Whether we realize it or not… we often make decisions to pay someone to do the things that we do not feel are a valuable usage of our time. Two examples come to my mind… Ordering Food & Laundry… Some companies have been smart enough to capitalize on the simple concept that people are willing to pay for services that may otherwise consume their valuable time.
Now, I am not just talking about calling the local Chinese Food Place and then leaving to pick up the order… I’m talking about the extreme lack of interaction… Ordering food on the web and having it delivered to your residence. Many such services are now offered (such as Campus Food.com) that will save your credit card number, allow you to order food and have it delivered to your house without even having to pick up the phone [Unfortunately, you still have to get your butt off the couch and answer the door] – in this situation, whatever you are doing is more valuable to you than having to stop, and prepare food (or even having to go to the grocery store for that matter).
The second example that I can think of are Laundry services. Having not had a washer/dryer in my apartment for the past 1.5 years, I have turned to The Laundry Factory in Shadyside. The clean, well – lit space and friendly staff are just a couple of reasons I enjoy taking my laundry here. Of course, I introduced my boyfriend to this fine establishment and he immediately recognized that they offer a laundry service – you drop your laundry off and pay for it by the pound. Although this may seem quite convenient for the single ‘fellas’ in the area, I find that my time is better spent if I am able to do my own laundry. It takes a few hours to wash/dry/fold every so often, but at least i know that my dry-clean or do-not-dry items are not being accidentally washed with normal laundry or thrown in the dryer (respectively). Having someone else do my laundry would also mean doing careful separation of each color and fabric to assure that nothing was mixed in that shouldn’t be (a task i have to do anyway when doing it myself) and it would also cost a decent amount more than if I were to just do it myself. I find that it is worth my while to keep this responsibility as my own – if I were to leave the duty to someone else to shrink my sweater, I would be most upset and probably would be mad that I had actually PAID someone to do this for me!
Some other concepts that were reviewed in class that are interesting to think about are “The 4 P’s”
1.) Product – what are you all about when you go into work – what are you buying into at that company or organization?
2.) Price – What is your “Deal-Structure:? – Is it only about $$$$?
3.) Promotion – Is it cool to work where you work?)
4.) Place – Does Place of employment figure into your purchase decision?
While we were asked to consider the 4 P Concept with respect to the human assets at our companies and keep the following in mind:
Product:variety, quality, design, brand, packaging, warranties, returns, features
Price: discounts, allowances, payment & credit terms
Promotion: includes: trade promotions, advertising, sale force, public relations & direct sales [$3on promotion for ever $1 advertising]
Place: includes: channels, logistics & inventory
I could not help but consider my former organization. The employees are basically there because it is a steady job with benefits. The morale is low, the working conditions (office area and bathrooms) are miserable to say the least [very few days went by when I can recall not having to kill some sort of insect that would come scampering through the building – “thousand leggers” as they were (dare I say) ‘lovingly’ referred to as… the tiles were falling off of the bathroom wall from the water rot that was taking place, orange- colored, rusty water would often run out of at least one of the faucets when first turned on. Mismatched office furniture was scattered throughout the cramped space and a large portion of the chairs had tobacco stains from chew laced across the fabric…] so its not hard for me to answer if that particular establishment was a “cool” place to work…
While the work was relatively interesting from a Customer Service & Project Management end, it was a relatively thankless position. I was constantly bombarded with too many complex projects to handle and little resources or assistance when help was requested. Seemingly, most people were overworked and underpaid – despite most positions being seated “desk jobs” – the lack of managerial support and constant bashing from the customer made it very hard to get up in the morning and head off to work.
Had the situations been different, the human product probably would have been as well. Within a 1 year period of time, 6 people who previously held my same position quit for some of the reasons given above. From what I am aware of, the company is trying to implement change so as to show some respect for the employees, however, until these changes are implemented, they will only get out of these employees what they put in.
Another “task” that caused me to look so closely at my previous employer was the mission statement that we reviewed for Johnson & Johnson. This statement does such a great job of covering bases of who the company cares about – and especially, the employees. I was so impressed that some companies would include at least some part of their care for the people who carry out the work of the company daily.
It occurs to me that the next time I consider taking a position, I should look for the Credo, the set of beliefs that the organization holds & I should heavily consider that when interviewing for a job.