Guest Blog: Why Your Employees Are Miserable

By Jessica McNaughton

I love the products we sell. Everyone on our staff loves the products we sell. They are bright, colorful, exciting and have a great story. They are not just like everything else. They are not copycats that are simply cheaper. They are themselves, true to what they were designed to look like, honest in their aesthetic. Designed for designers. So we sell them to designers. And designers love them too. And the products make designers happy, so my staff is happy, and then ultimately, I am happy too.

This all sounds very utopian, but after months of interviewing job candidates for an upcoming position, I am both concerned and ecstatic. I am concerned because so many people are oppressed under large company politics, outdated ideals and beliefs or micromanaged to the point that distrust is an implied condition of employment. Report your hours, two weeks notice for vacation, clock in – clock out, we don’t need a database, just use a notebook. How stifling and unsupportive are companies these days? This was just the first round of interviews, but it made me ecstatic to see that I had a happy staff. Would they like more money, a wine fridge and a company outing to Turks and Caicos every year – sure, but they are still happy without it.

I trust my people, and they trust me. I have their backs. They are good people. Happy people. They like their jobs, and if I see that they are starting to get stressed, we meet as a team and find a way to add some infrastructure to alleviate the burden.

Why is this important to green surfacing? Because these are green surfacing products that we sell. And it makes people happy.

PaperStone is recycled paper, and it is a durable surface. What? Paper is durable? How? We tell them. We show them the tables in our own homes. They know we mean it because we are happy when we talk about it. They believe us because it is true. And that makes them happy.

Durat is modern solid surface. What? Solid surface is not modern!! But look, Durat is! And they love that. Because it is true and that makes them happy.

IceStone is made in the USA. These are your beer bottles – in a countertop. Made in Brooklyn, N.Y.  That makes them happy.

EchoPanel will make your office quieter, and it is cheaper than your existing alternative. That makes their eyes light up.

Lapitec is the next generation of surfacing. It outperforms everything on the market. They are happy they have access to the next generation of material, and they will start specifying it tomorrow.

ReSawn Timber charred wood is unlike any finish in the industry. It is burned, brushed and often dyed to create an aesthetic in wood that has not been seen before. Happiness.

These are some of the green surfacing products that we sell. This is some of the happiness that emanates from our sales people. This is what invokes the wide-eyed excitement and gets the gears turning in the designers’ minds as to how they can use these materials. Because they want to use materials that make them happy.

It is worth looking at your staff. Just observe them. Are they laughing, smiling? Are they happy even in adversity. Do they band together or pit themselves against one another? Does your product, service or brand bring people together or force them apart?

Is it just the products? No, it is that you can feel good about using them. These are brands that have taken the time to consider the environment and the impact on it. They care about doing something good. Doing good makes people happy. If this does not make sense, you probably know where your product fits. I have seen happiness prevail through November, and that is saying something for an environmentally focused company.

About the Author

Jessica McNaughton is the president of CaraGreen, a distributor of sustainable materials, and co-author of the book Understanding Green Building Materials. She has her Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and her MBA from the Ivey Business School. She is also a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP).

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in guest editorials are those of the author’s and do not necessarily (although in some cases may) represent the views of the publisher, editor or owner of this website.

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