Combat morale issues by investing in employees


June 27, 2017

The team left their go-karts long enough to pose for a photo during the surprise party. Photo: Alleymor Inc.

The team left their go-karts long enough to pose for a photo during the surprise party.
Photo: Alleymor Inc.

Getting and keeping good staff can be a challenge. Having been in the industry for 30 years, I have seen a few changes, had a few bosses, and witnessed business methods and techniques come and go.

For the past 17 years, I’ve co-owned a Pestmaster Services franchise with my wife, Amy. We are fortunate to have a dedicated, loyal and qualified staff that helps our business be as successful as it is. We attribute the success of our branch to several factors, including our attitude, our honesty, our expectations, our gratitude and our staff.

Listening to your staff is as important as listening to your customers. By listening to their feedback on everything from repairing a termite rig to what works and what doesn’t about your current marketing program, you’re showing them you value their input. More than anything else, it helps solidify your relationship with your employees.

My service manager, for example, is not afraid to speak his mind or respectfully call me out whenever necessary. His ability to do this, and my willingness to listen, has fostered our work relationship. Not only can he come to me with ideas, but I can go to him and get his honest opinion.

While it can be hard at times, it is important to listen to your staff with an open mind, especially if they have a different point of view. The more you listen, the more they will speak up with problems — and ideas for solving them. They will feel they have a voice and are important to your business. This type of communication breeds loyalty and increases morale, which in turn makes better employees, which leads to happy customers.

We instill in our staff the desire to give our customers the best experience. But are we giving the best experience to our staff? How we treat our staff should reflect the golden rule we were taught as children: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Gold, or gold-plated?

I’m sure we all give the occasional “great job” shout out, employee of the month plaque and/or holiday bonus. But employer/employee relationships can follow the golden rule as well; unfortunately, sometimes it can go like this:

  • “He who has the gold… rules.”
  • “It’s my way or the highway.”

The TV series “Undercover Boss” is great at having a CEO find flaws in the operations of his or her company, while ending with tear-jerking moments for the cameras. (Editor’s Note: See our October 2013 cover story for Rollins Inc.’s involvement with “Undercover Boss.”)

I’m not saying you should pay for an employee’s college tuition or buy each of them a car, but instead of always looking to invest in new equipment, toys, advertising, etc., with the thought the expenditure will give a good return on investment (ROI), try looking for ways to invest in the mental well-being of your staff. At our Pestmaster Services branch, for example, we:

  • Hold an annual holiday dinner for all employees and their significant others.
  • Buy lunch for the office staff twice a month.
  • Held a team-building activity where our office staff scheduled the entire crew to meet at the local mall under the pretense of a large bed bug job at the movie theater. When they arrived, they were pleasantly surprised to be taken to lunch and high-speed go-karting instead.

As a business owner, the best thing you can do for your employees is provide them with job satisfaction. When they are happy, they will do anything to make the company successful. In the end, everyone wins.

Contributor Paul Alley, ACE, is president of Alleymor Inc. DBA Pestmaster Services. He can be reached at or 845-340-9700.


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