Loyalty at Its Best

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Employees, like vehicles, in a service based industry like ours, are the backbone of a company. Their loyalty and trust are hard won assets that every business owner should seek to gain and keep from their people. If we didn’t have the men working for the company that we do, our reputation and quality would not be as strong as they are. The fact that our men do have faith in the company has helped us all become a family over the years and through that relationship, the company has survived some very hard times. Loyalty is essential and it will save a corporation in moments of crisis.

tree surgeonA story that has been told to me many times by my husband, Steven, reminds me that loyalty should not be taken lightly or forgotten. Several years ago when the company was young in business and so were the men, most of them newly married, the business ran into money troubles. It was Christmas time and one thing Steven was always very strong about was giving them each very healthy bonuses. That year, there hadn’t been any snow plowing work and the company was working hard to get through a large commercial tree work job that had run on too long. Steven had every man on site. He had also just purchased a new Vermeer chipper and the men were using it on the property. Somehow, they blew the $10,000 motor in the machine. Of course, it had to be fixed, but because money was scarce, the machine sat at the mechanic until the funds came available to fix it. The jobsite was slowed down and the client was pushing hard to get the work completed. When the annual Christmas party came around, all the men got their yearly bonuses and nobody’s money was affected. Somehow it came around that one of them asked Steven where the new chipper was and he let them know it was in the shop for repairs. When everyone came back after the Christmas holidays, the men as a unit gave the company back their bonuses. They insisted on it. Collectively, their money would have paid for the entire motor replacement. Steven couldn’t let them do it. Their intent to handle the problem was enough.

The fact that I have heard this story more than once over the years means that the men’s devotion to Steven and the business has never been forgotten. It is the men’s ongoing willingness to help the company survive that pushes Steven even harder to ensure their jobs continue to exist. I share this story, because it displays the power of faith we should have in one another. The story about the chipper wasn’t the first or last time that the men pulled together as a family. It was one of the best moments for Steven and for the company. Writer, Mario Puzo, sums it up very neatly in his book, The Family. “The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other.”

Last modified: March 2, 2013
Nikki Hall
Nikki is the co-owner of Aspect Tree Service in Alexandria, VA. Learn about her business at www.aspecttreeservice.com

This story is part of our Small Business Corner, a peek into the life and trials of small business owners.

Category: Insider's perspective, MPR Authored, sales, Small Business, Small Business Corner, small business owners