When dirty dishes became a problem in the workplace, managers at OS inc. came up with a somewhat unusual solution:
Just before Christmas, employees were asked to fill out a mandatory survey: favourite colour, favourite food, favourite beverage etc.. With the answers, management got together and using markers that set once a dish is baked in the oven, they created a custom set of dishes for each employee.
Each set included a plate, bowl, and mug featuring answers, images and slogans from the employee’s survey response. For example, a red bowl that reads "fill with gumdrops" or a green plate that reads "I wish this was cheesecake."
A set of silverware was also included, custom-engraved with the employee's initials.
"Not every set of dishes can be considered a high quality work of art," admits OS inc. President, Lori Zindl. "Luckily, we did have some artistic and crafty people on this project."
The dishes and silverware were wrapped up in festive gift bags and given to the employees as a surprise before the holidays. According to Zindl, the reaction was excitement and good cheer.
The remaining dishes were given to charity and the personalised kitchenware now takes pride of place.
"The sink is cleaned out frequently now and I see people doing dishes all the time," notes Senior A/R Representative Katie Sadowske. "I feel warm and fuzzy when I take a sip out of my mug because I know it was made especially for me. I feel like a valued employee."
Employees were pleased with the personalised pieces but are also forced to take ownership of their items. It seems like OS inc. found a win-win situation for everyone.
A recent HRM online poll put dirty dishes as the second most annoying issue in the office (after noisy co-workers) so if you’ve tried all the typical approaches – from emails, meetings and signs to not-so-light-hearted threats – it might be worth following in this company’s creative footsteps.