Happy Workers, High Profits

By Hannah Wallace November 30, 2004

From her cheery, well-modulated voice mail message to her sunny smile, Sarasota's Barbara Glanz radiates positivity. A certified speaking professional, author and consultant, Glanz has written six books and traveled all over the world lecturing about motivation and retention, customer service, work/life balance and change-or, as she puts it, "how to create workplaces of joy, creativity and productivity."

"Happy employees are going to make happy customers," says Glanz. "It's going to have to begin from inside out. My belief is that most people today are in survival mode. There's no time for theory or philosophy. People need tips: What can I do this afternoon?"

Although she started out as an English teacher, Glanz ended up as manager of training at Kaset International, a Times Mirror company dedicated to enhancing customer service in organizations around the world. She grew the staff from 11 to 45, wrote training programs and traveled around the country, training trainers. In 1995, she started her own communications firm, Barbara Glanz Communications, Inc., and moved to Sarasota nearly two years ago.

She recently returned from making presentations to the Shangri-La Hotels executive/management trainees' annual meeting in China and to a nurses conference in South Africa. "We spend over half our lives in workplaces," she says. "How many people are unhappy there?"

Glanz is full of ideas about how to better the workplace, starting with creating a sense of worth in all employees. Many of her tips are small and may make the all-business types a bit queasy until they get used to a more nurturing management style, but they're easy to implement and better yet, bring positive results. For example, Glanz recommends calling an employee's spouse or parent to thank them for sharing a special person with the organization, or giving employees an extra hour for shopping during the Christmas season. She suggests bosses have breakfast or lunch with their employees occasionally to learn what makes them tick. Ways to an employee's heart may be through spontaneous treats, she says, citing the example of a school principal who left a bar of Nestle Crunch on the desk of each teacher on a day when two were out sick with a note saying, "Thanks for helping out in a crunch."

For Glanz, it is vitally important to maintain good relationships with employees just because it is part of her philosophy of life. She lives by quotes by people such as Mother Teresa, and has taught her children to approach their life with a simple three-column chart with a plus, a zero, and a minus-their choice in any interaction. From a business perspective, not only does this result in a better work environment, but also a more productive one.

"Customer service comes from the inside out," Glanz stresses. An employee who cares about the company and is loyal is more likely to provide good customer service than one who is threatened or forced to obey mandates. "It's about valuing human beings, making a deeper level connection," says Glanz. "You're saying, 'I see you.'" That level of appreciation should be the same whether you clean toilets or run the company, she says. "We are all so much more than a job description."

Glanz gives seminars and does coaching, but for small local businesses that may not be able to afford her services, her Web site,, is full of articles and tips. She also has a free newsletter, several books, audio and videotapes and CDs, does counseling and coaching, and can also arrange teleseminars. For more information, call (941) 312-9169. 

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