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Oct 2, 201308:09 AMThe Gray Area

with Donna Gray

5 secrets for creating a happy workplace

(page 1 of 2)

I was born into a large Italian family. My father immigrated to the U.S. when he was 19 years old, and my mother, who was also born in the “old country,” came here when she was very young. I inherited the entrepreneurial gene from them. When my dad came to this country in 1920, he began selling fruit and vegetables from a pushcart. The business prospered, and he later opened a grocery store and butcher shop in a growing community.

When Mom and Dad met and married, they ran the business together until they sold it and transitioned into the bowling industry. My dad, the consummate entrepreneur, had a passion for bowling, so building and owning a bowling alley was his dream. His dedication to having the cleanest lanes and creating the best possible bowling experience inspired him to invent lane-maintenance products that revolutionized the industry.

Improving on his dream, he and my mother went on to build an international company that provided products and services to the growing bowling industry. As their business grew, they focused on creating excellent workplaces for their growing workforce. Back in the day, they knew that paying people right and recognizing everyone’s contribution to the company was a top priority. They wanted to ensure that their team members were happy in their work.

From the time I first got to “work” in the family business, at 5 years old (my job was to roll the first ball down the lane to open the season, and my pay was an ice cream cone), I knew that they cared about their employees … even a 5-year-old.

As I grew up and continued to contribute to the business, I learned that creating a good workplace for team members helped make for happy workers. Under their tutelage, I learned early on that a happy workplace is one where managers and others recognize and praise team members for their good work. Recognition and appreciation go a long way toward creating a happy workplace, and happy workers lead to happy customers.

Business friends, one of whom has a business that was recognized as a “Great Place to Work,” have shared some of their secrets for creating a happy workplace, including the following:

  1. Ensure that jobs provide intellectual stimulation and variety.
  2. Give staff members the opportunity to gain prestige and recognition. Create a climate of appreciation.
  3. Offer extra money, job security, and social opportunities when these things matter.
  4. Let employees know how they’re doing on the job.
  5. Demonstrate that employees’ work matters.


Oct 4, 2013 01:30 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I was always brought up to believe that you work to make money. Dad always said, when I was a kid, I couldn't have something until I had my own money. So when I got my first jobs and I wanted something, I got it. Well fast forward 30-40 years and I'm still working to make money. However now it is to pay bills and kids college fees. I have never thought of any job as being fun or engaging, just a job. I do my very best for the company and I hope that is enough. Retirement in 10 years--hooray!! Hopefully some left over to have fun with.

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