Service with a smile

Three summers ago, I was having a conversation with a Medeba board member regarding how the camp would be able to get continually returning staff. He wanted to know what Medeba had to do to get truly quality staff. Staff that was willing to exceed all expectations and really give the campers an once in a lifetime experience. Then get those same staff members to come back to Medeba for an extended time period. My answer was simply that you needed the staff to see Medeba as theirs. It had to be their place. A place that they deepily cared about. A place that they wanted to see grow and improve. A place that would truly impact many and many young people. Most of all, a place that the staff truly felt apart of and very connected to. Of course, since this was a conversation invovling me, it probably took about 3 hours to express. To this day, I still feel the best way to get quality staff is for the staff to really care about where they are working and for them, to feel an ownership of the place they are employed.

You have so many people that do a job just for a pay cheque. Often it will show in the type of service you get from such a place. A 16 year old kid who'll not smile and probably mumble while directing you to the coffee beans. Of course, you had asked him where the fried pickles were but he doesn't seem to have noticed. Or you're greeted by a zombie, on the other end of the register, that stares at the wall for 27 seconds before realizing you'd like to make an order. They then mix up your order about 5 times and don't think an apology is necessary for any. It's a little noticeable these people don't want to be there. Their only inspiration to improve is that they might not be yelled at by their supervisor if they work harder.

Basically, it comes down to two ways to get an employee to reach their potential. You have a job that motivates you to worker harder because if you do, then they'll be taking home more cash. That is why you get the smiling waiteress and the speedy service. Same reason, it seems the nice gentlemen wants you to find the best pair of runners possible. If you walk home happy or if you make a big purchase then they get some more moolah. It's a sound strategy but not all places of work are like that.

Option 2, is to make sure the employee cares about where they work. Or at least, like the job they are doing so they want to excell. The best way to do it is make work a happy environment. Make the staff feel they are a part of a team or even better, a family. I remember, dropping many different ideas to the board member on how to make Medeba staff feel this is the place for them. Put the staff in a position, where they want what is best for Medeba.

This idea seems so simple. Of all the jobs I've been at, Medebe was the only one that I felt a part of a team. I felt that I had support. I really wanted the best for the place. It's definitely an ideal that most bosses and owners seem to lack. They don't realize that the best way to improve business, is to improve things for the one's working there.

And that is my free advice to all wannabe business folks.


  1. I agree... what kept me coming back to medeba was the fact that I loved the people there so much. People say money is the incentive that works best... but that just isn't true for quality service. I wasn't paid at medeba, but I loved it there & being a part of a big purpose.

  2. while i agree, i also really do believe that money would help a lot. the reason they can't be picky in who they hire is because they don't have people waiting in line to work there - because a lot of people can't afford to work there in the summer due to school bills. if they could pay more, they could be picky in getting quality staff.


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