wonder how employers are deciding the value of their employees, especially those in customer-face roles. Is no one safe anymore? Is performance no longer meaningful? Is the accrual of time the deciding factor in keeping someone? Do employees have a kind of shelf life? Does someone become too expensive because of their experience? Is that even a thing? Are the concepts of tenure and loyalty disposable commodities in today’s work culture?
Upon speaking with other employees at the resort whom I’ve met over the years, they couldn’t give me an answer. Just that Humberto was no longer working for the resort, and there were others as well that have been relieved of their duties. I had asked (in my broken Spanish) “What happened? ” The answer I received from each one was, “It happens here.” I was unsettled by it, while the employees just accepted it.
Whoa or in Spanish, ¡Guau!
It made me think. Is tenure important while conducting business with your clients – with the public? My answer is a resounding YES! I was so upset when I learned Humberto was no longer there, I began to think of the company I work for. How we pride ourselves and widely applaud our tenure on social media. I thought about how in my professional life, I would rather do business with a company who doesn’t change my account representative every month. Someone with whom I can form a relationship. Who knows the details of our business. That consistency, that longevity literally decides what phone calls I answer, and what phone calls I send to voicemail, and even what emails go unanswered.
That brings me to social media and if your clients are reading posted comments about you, and your organization. Again, YES! As I read the resort review page, I read things about Paulino (known as Smiley) who was also relieved of his duties. The internet was talking about it! One commenter wrote, “How!!!! How can you get rid of “Smiley?” My daughters LOVE him!” Another wrote, “We always enjoyed seeing Paulino every morning before breakfast to start our day.” They went on and on about how important Paulino was to THEM!
Social media talks, and people listen. We were pleased to hear that Paulino was reinstated, and is now once again roaming the buffet floor at the resort. As is his custom, he asks everyone in his path what he can get for them with that big, bright smile. Unfortunately, Humberto is still MIA at our resort, but I have since sent a personal message to the management team to please, if possible, reconsider.
I don’t know exactly how our resort values it team, or the priorities it places on what makes an essential employee, but I do know that customers/clients often measure those same individuals in ways that are different than an employer. The one analytic that seems to be overlooked is goodwill…customer service and I encourage employers to think about that and the role your team plays in your employer brand and dare I even say your reputation.
Out of the four couples that plan their vacations around our schedules, every one of us discussed possibly “finding another place.” After TWELVE YEARS.
Don’t think that your customers or clients don’t appreciate when someone gives their all, their time, and their business lives to their employer. We notice. We pay attention. Do you?
Connect with Billy V. on LinkedIn.
Billy Verastzo is a member of the leadership team at Lloyd Staffing. He has 22+ years with the company and spearheaded Lloyd’s digital transformation for all processes and communication strategies. When he’s not behind a computer or fixing a server or two, you can find him playing drums, going out to watch local bands, or driving one of his vintage Corvettes.
Read other blogs by Billy V…
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